“Customer First” is written on the white button Daisy Rich wears on her forest green apron. The message has become more than a slogan for her. With sliver-rimmed glasses perched on her nose, she sings a song she created: “Oh I got your card. I got your meal deal, baby.”
To many students, Rich may seem like any other Thurston Hall dining services worker. But for Thurston freshmen, Rich has been part of a memorable first year.
“Daisy makes it so easy to get up for breakfast at 8 a.m. because she’s always smiling and happy,” said freshman Wilson Vorn Dick, president of Thurston Hall Council. “If I could afford to bring my parents here I would want them to meet Daisy over my professors any day.”
But it’s not just her positive attitude that impresses students. Students say Rich sincerely cares about Thurston’s freshman residents.
“My sister visited here once and now (Daisy) always asks about her,” freshman Leah Fisher said. “She’s got a great memory.”
Rich, who is from Oxon Hill, Md., said she has to have a good memory – she’s been working at Thurston Hall since 1971.
“These are all my children,” said Rich, pointing to the crowded dining hall of students.
Her children have been so moved by her attitude that her picture is featured on T-shirts for this year’s freshman block party.
“In big letters it’s going to say `I got your meal deal, baby!’ This is Thurston’s chance to show what a great time we’ve had,” Vorn Dick said.
Although Rich said she loves her job, she may not return to Thurston Hall next year.
“If I have to work on Saturdays next year, I won’t be returning,” Rich said. “I live in Oxon Hill and I don’t drive. I don’t have a license. I’d have to bum a ride every Saturday.”
Although details of next year’s contract have not been finalized, all dining service employees could have to work on Saturdays, said Thurston Hall Food Service Director Holly Ditzler.
“There would be a great void if she left,” Ditzler said. “Daisy is definitely the sunshine of our cafeteria.”