The melodic sounds of the steady bongos, maracas and guíro filled the Campus Inn as the Whittier College’sWhittier’s Bon Appétit Cashier, Daisy Machado and staff enjoyed their lunch break. The radio played a Marc Anthony’s “Cambio de Piel” with the words:
Como cambio del piel, Y como vuelo a nacer,
Como le puedo explicar al corazon, Que no hay peligro al creer en este amor
How can I change skin, and rebirth again,
How can I explain to the heart that here’s no danger to believe in this love
“I love Marc Anthony his music is very good, es muy sabroso,” Machado said as she sat at the Chef’s table swaying side-to-side to the music. “[The Campus Inn staff] get to choose the music in the Campus Inn,” Machado said. “I love music especially salsa, merengue and cumbia. It’s really fun to listen to.”
Not dressed in her usual black formal pants and chef’s skull cap, Machado opted for a cherry red lipstick that perfectly coordinated with her chiffon red blouse. “Chow is that Daisy wow,” said a Bon Appétit staff member playfully as he walked by.
Machado giggled modestly as she started her interview using the language she was most comfortable speaking, her native Spanish, so the Quaker Campus has provided a translation.
Throughout her nine years working here at Whittier College, Machado has won the hearts of many Whittier College students and faculty not as only a cashier, but a friendly hostess who warmly greets students as they dine at the Campus Inn. “What I love about my job is helping students with what they need and getting them to talk,” Machado said.
Machado does a little bit of everything as Campus Inn cashier, including assisting in the food service operation by prepping the dining room, serving students, keeping the buffet stocked, cleaning and keeping tables tidy and cashiering.
When asked what it was like to receive the Key to the College back in 2014 by The Associated Students of Whittier College Senate (ASWC) for her service and dedication to all students, Machado shared what an honor it was. “It was one of my favorite moments here at Whittier,” Machado shared. “I was very grateful when I received that award,” Machado said. “I could not make it to the ceremony in person, so when the AWSC officers came personally, I was very surprised.”
Machado shared that it was a hard transition when she came from San Miguel, El Salvador back in 1986 to the U.S. “ The language, the food, everything was a change,” Machado revealed. “I miss my country but this last Christmas I went home to visit my mom and my sister in El Salvador where I visited the beach. The beaches are different there, the water is warm and the sand is so soft. The beaches are very beautiful there.”
Machado is the proud mother two: her fourteen-year-old son who plays basketball and a daughter currently pursuing her master’s degree at the California State University of Northridge in counseling. “I feel proud of my kids,” Machado said. “There are a lot of opportunities here in the United Sates and it would be great if my son could come to Whittier College in the future.”
Prior to working at the Whittier College Campus Inn, Machado worked for Bon Appétit as a food server in Glendale. “I moved then to Orange County and found an opening at Whittier College and that’s how I came here,” Machado said. “I like to work here very much and the chance to talk to the professors here on campus, including Professor Orosco [and Professor] Valenzuela, and the students. They are all very friendly.”
Bon Appétit staff, including Machado, were able to unionize with Local Union 11 back in 2013. “The unionization of the workers has helped improved working conditions for us,” Machado said. “This year, we are going to renew our contract.” Aside from her Campus Inn job which she works as split shift, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Daisy works at Subway part-time.
Although Daisy admitted that the Campus Inn menu has expanded since she has been here, Daisy expressed the need to add a little more spice to the mix. “I think there should be more of a variety,” revealed Machado. “Two years ago, we had an International lunch day I will never forget,” Machado said. “We had plates from different parts of the world. I got to cook 700 pupusas, a traditional plate from El Salvador.”
Machado shares that she enjoys participating in cultural and sporting events on campus. “I like the holiday parties held here and I like to go to lacrosse and basketball games,” Machado said.
Machado acknowledged the diversity of the Whittier College campus. “There are many students I have met,” Machado said. “I have met some that have come from El Salvador, there are very many Latino students, and in the summer, we see a lot of students from China, Japan, the Middle East and Turkey. Hijole un monton. I think it is important that students learn a second language; actually a lot of non-Hispanic students have spoken to me in Spanish. Es muy bonito.”