Vicke Davis is just a regular employee, but if you mention her name, it might ring a bell to all the students at the Honors College in Arizona State University.
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The 59-year-old employee has been working at the college’s dining hall for three years since 2013. And for the time she has spent with the students, she has known a lot of information about them. She remembers all their names before they even ask for hers. It’s not only because she’s curious, it’s because she truly cares for them.
And the students feel the same toward her. They feel like the canteen is not complete if Davis is not there.
One afternoon, a junior student named Quintin Woods asked Davis about what her dream trip was, and without any hesitation, she replied, “The northern lights.”
Little did she know, Woods, together with almost 100 other students, were planning to make her dream come true.
Davis’s Barrett babies, as she fondly calls them, rushed into the cash register one day to give her a large check that contained $2,500, a money big enough to cover the cost of a trip to Canada, where the students hoped Davis could enjoy the northern lights. Surprised, Davis began to cry as she held the check the students worked so hard to get.
“A lot of freshmen come here and live in the complex, and they don’t get mom’s home-cooked meals anymore, but they get Vicke saying, ‘How you doing baby? How my Barrett babies doing?” one student said.
Davis is always involved with the students even on social networking services like Snapchat and Facebook, and she usually talks about them on her accounts.
“I told them the first day, I left all my babies in Chicago, so they my babies now. I love my babies. They’re sweet,” Davis mentioned after she hugged every student who surprised her.
She was overwhelmed with the students’ effort to help her realize her dream trip. In return, Davis promised to come back with souvenirs.
Woods created a page in GoFundMe last Christmas Eve to raise funds for Davis. In just two days, he was able to raise $2,000 from roughly 150 people.
“It’s not necessarily surprising because I know how well-liked she is, but still,” the 20-year-old student said. “It’s pleasantly surprising that it was an immediate ‘boom’ effort.”
One student even gave $100 off his own pocket, while the other gave $150. Two school organizations had each given $250 until the fund reached $2,486, which they believed would cover her expenses for transportation to Canada over the school’s spring break.
It will be Davis’s first time in Canada, so she plans to eat as many food as she can. “I want real food. I’m from Chicago—very picky anyway—and a lot of the restaurants that say ‘Chicago style’ . . . nuh-uh. So I’m gonna do a lot of eating,” she said.
“I only got 30 minutes off, I can’t kiss everybody. Y’all gonna have me crying in my sushi,” Davis said laughing as she ran off to stand in line together with the students for lunch.