Standing tall and straight, smiling easily with caring eyes, Ana Jimenez never disappoints—her perfect wraps and friendly, lovable demeanor both serve to calm the chaotic atmosphere of Eagle’s Nest.
A native of Cali, Colombia, Jimenez has been working in Boston College Dining Services for the past 14 years. During that time she has become a staple on campus, as constant as the passing of the seasons or the Patriots being at odds with the NFL.
Eagle’s Nest is one of the preferred spots for students to eat lunch between classes, as it has an alternative array of food options that cater to each student’s individual tastes. The ability to create something truly theirs has been one constant that has kept many coming through the doors.
Its immense popularity has also been one of its major pitfalls, with lines that, more often than not, extend out the door, much to the dismay and annoyance of those unlucky souls stuck in the limbo of Eagle’s. Impatient students can be heard grumbling about the wasted time and effort it takes to simply get food, but nevertheless, they keep coming back again and again for their favorite wrap, salad, or pressed sandwich.
Who is behind Eagle’s success? A strong argument can be made for the little lady behind the counter with a big smile and a big heart.
Jimenez approaches her job with the same enthusiasm she had when she first started working at BC. Her day officially begins at 7:30 a.m., but through the years she learned that arriving half an hour earlier allows her to ensure that she is organized both physically and mentally.
“I care about what I do, I like to come and prepare my line for the day,” she said in an interview translated from Spanish. “I have never been late in all of my years here.”
Serving students and getting to know them fuels Jimenez throughout the day, as she loves talking to people and knowing more than simply what their order is. She likes to talk about their lives, their families, and plans for the future.
“It is one of the most beautiful things, working with students,” she said. “To me, they are like my adoptive sons and daughters.”
Jimenez highlights the high value she places on mutual respect, paying homage to the lessons her parents taught her.
“Everyone has always been so respectful to me,” she said. “I have never had a problem with that, and that is a testament to the student body.”
Family is what Jimenez values most. Her mother’s untimely passing is what drove Jimenez to come to the States, looking for a better and more stable life where she could begin again. Although thankful of her life and the opportunities that come with it, she also keeps her roots close to her heart.
“Back home, I was secure with a good job—I was very grateful for the education my parents gave me,” she said. “But, everything came tumbling down, so I decided to leave.”
The fast-paced environment in Eagle’s and all of the work that goes into ensuring quality service does not end there for Jimenez, as she says her private life is almost as active as her on-campus one. Outside of work, Jimenez enjoys taking walks, reading, and seeing friends, and, always with things to do around the house, she does not have time to get bored.
She does miss certain aspects of her culture, however, saying that she would love to start dancing again in the near future.
“It reminds me a lot of the festivals back home,” she said. “They are a lot of fun.”
Looking forward, Jimenez hopes to return to Colombia with her husband and her daughter when she retires, as most of her family is not in the United States. “I have my WhatsApp chats, but it is not the same,” she said. No immediate plans, however, are set for her return. Eagle’s Nest will not be saying goodbye to its superstar just yet.
Featured Image by Juan Olavarria / Heights Editor