Members of Boston College’s staff serve as the heartbeat of this institution. Our community is incredibly fortunate to have this team of “Men and Women for Others,” tirelessly working to ensure the standard of living we have become so accustomed to on this campus. We hope to recognize their impact through their stories. This is Sheila Walton’s story. Check out the others here.
ost Boston College students don’t give a second thought to the routine quiet “good, how are you,” they robotically repeat to the Boston College Dining cashiers, except to consider a quick “thanks, have a good one.” That’s why Sheila Walton, a cashier in the Rat, has gained fame among students for breaking up the monotony of waiting by her register.
The Brighton native prides herself on forging personal connections with everyone, and makes an effort to reach out to brighten people’s days however she can.
“I absolutely love my job. I love seeing all the students, I say hello to everybody,” she said. “There’s a lot of people whose names I know and we talk or chit-chat. I just love coming to work and talking to everybody, it’s so much fun, I don’t consider it work.”
Her friendly attitude has encouraged more and more students to breakout of the routine they’ve grown accustomed to. Whether it’s simply remembering their daily breakfast order or making the effort to learn about their class schedule.
“I have always made an effort to ask the dining hall workers how they are doing and tell them that I hope that they have a fantastic day,” said Dan Paulos, CSOM ’19. “It has always bothered me that a bunch of BC students don’t wish the dining hall workers a good day or even ask them how they are—they just give them their card and take it back without uttering a word. Sheila noticed this and began calling me by my first name every time I went up for coffee and such.”
Some of the connections she’s formed just from seeing people every day have grown beyond the lunchline and turned into unique, albeit unconventional, friendships. Students have even made a point of bringing their parents to the Rat during visits so they could meet her.
“Sheila is very close with some of the students at Boston College,” said Natale Schmitz, MCAS ’20. “In fact, I’ve seen her hugging ad chatting with other students outside of her post at the cash register. She’s more of a friend than anything to us students.”
Walton arrived at Boston College 20 years ago as a temp worker at Eagle’s Nest after leaving her job as an orthopedic surgical assistant. The next year, she was promoted to a part-time position.
“I needed mother’s hours because my children were young,” she said. ”I couldn’t go back to my profession because it was definitely a full-time job and I was a full-time mom.”
Since then, she’s moved around to dining spots all across campus. She staffed Hillside Cafe in its fledgling years before landing in the refurbished Rat. She’s also seen her own two sons, who had brought her to the Heights in the first place, pass through the University as students themselves.
Given that she first arrived at Boston College with her sons on her mind, it’s fitting that many students see her as a mom-like figure for their home away from home. Her fans among the student body can effortlessly rattle off the countless, personalized ways that Walton has touched their lives.
“Sometimes, she’ll tease me about my food choices, or even give me a chuckle about my weird food combinations, but she lets it happen,” said Erika Schlagenhauf, CSOM ’20. “She understands that college kids do crazy things, and she is a fun and calming presence in the always buzzing Rat.”