As students, faculty and staff pass through the bottom of Decker Hall the sweet aromas of breakfast or lunch usually fill the building. Café Ole represents a place where a warm smile and a servants heart are willingly given each time an AU student simply orders a cup of soup or a large drink to keep them awake in class. Marilyn Johnson is one of those workers who makes a student’s day more enjoyable and has been for 20 years.
“I love the students,” commented Marilyn on why she loves working at AU. “The new students always start out so shy when they come up to the counter but by the time they are seniors, we know them all and they know us.”
And with 20 years of service everyone knows Marilyn’s face.
“What I like about cafe ole is that the workers always remember my name and remember what I like to eat and make sure I always know if they have it. It's kind of like having my grandma here spoiling me with the good stuff,” said Steve White, a junior, who goes frequently for lunch at Café Ole with his sisters Andrea (senior) and Teresa (freshman).
When Marilyn and her husband first had their children growing up in Anderson, she owned a restaurant in Pendleton, where she currently resides. With having two growing children and a full-time restaurant, Marilyn stayed at home with her kids and sold her restaurant. She then came to work at AU after her kids were grown where she found her passion of food services again and gained a whole lot more.
“I really like my crew over here in Café Ole,” said Marilyn. “Everyone fits in and helps everyone out without complaints. We are never behind on food or the small things that make Café Ole run because we all look out for each other.”
Marilyn and her husband both have two grown children, Susan and Jimmy, and three grandchildren (one who has passed away since Marilyn has worked at AU).
“After my grandchild passed away, all of the staff supported my family in coming to the funeral home. That meant a lot to me,” said Marilyn.
Marilyn and her husband both own a 1968 Camero Convertible and a 1967 GTO Convertible which they spend countless hours driving around in the summer and early fall. They go to car shows like those at the James Dean Festival in Fairmount, Ind., and to local car shows like ones held at Penguin Point in Anderson.
— Stefanie Leiter serves as web editor in the office of University Communications