In her own words

By David Seitz

If you’ve ever visited the south side of the Café Mac, chances are you’ve been greeted warmly by Brandi Anderson, a Bon Appétit Dining Room Server. I sat down with Brandi and her supervisor Joann Johnson to talk about her history at Mac, and to get to know her a little bit better as a person.The Mac Weekly: So how long have you been working here?
Brandi Anderson: I’ve been working here for six years. I love my bosses – all my bosses – Laurie, Theresa and Joannie. They’re all my buddies. When I graduated in 2001, I came here.

TMW: You’re pretty popular around here. You greet everyone, everyone’s your buddy. How come you’re so nice?
BA: Basically, it’s showing to them this respect. What I was taught was to always be respectful. In order to have respect, you have to give respect. That’s how I was brought up.

Joann Johnson: Students, faculty, staff – they all are her buddies. All of us are.

BA: Basically, I love what I do here, and I wouldn’t give up this place for anywhere else. This is like family. Everywhere I go, they’re around. It’s safe if anything happens. Basically, they’re like family. You’ve got different students, different staff, new people come here all the time. You’ve got to let them know what you’re serving. You’ve got to let them know about allergies. There are some important things.

TMW: Six years is a pretty long time. Are there any memories of working here that stand out for you?
BA: I got a plaque. Last year, I got a plaque for five years of excellent service. My mom’s got it on her computer desk, where it’s safe. It’s right with the plaque she got when she graduated.

TMW: Tell me about your family.

BA: I live in St. Paul. I have five sisters and two brothers. I come from a big family, so what’s why I was always taught to love. When I’m at home, I’m helping clean up the house. My sister has a four-month-old baby girl, who is adorable. I’m an auntie! I make sure my nieces get up for school. I take care of my mom, who has asthma. I help her with her medicine. We have a good time. We go out to movies, we watch t.v. shows like “House of Payne.”

TMW: What else do you do for fun?
BA: Fridays, I have dances, which are also fun because there are door prizes. Sometimes the dances are formal. I had a date to prom, which was really fun.

JJ: She gave us a picture when she went to a formal. She had a beautiful long gown on.

BA: I also like to crochet, knit and do other arts and crafts. I love to read. I also love t.v. I’ve got cable.

TMW: What about music?
BA: Right now, I love Alicia Keys, especially her song “No One.” I love all types of music – R&B, jazz – I love everything. It doesn’t matter what it is, how it is, how it sounds. Even the Five Heartbeats.

TMW: Nice. Let’s go back for a minute to that plaque you said you got for five years of excellent service. That’s a big deal.

JJ: It was well-deserved. She’s so responsible. Brandi doesn’t miss work.

BA: It’s true. Even if I’m sick, I won’t call in. I would bring a cup of coffee or some tea, but I wouldn’t call in.

TMW: So was there a celebration for the award?
JJ: Yep! All the staff, everybody came that day. Usually, everybody doesn’t come to those sorts of events.

BA: I always go back to that day. I knew they were planning something. I would look around, and I wouldn’t see anything. “Okay, they got me.” But I still knew they were up to something. Everybody acted like they didn’t know what was going on. That was the time of my life. I really, really enjoyed that. My old job coach showed up. I asked, “What’s going on?” He said he had no idea. They all hid it from me! We had a blast.

TMW: Brandi, I still can’t believe how kind you are! Do you ever get cranky?
BA: There are some days when I get a little cranky, but everybody gets a little cranky sometimes. I worry a lot – about my mom and my sisters and nieces – but I’m not supposed to. I’m just Brandi. I love doing what I do. And I love being here.