Wilmer Valderrama inspired to turn the spotlight on frontline workers after grocery store encounter


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The actor, best known for his roles as Fez on “That 70s Show” and agent Nick Torres on NCIS, has started an Instagram Live series, “6 Feet Apart,” where he will speak with individuals from various industries on the front lines of the pandemic.

And it all started after a trip to the grocery store.

“I wanted to create conversations … that unite us all and humanize a lot of the conversations that we’re seeing in the news,” Valderrama told CNN in a recent interview. “I was inspired by that after going to the grocery store and seeing a lot of our grocery store workers feeling kind of down and deflated and as I asked questions I started realizing they were getting kind of a beating from a lot of frustrated customers.”

Valderrama’s series kicked off Wednesday with an interview with a farmer, he plans to next highlight grocery store employees and truck drivers.

“I’m going to try to create an ecosystem of conversation so hopefully it creates perspective for not just my supporters but people out there,” he continued. “Hopefully we can lead with kindness and be a little more conscious and aware and thoughtful.”

He also started a hashtag of the same name, which went viral.

“I started really thinking maybe it’s perspective,” he said. “Maybe we should think of it from a different angle. Maybe 6 feet apart means when we’re too close to something we can’t see things for what they can be. And if we’re taking 6 feet maybe we can have a birds eye view … of what things can actually be.”

Valderrama, 40, can also relate to the pain that so many are going through.

“I’ve lost people to coronavirus,” he said. “My sister’s jobs have stopped. I myself was sent home from work as well. I can relate on multiple levels.”

Valderrama has spent a great deal of his career bringing levity into the lives of his fans and he wants to offer a bit of advice.

“First and foremost if you woke up this morning you’re already winning,” he said. “I would encourage people to do a list. Do an inventory of the things that you do have and find comfort that those are there for you … Then make a second list of the things you don’t want to live with. I promise you that when you acknowledge that list out loud and you can visually see it, those things stop existing and the other ones really take over. I feel like that creates a better harmony at home.”

Read more at CNN.com