Welcome to Gio’s “Idols of Inspiration” where I interview various members of staff, students, and professors from all over the University of St. Francis (USF) campus. After having the honor of interviewing Sister Gayle Lynn Rusbasan, my guest for this week is someone that is not only special to me but special to all USF students who regularly attend the St. Bonaventure Campus. This person is always very cheerful, optimistic and has a very positive outlook on life. She is extremely good at giving advice in any given situation negative or positive, and always is helpful when you need to scan your ID to enter to class. But above all, this person genuinely enjoys having company and conversation with both students and staff here at USF.
Hint: She always never misses a beat with greeting you with a “Good Morning!” or “Hey guys, how are you? Have a good weekend!” She also likes the White Sox very much.
Any Guesses as to who this might be? If you guessed St. Bonaventure Campus Security Officer Leslie Mayo then you’re correct. Leslie is 1 of 20 great officers here at USF that work hard everyday to ensure our safety as students and staff. She enjoys coming to work every day and doesn’t even consider her workplace to be a job but rather a blessing and to make others happy and graduate towards their goals without worry. Her mission: “To teach others to never give up and live life to the fullest."
Giovanni Alvarado: How is your family, do you have any kids?
Leslie Mayo: Family is great! I love my family, being around them is my highlight of my life and what keeps me going every day. I have a son named Tommy who’s 16 and a daughter named Maggie who will be turning 13 in June. Dave is my boyfriend, I still can’t believe how fast time has gone by, it’s been already 4 years since we have been together, its great.
GA: What made you want to work here and be a part of the USF community?
LM: I remember when I attended a job fair, the University of St. Francis was there with some representatives. They had positions offered for a security officer, I never would have thought I would be one, but I had the will and grit to do it. At the end of the day, I said to myself, “Hmm, that could be a really interesting job.” The cool thing was that I had friends who came to school here and said it was a great community. So, I filled out the job application, got called for the interview and came. I was very blessed to get the job; the boss was very happy with my character and gave me a chance. Everything just fell into place and it was a perfect fit for me. I’m so happy I went to that job fair.
GA: How many years have you worked here?
LM: As of July, I will be working here for over 8 years already. It’s almost unbelievable when you think about it but they have been really exciting getting to know so many of you guys over the years. Before, I would even work part-time here on weekends. After a while, I noticed it would interfere with my kids after school activities, I was about to quit so I can be with my family more. But my boss was so nice and allowed me to work on week days, I accepted the offer in a heartbeat. Since then, I am able to now spend time with my kids and Dave on the weekends and still work on normal week days to get to see you guys. It was a blessing and I’m thankful.
GA: What is the best part of working here, has it enhanced or positively impact you as a person?
LM: The kids, they are the reason why I am here. Here at St. Bon, I look at this place as my home, I will not let anything malicious or bad ruin my home or kids. Under this roof, is my family. I look at these kids like they are my own. I’m basically the first face when they walk into the building and the last face seen when they leave. You know, that’s why I have my kleenex here because sometimes I will get students who come to talk and cry a little when they have problems. They talk to me when they have good news, they talk to me when they have bad news. So, I guess I’m kind of like a mother figure here for people, or I hope maybe more of big sister figure. (laughs) It might sound cliché, but everybody here in the university is like a big family, its so warm and inviting. You know, people can say it to anyone, but until you work here, you can really feel it seeing for yourself and it’s the truth. Everyone is willing to go that extra step to help you.Put it this way, I like going to work every day, some people can’t say that. But I do and enjoy seeing everyone’s faces. Take now for example, its crunch time with finals approaching and you guys will start to get a whole workload of stress. There are some students that forget their ID to go through the hallway or stairs, you know, I’m not gonna be like “Oh, you forgot your ID, tough luck, that’s on you!” No! I won’t be that way, I’m always like “Don’t worry about it, you forgot your ID? So what? I got you have fun at class!” You have a billion other things going through your head, you know like family issues, car issues, kids. There are sometimes things we forget stuff because of what’s going on in our lives full of clutter, so I get it and understand.
GA: What is your own personal mission while working here?
LM: I want to see you guys graduate! I want to see you make it! I told a couple students in December before their graduation, “I hope I never see you again! Go off! Go off in the world! Do good!” It’s bittersweet, it makes me both very happy and sad at the same time, because every semester I get a whole new bunch that I click with and as the semester goes, at the beginning they might be like “morning.” Then later by the middle of the semester, they will be here standing by the counter talking to me. I had one kid, (laughs), this is so funny, of how we got on the subject of fish. He would stop by with his camera and show me different types of fish, it was a great learning experience for me, but I loved the fact that we had a good educational and friendly insightful conversation. That’s one thing I miss in a world where technology has in a way dominated the good old times of having a decent discussion and getting to know each other more.
GA: What is your favorite movie film and who is your favorite musical artist or song?
LM: My favorite movie is Marley and Me, I absolutely love it! As far as music, I love anything from Bruce Springsteen!
GA: What is one thing you want to see change in the world?
LM: I want people to get along and just throw all the anger away! I mean, where does it get you? It gets you nowhere, it gets you nowhere. I read on my Yahoo! News sad stories of people getting hurt or bullied because of their political views, race or circumstance, it breaks my heart that we all can’t get along sometimes. We are all human, we all put our pants on the same way, we all bleed red. Like help each other out instead of being angry at each other. Enough of who’s more right or wrong, who’s better and who’s worse. Cut it all off, we are all human, we’re all human. You know if someone, god forbid, gets into a car accident, I’m not going to discriminate against them for their race, political view, or gender. What if that was me in the car accident, I would want help from anybody being a decent human being. We need to come to hard realization about this because at the end of the day, we are all truly human, the same. Love is way more strong than hate. Like the saying goes, “It takes less muscles to smile on your face than it is to put a frown on your face.”
As the interview came to its conclusion, I couldn’t help but notice that an hour passed like the wind. But I enjoyed every minute of it. She enjoys helping others, having conversations with them, her job, giving advice and getting to know her students and fellow staff at a deeper level. More importantly, she forms very special bonds and genuine connections with them that will last a lifetime. She is one of the many pillars that make this great institution welcoming and a second home of solace. If there are any guardian angels on earth out there, Leslie is definitely one of them.
Image Courtesy of Leslie Mayo