Retiree finds happiness working at MNSU

Amanda Filreis
Staff Writer

A smile can go a long way. There’s no one who demonstrates this better than Ron Bagley.

Anyone who has had a meal plan at the University Dining Center on campus should be acquainted with him as he’s one of the cashiers swiping MavCards. He has been working at the Dinning Center for about five years, but not always as a cashier. Ron started as line server when he began his employment on the Minnesota State University, Mankato campus on Jan. 19, 2015. During that same year in October, he was then assigned to work as cashier. It wasn’t always this way, though.

Ron moved to Minnesota from Maine in 1999. For a time, he worked on making aluminum boats in St. Peter, which lasted about six years. Turns out, though, he has been working in food services for approximately 35 years. In 2006, he opened up a restaurant in Nicolett that was called “Ron’s Pine Street Café”. The name was chosen via lottery and the winner received a year of free desserts from his selection of American cuisine made from scratch.

“It was a very stressful job finding just the right people to work with, so no,” answered Ron when asked if he missed working at the restaurant. He entered retirement while closing it after eight years of business. He then felt a desire to work again, which brought him to MNSU.

“I think that the best part of working here is interacting with all of the students,” Ron said. “They’re all fun and nice. I believe one of my favorite moments is when students come in with funny phrases on their t-shirts because they always make me laugh. One of the sayings I enjoy the most is: ‘I’m not doing adult today.’” 

He mentioned how he enjoyed getting to talk with people and the more relaxing setting this work environment presented.

“When I think about a job, I try to think if it’s fun and how I can help to make it fun,” Ron said. “I always mention the students names when I see them, since names are important. You also never know what a smile can do for a person.”

Needless to say, that effort doesn’t go unnoticed. “He always greets people with a smile so you can tell that he cares,” said student Kassidy Tocco when asked about her thoughts on Ron. “You just always look forward to seeing him there. His kindness brings a smile to your face on the days when you need it the most.”

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