Ladies and Gentlemen,
The President of Ford Motor Company once challenged the design engineers working on an idea for a new car to – “Develop the kind of car you want in your driveway?” High performing and proud food service workers prepare and serve food as if it was going to be served at their own table at home.
It always seemed that the nice ladies who served the food would put an extra scoop of food on my tray. I could tell from their soft and caring smiles, and their sympathetic eyes that they were mothers and really extended themselves for kids like me. I presumed that they knew about me and my family – either that or they just thought that the extra food might make me grow, since I was always the smallest kid in my grade.
You might recall that my dad was a custodian at the hospital. I remember one night when he described his job as a “responsibility to provide clean and sterile rooms so the doctors and nurses could operate and do their highly skilled work.” He saw his job as much more than just mopping floors. He made it a calling – just like the women in the school kitchen who did so much more than simply preparing and serving food. That’s why I suspect these were the same women who brought in the hand-me-down clothes that were given to me by the school nurse and counselor. They always served me a smile with my meals and I wonder if they ever understood how much that meant to me. Now, as an adult, I aware of the powerful connection food has to people beyond nutrition. Our society emphasizes the social interaction associated with meals, whether it’s just the family sitting around the table at dinner time or a special event or holiday. Food is a reinforcer and it meets more needs than just nourishment of the body.
I hope that this letter reminds you of the tremendous contributions each of you make to the education process.
Thank you and good night.