As the frightening finals approach, and the stress and anxiety–brought out by all the due dates and studying–cling to our muscles, I thought it might be a positive interruption from our gloomy moods to write about the people who have made a heart-warming impression on students throughout the term. The Sunshine staff’s reputation had been brought into discussion in our staff meeting one day and I decided it might be interesting to hear what other people have to say.
The next day, in the early afternoon, I walked into Sunshine with the intention of hearing students’ glowing remarks about the staff. I was not disappointed. A resounding “very nice” and “very helpful” filled my ears as I asked them what their impressions were about the staff at Sunshine.
Others replied that their experiences with the staff have been nothing but positive. Many mentioned that the staff take the time to talk to you and ask you how your day has been. Someone couldn’t hold back their affection and called them “sweethearts.”
One delighted interviewee shared a personal experience she had with the staff. English is her second language, so there are some types of food that she can’t pronounce. Specifically, there is a type of pasta she has a hard time saying. When she wants to buy it, she always asks the staff if she could get “that,”' rather than pronouncing the name. The student mentioned that a lady saw this scene and understood; she taught her the word over and over, helping her with the pronunciation. The student added, at the end of her story, that the staff are very friendly toward international students.
After hearing all of these positive comments, I made my way to the staff hoping to hear their reactions. I commented that all that had been uttered from the student’s mouths were highly complementary. I then let them speak:
“In Nechako, you are just a card, that’s how they bring people into the restaurant. When we come here, particularly because it is not as busy, we have the ability to kind of read students’ emotions. If they are feeling discouraged or angry, we have a chance to kind of turn that around. That is part of our job, an important part.”
“When you ask them how your day is, they start telling you everything so you get to know the students here more than any place else.”
“All the locations are a bit busier than here for now. So we get to have more one-on-one time with each student and to get to know what they really want out of sunshine.”
“Here [in Sunshine], it is more of a relaxed environment. It is quieter, cleaner, more open and friendly. So that gives the student a chance to feel free to express themselves to us. They don’t feel rigid. So, because it is so open and friendly and free and relaxed, that makes the students also very relaxed to talk to us.”
“We make an effort to be incredibly supportive to one another. We try to believe the best and think the best about each other, and therefore we are actually able to meet the students’ needs. Our business is going up all the time, it has to be because people come here and feel welcomed and appreciated.”