Betty was a cashier in our cafeteria at work. Well, she was more that just a cashier – she did an awful lot around there, but when the cafeteria was open she was always at her station behind one of the cash registers.
She had a big heart and called people "honeybunch" or "dear" as they went through her line. She was, I believe, Armenian, and spoke with an accent. She was always positive and upbeat, except in those rare times when she was unhappy or depressed. In any case, she never hid how she felt.
She had some sort of surgery a few years ago that required that she sit at her station upon her return. The food service vendor accommodated her and provided her with a stool to sit on. They had to. She was out for a long while and she reports her boss telling her she had to come back to work. "Everyone is asking, 'Where's Betty? When is she coming back?'"
My manager recalls being at our site, moving to another site for five years, and then coming back. She says Betty acted like she'd only been away for a day.
I don't go into the office much more than once a week anymore, but when I did go in to the cafeteria to get my chocolate doughnut in the morning Betty always greeted me as if I were still coming in every day. If my chocolate doughnut was there she'd say, "You found your doughnut!" If the chocolate doughnuts were gone she'd say something like, "So sorry. Someone came in early and bought most of the doughnuts for a meeting."
In December I noticed that Betty wasn't there when I went to get my doughnut. We came back from our holiday break and my manager told me that Betty had died during our time away of stomach cancer, which had only recently been diagnosed.
Our cafeteria will never be the same. But Betty is no doubt up there at some celestial cafeteria, greeting the cosmic patrons with the same enthusiasm and joy with which she greeted us for so many years.
We love you and miss you, Betty.