The hero we need, but don’t deserve


Mikaleh Offerman, News Editor

There are a few truths to the cafeteria.

One, the pasta line is always long and always worth the wait; two, waffles are the quickest, most consistent and dependable food item; and third, the man who stands behind the grill, hidden away in the far corner of The Caf, keeps the fries coming and the swarming masses satisfied.

Any other man would crumple under the pressure of a hundred college students swarming the empty French fry bucket like starved vultures.

Alena Blakely / The Bison

They ravage through line, displacing the metal serving platters and scattering French fries. Daily, the only thing between him and a potential riot are hamburger buns and freshly grilled chicken.

Yet, he oozes confidence and calm.

Fire crackers could go off, squirrels could take over campus and Mother Kerr could make an appearance, but he wouldn’t be fazed.

Dutifully, he takes up his post, and from under the blazing heat of the grill, chicken, burgers, hotdogs, fries and the occasional chicken nugget emerge.

Too often, the cafeteria workers are overlooked and judged by the quality of a single French fry.

They have early mornings and long days. They prepare food for hundreds of students. They wipe tables and scan cards. When the cereal runs out, they refill it.

Day after day, they do their best to serve OBU. Too often, they receive a cursory greeting, or overhear a backhanded remark about a crispy piece of pizza; but, that doesn’t stop them from showing up and working eight to ten hours.

In Donald’s case, not a day goes by that he’s not standing resolute behind the grill.

Alena Blakely / The Bison

After years of serving students, he seems to read minds, picking up on the subtle tendencies of students waiting for food to come out.

When girls are lined up, holding plates of spinach and Alfredo pasta, he knows exactly what they want: a piece of grilled chicken, and he dutifully flips it onto their plates without them even saying a word.

When football players are lined up after practice, he calls out, “Burgers’ll be ready in two minutes.”

He’s not the hero we deserve, but he is the hero we need: Donald, the man who keeps the north-east corner of The Caf running smoothly.

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