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Going beyond a worker’s apron | The Triangle

Going beyond a worker’s apron

This overhead shot of Urban Eatery shows a busy scene at the Downtown Grounds smoothie bar, one of the many stalls in the Drexel Dining location. (Photograph by Ben Ahrens for The Triangle.)

Drexel students — have you taken a chance to get to know the people you see every day at Drexel dining halls?

Those working in the dining halls are all employed by Aramark — whose headquarters are just a few blocks away from campus — but many employees agreed that what they love about their jobs was that they are able to interact with students every day. A five minute conversation while you wait for your food can tell you a lot about the people so many students don’t get to know on a personal level.

Faatima Ford has been working for Aramark for five years. Ford has loved to paint since she was four years old. Her son, Enzo, is turning seven this month, and he wants to go to the Crayola Experience for his birthday because he loves art, just like his mom. Last year for his birthday, they did “painting with a twist” (without the wine-paired twist). Ford said that she was pleasantly surprised by how a kid so young produced such beautiful art.

Tamika Parish has been working with Drexel for 19 years, and she loves getting to know the kids. She has close personal relationships with several students, who can call her to talk whenever, even when she’s not working. “There are a lot of kids here that are depressed and no one can tell,” she said. She makes an effort to let students know that she may look mean because the sun in her eyes causes her to squint — students often huddle together to block the sun shining in her face — but she is friendly and they can tell her anything. Parish has a 21-year-old daughter going to school in Georgia, where Parish’s brothers and sisters live. She visits her daughter during Drexel’s breaks.

Jackie Costa has worked at Urban Eatery for two years. Since she has not lived in Philadelphia for long, she loves to explore and try new restaurants and bars around the city. She loves to bake and brings in cookies for her coworkers, and if anyone likes The Bachelor, she’s always down to talk about it.

Donna Deloatche has worked at Drexel food services for 12 years and has lived in University City her entire life. She owns a triplex she has lived in for 39 years, several blocks from Drexel’s campus, that her mother owned and passed down a few years ago. With gentrification sweeping through West Philadelphia, she has been sought out to sell her house, but refuses the offers. “I won’t sell, I’m not giving up all that my mom worked for. That’s what keeps me going, seeing that my mom always worked really hard.” Deloatche grew up there, and her four children and seven grandchildren all live in the area.

Deloatche has always had a love for fashion: specifically jewelry, perfume and pocketbooks. She is a religious woman and raised her children the same way. She loves R&B, especially Teena Marie, and she loves getting to know students. “They come from all over, you get to know their climates, their habits,” Deloatche said.

Stanley Neil has been working at Drexel for 29 years. He grew up in Philadelphia and has four kids. He loves to play basketball, lift weights and spend time with his “lady friend,” and he would love to travel more — especially to Barcelona, Spain.

Anthony Williams has worked in the dining halls for two years. He says being a father of six can be frustrating, but he wouldn’t trade it for anything. He loves playing basketball, spending time with his kids and driving. Before he started working for Drexel, he had his commercial driver’s license and drove 18-wheelers across the country. It was a good combination of his love of driving and travel. He has been traveling since he was 14, visiting Canada, Saint Croix, Amsterdam, Thailand, Brazil and Rome. Rome is special to him because it was the first place he visited outside of the country and because he is Italian.

So, the next time you’re waiting for your food, take a minute out of your day to have a conversation with the employees. Everyone The Triangle spoke to said they enjoyed getting to know students!