Source: The Red and Black
By EANNIE YEN LOO CHIN
Published, March 28, 2007
If you have ever stopped by Snelling Dining Commons, you have probably been greeted by one of the friendliest cashiers at the University.
Many students with the meal plan travel especially to Snelling just to see Sandra Patterson. Her signature smile, greetings and even hugs makes this dining hall a favorite among students and other meal plan participants.
"Students keep me here, she said. "It's a joy to see them every day and I honestly feel bad when I'm sick and can't be here. Really!"
"No matter how my day is going, she always makes me smile," said George Issa, a junior from Duluth. "It's impossible to not leave Snelling in a better mood simply because of her cheerful persona."
Patterson is also the only cashier at the University with a Facebook group dedicated to her. The "I love Sandra the Snelling Dining Hall Lady" group has 1,883 members.
Patterson stands out because she makes students feel they belong when they come into Snelling. She recognizes many by name and even knows certain things about them.
"I remember one time I went into Snelling at night to study," said Kim Tran, a freshman from Stone Mountain. "Two days later when I went back she asked me how my test went."
"Students inspire me," Patterson said. "They're away from home and without their parents and I want to show them that I care."
Her extra enthusiasm does not go unappreciated by students.
A surprise birthday party was thrown for her in 2005. Patterson went to the back of Snelling at closing time and when she came back to the front, there was cake, decorations, gifts and about 100 students waiting for her.
She cried and thought it was very sweet and said it is her favorite Snelling memory.
Patterson recently celebrated her 17th year of working at the University.
Patterson was born in Clarke County but was raised in South Carolina. She is a single parent of three and has five grandchildren. Her mom died when she was three. She is one of 10 daughters born to her parents. They had no sons.
Patterson describes herself as a family person, which is no surprise to students because she plays the motherly role to many.
She said if she could offer one word of advice to her students, it would be to "Love your mom because she's not promised to be around forever."
J. Michael Floyd, the director of food services at the University, said Patterson is a role model to other employees and is an asset to the team.
"Any job or organization that has great people is going to be great," Floyd said. "Our staff really cares about the students and Sandra is definitely a part of that."
Published by The Red and Black, March 28, 2007