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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Familiar Faces: Connie Monson

Timothy Galaz / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Timothy Galaz
Timothy Galaz / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Connie Monson has always nurtured her environment.

For the last five years Monson has worked at the Park Student Union as a cashier, and in all her time there, her lasting memories are rooted in the many relationships she has planted.

“”I just love being around people,”” Monson said. “”All the students make me happy.””

In 1977, Monson’s brother-in–law called her and her husband an their home in Iowa. He was attending the UA and challenged them to check out what Tucson had to offer. Happy to get away from the cold blizzard months, Monson and her family agreed.

Once in Tucson, Monson and her husband started their own landscape company and she worked there for 24 years before venturing into the cashier realm. After holding a position at Target for some time, she decided to try out the university — it’s been home ever since.

Monson is happy in Tucson and calls the UA her second home. Both of her children attended the university, and all of her extended family and friends are here, too.

To those near her, Monson is the loving smile that always brightens up the day.

“”She’s my sunshine,”” said colleague Lupita Lopez, the dining service manager of the Park Student Union. “”She joined our staff here five years ago and it’s been a happy marriage ever since.””

Monson begins her shift at 8 a.m. and rakes in the smiles until 4:30 p.m. She’s scheduled five days a week, but it never really feels like work, she said. The majority of her day consists of learning people’s names and simply finding out what young people are all about.

“”I look at their CatCards,”” Monson said, “”and I’ll just start saying their name and thinking about who they are, so the name just comes to me the next time. Even seniors are amazed that I remember them.””

Many seniors even ask Monson for day-to-day advice, Lopez said.

Students say these days, it’s difficult to find another cashier that cares as much as Monson.

“”She always asks about you and wants to know about your day,”” said Torrey Plum, a senior majoring in English. “”She takes a genuine interest in people — she really cares.””

Monson has even acquired her own “”fan club,”” as many of her summer customers make the trek from the Student Union Memorial Center to the Park Student Union just to get that extra smile on the side with their meal.

It’s even been said that many students give Monson Mother’s Day cards to express their gratitude.

“”I think she is everyone’s surrogate mother,”” said public management junior Paul Gowin.

Lopez said students truly miss Monson when she’s gone. “”If she’s on lunch or out for an appointment, students ask, ‘Where’s Connie, is she on vacation?'””

Hearing that people miss her makes Monson feel really good, she said. Although she is rarely down, it’s little things like these that allow her to bring all her positive nature — and hugs — into the equation.

“”If you’re ever having a bad day,”” Lopez said, “”she is my go-to hugger.””

Although things like knitting and surfing the Web take up some of her free time outside of work, there is one hobby that most supports Monson’s nurturing personality and work ethic.

“”I do love gardening,”” Monson said.

Monson is constantly pruning the negativity from her life and trying to let the good in her surroundings shine through.

“”I just think positive every day,”” Monson said. “”I try to leave my bad thoughts at home.””

“”Seeing all the students coming in that didn’t even know we were here a short while ago, saying, ‘Oh Connie, you’re the best,'”” she said. “”That’s what makes me come in all the time, and that’s what makes me feel really good.””

 

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