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Coffee Break

Small Talk With Jenny Aguayo

Jenny Aguayo

Photo: Pat Piasecki

Spend time in Olin Hall and you’ll inevitably make the acquaintance of Jenny Aguayo or, as the students call her, Jenny from the Bronx. “How you doing, baby?” she’ll ask from her perch at the cafe’s cash register. A former denizen of Puerto Rico and New York City, Aguayo came to Boston in 1998 and started at the Olin cafe a year later. “I like my job. I like the people that I work with,” she says. “It’s like my second home.”

What did you do before Babson?  I worked in a lot of factories. A shirt factory. A bra factory. I used to work like one year here, a couple of years at another one. Then they would close the factory, because they weren’t making the business. So I moved around. They closed, and I kept on moving.

What brought you to Boston?  I came because my uncle got sick over here in Boston and so my mom, she was in Puerto Rico, came to see him and then she got sick. She needed somebody. I’m the only one in my family not married with kids, so I decided to come from New York to live in Boston.

Do you still visit New York?  I’ll go to the Bronx. My sister lives there and my niece, some cousins. We go and we hang out. If it’s summer, we’ll go to the park, to the beach. My sister has a balcony, so she has a barbecue there. We eat. We drink beer. Music. Dominoes. We have fun.

You say “baby” a lot.  I call everybody baby. It comes out. It started with The Supremes. “Baby, baby, baby, don’t leave me.” That got in my mind. So when I started working here, I didn’t know the students’ names. And so I say, “Hey, baby, how are you doing? Hey, what’s up? Hey, do you need something, baby?”

You must get to know a ton of students.  Yeah, they come and they go. It’s sometimes sad to see them go. But then they graduate, and you see them in two or three years when they come here for an event. Then they say, “Are you Jenny from the Bronx? Are you still here?” Yup, I’m Jenny from the Bronx. I’m still here.

What do you like to eat at the cafe?  Pizza. Soup. I make my own sandwich. Turkey and avocado on wheat bread. I put on mayonnaise or mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions. And a lot of cheese.—John Crawford