At meal time on campus, it’s a pretty routine procedure. Students trudge in, wait in line, swipe their cards, then go on to fill their plates. As they go through this daily ritual, many may take no notice of those behind the counters and registers, the ones who swipe cards with smiles and fill plates at the main line of the dining room.
They work hard and do all sorts of little odd-jobs. They enjoy working with the students at MC, and the students can make their jobs a little easier and their days a little brighter with just a small amount of effort and consideration.
Stephanie Gardner primarily works in Isaac’s Cafe but also helps out in Pearsons Dining Hall from time to time. The employees of both interchange fairly frequently, so they know the lay of the land in each establishment. With each dining hall, there are different ways that students can help out, and most of them aren’t very difficult.
In Pearsons, one of the main problems is trash left on the tables after meals.
“The biggest thing y’all can do for us is take your plates and napkins back. It really just makes our lives a lot easier,” Gardner said.
Cat Cobb, a door greeter at Pearsons, agreed that students’ cleaning up after themselves helps out quite a bit.
“A lot of times, it’s chairs,” Cobb said. “Sometimes you all move eight or nine chairs around one table, and if you just took a minute to move some of them back, that would make a big difference.”
In Isaac’s, where lines are more prevalent, employees said that it is a simple matter of mild endurance. Joyanna West, an employee at Isaac’s, said that she always appreciates when students are understanding during mealtime rush hour.
“Be patient with us, because we get pretty busy sometimes,” West said.
Other times, students can actually go a step further.
“A lot of times, you guys will spill something on the floor and volunteer to mop it up for us,” Gardner said. ”Some students refill ice for us when we get really busy, or they let us know when we’re out of condiments,” Gardner said.
This benefits students, as well, because often employees don’t realize they’ve run out of supplies.
Nonetheless, none of the employees were irritated or trying to lecture. Gardner said that most students were “as polite as can be,” a sentiment shared by many other employees.
Usually, helping out the employees of Isaac’s or Pearsons doesn’t require getting ice buckets or mopping up puddles. It’s just being friendly.
Toni Bigley is a notorious and well-loved employee at Isaac’s. She often goes out of her way to try and make a student’s day better, and all she asks in return is a bit of courtesy.
“All it takes is something small, like giving a smile and saying, ‘Thank you,’” Bigley said.
Going a step further can make it all the more worthwhile, because whether students realize it or not, the workers really do take their well-being to heart.
“We like you to let us feel like you know we care, because we do. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here,” Bigley said.