Michelle Herbert has worked at Temple for about 10 years. She has rotated among Wrap Up, Mein Bowl, Sizzling Salads, Charleston Market, Taco Bell and Benny’s Steak Shop at the Student Center’s Valaida S. Walker Food Court. She has also worked at Café a la Cart in Gladfelter Hall.
Now, Herbert takes students’ orders at Einstein Bros. Bagel in the Student Center. She knows your name, and she knows your order.
The Temple News: How do you remember the names of all your customers?
Michelle Herbert: It might be a smile or a certain look that sets someone apart from someone else. Some people just fit their names.
TTN: Why do you make it a priority to remember students’ names?
MH: I make it a point to pay attention when I’m taking orders. I try to be a mom for these students while they are away from home. My secret is that I look at these students as I look at my own children and my own grandchildren. [Herbert has six children, 19 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.] I make my job personal to me. These students are from different parts of the country and from different countries. If they have to deal with a stranger, they should at least deal with a polite stranger. I never take them for granted, and I thank them for their patience when it’s busy. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have a job.
TTN: How else do you try to help students feel more at home?
MH: I am more than willing to help make sure students get their special orders done properly. I’ll go above and beyond to help them any way I can. Anything we don’t have, I’ll get for them. They should get the best. I believe in treating the students the way I would want to be treated. I put myself in that line.
TTN: What are some of your best memories at Einstein Bros. Bagel?
MH: I have a few. One of the best memories was when the Einstein executives came and scoped me out. They told my boss that I had achieved 100 percent customer service.
One day, a student named Simon, who orders a bacon-and-egg sandwich with no cheese, asked if he could call me Miss Michelle. That did something to me.
Another day, the parents of a student named Liam came to Einstein. His mother said to me, “Thank you very much for taking care of my son.” There were all these customers waiting in line, and I started crying. I had to get myself together. Then Liam’s dad came up and said the same thing. That was a big surprise to me. I’m real sensitive. The little things affect me. It’s the little things – a smile, a hug – that brighten up the room. I try to brighten up students’ days and tell them that everything is going to be all right even though it’s finals time.
TTN: How did you get started at Einstein Bros. Bagel?
MH: When they opened up Einstein, I asked my boss if I was part of the crew that got picked. When I was told that I was at Einstein, but as an order taker, I busted out crying. I told my boss I couldn’t do it. There were too many things to remember. But everyone had faith in me, and here I am now.
TTN: What would you order at Einstein Bros. Bagel if you were a customer?
MH: Now that’s a toss-up. I have three items on the menu I would recommend. If you want a bagel, my favorite is the everything bagel with chive cream cheese. It you want a wrap, I would recommend a club mex wrap. If you want something hot, I would suggest Italian chicken.
Jennifer Reardon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.