By Kylie Stamper
“Hello, Sweetie. What can I get you?” Every student that has had a sandwich in the cafeteria has likely heard these words. They come from Kathy Mignone, Sodexo employee. Mignone is the smiling face that mans the deli/sandwich bar at lunch. She is famous for memorizing students’ orders and her “hello, sweetie” catchphrase.
Mignone began working in the cafeteria in 1996 and after 19 years, she is still going strong. She started working at the salad bar before Sodexo was hired as the food service provider. After the change, Mignone switched to being a baker and has been baking desserts for the students since then.
Mignone said, “When I come in the morning I bake and get everything ready for the day and for dinner and then at 11:00 I come and do the deli bar. I actually just do sandwiches. I love doing the sandwich bar, it’s my favorite part of the day. I love to see the students.”
Vanessa Strickland, Sodexo employee, swipes cards during lunch and dinner during the week and occasionally helps out in the kitchen. She said, “Kathy is crazy. She is very nice to work with and she always has my back. She’s really good; I love her.”
The work environment is one where all of the employees care for one another and work together to serve a common purpose. Chris Stettnisch, director of food services, said, “It’s an environment that is pressure-filled at times, we only have so much time to get things done and Kathy makes use of her time. She is an overly friendly person whether she knows you or doesn’t know you. She has a welcoming presence when you come into the cafeteria; she makes you feel good when you come in.”
Stettnisch said Mignone’s work ethic is one that all employees should have. She is a hard worker and her motivation is visible to her coworkers and students alike. He said, “Kathy knows the lay of the land and she knows what’s expected of her on a daily basis. She knows recipes off the top of her head so it’s easy for her to get from point A to point B.”
A few things to remember about Kathy: her sandwiches are better than anybody else’s, she can memorize any sandwich order, and she will always call her students “sweetie.” She said, “The students are just so nice, I just love the students; they just make my whole day and they’re so grateful. I just make a sandwich and they are so happy. That’s my motivation.”
Kylie Stamper is a sophomore majoring in communication. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.