It’s late, and the day was near dreadful. Disappointed, you return to your dorm room aching for sleep, but your roommate has other plans. Apparently, 2:00 a.m. is the perfect time for a soda-induced gaming marathon complete with gunfire, questionable language and screams of virtual death.
After three hours of slumber mixed with carbonated belching and frustrated mumbling, you stumble into Thursday’s first class 30 minutes late. The past 12 hours have been a college nightmare, but as you enter the dining hall, a kind smile greets you along with a softly spoken “hello and welcome.”
This small interaction doesn’t erase the problems in a day, but it illustrates an important truth that makes the daily struggles bearable: someone cares. In fact, someone has been caring for over a decade, humbly serving Maryville College students and faculty with kindness, heart and compassion. This someone is named Daisy May Martin, and she is a vessel of love.
Ms. Daisy, as students like to call her, is a greeter and cashier at Pearsons dining hall and has occupied that position for roughly 10 years.
“It’s because of the kids,” she said when asked what she liked most about her job. “I love getting to know them and talking to them.”
Likewise, it seems the “kids” love knowing Daisy as well. Two days before Daisy was interviewed for this article, the words “We love you Ms. Daisy” were found scrawled with yellow chalk in front of Pearsons dining hall.
“I have a lot of favorites,” she said when asked if her favorite students wrote the message. “Actually, well most all of them are my favorites.”
In addition to her family on campus, Daisy also has two daughters, four grandsons and one “beautiful” but deceased granddaughter who lost her life to cancer. Clearly, strength and hope accompany her kind resolve. In addition to emotional fortitude, she plans on remaining mentally strong. It seems swiping 800 meal cards a day keeps the mind pretty busy.
“I keep working because I don’t want to get old,” she said with a laugh. Her sense of humor appears to be in faultless shape as well.
“I get to be kind to people,” she said. “I like to be nice even if they don’t notice me. That’s really what I think is important.” Such a simple message, yet profound in its unassuming wisdom.
College is a hectic time of self-actualization. So much effort is devoted to realizing potential and forming identity that sometimes the most important lessons are overshadowed by inconsequential stressors. As this class, student body, college and generation leads the world with innovation, discovery and education, let the fundamentals of kindness, truth, justice, hope and love be within the heart of humanity always.
Daisy understands that which outlasts every logical argument and scholarly article in existence: love. She is driven by it and propelled not by status, wealth, societal standing, fame or even public favor. No, it is the love of others which drives her.
While the professional ladder is climbed and tramped upon in pursuit of greatness, consider every step upon every rung through a lens of love. So, it seems the wisest people on this campus may not reside in the lecture halls.