Cafeteria workers get mixed treatment from students

By David Pohlad

The school bell rings, Lane students pour into the halls, and hundreds flood the cafeteria. This is the most hectic part of the day for Lane’s brave cafeteria workers like Marylin Ware, Mary Brabata, and Food Services Manager Mr. Pike.

The Lane cafeteria serves roughly 1,100 students every day, and without cafeteria workers doing all the work, students will go hungry. Whether it’s preparing breakfast or lunch, doing dishes, cleaning up, or serving students, cafeteria workers are working nonstop.

Mr. Pike is in charge of what goes on in the kitchen.

“We all have a very big workload. There’s a lot to get done over the course of the day,” Pike said. “I start work at 6:00 in the morning and am done at 3:30pm, but most of the time I have to stay late. There’s just so much to do.”

Ware has been working in the cafeteria at Lane for five years.

“Our job is busy, hot, we’re running back and forth trying to prepare food, do dishes, and serve students. The whole time we’re working over steaming kitchen [appliances],” she said.

Brabata has been at Lane for 13 years.

“It’s not a bad job. It just gets really hot back here sometimes,” she said.

The cafeteria staff all work 40-hour weeks (a full time job) or more just to serve breakfast and lunch.

Despite how difficult the job is, some students disregard the workers’ efforts and do not treat them with the respect they deserve.

“Some students can be very disrespectful. They say whatever they want in front of us,” Ware said. “They’ll cuss or say something nasty in front of us.”

Few students say “thank you” after they are served their food, and almost none make an effort to talk with the workers.

“I love when kids thank me. It shows that they appreciate how hard I’m working,” Brabata said.

Melvudin Mahmutovic, Div. 361, is a freshman at Lane and eats in the cafeteria every day.

“I always thank the lunch ladies because I know how hard they work and I just want to be polite,” he said.

“It’s not like I have anything against the lunch ladies, I just have more time to talk to teachers,” said Mahmutovic. “But there’s no reason why students should disrespect them. They’re just doing their job.”

“People tend to treat others the same way they’re being treated,” said Melissa Zacarias, Div. 041. “The lunch ladies may seem uninterested in talking to the students, but that’s probably because students don’t treat them with the respect they deserve.”

“Overall students don’t understand how much work we do, they just show up to lunch expecting food. All we ask is that students appreciate our service more,” said Pike.