For the last twelve years, Smiling Sandy Cunningham has fed thousands of hungry students. She brings joy and happiness to people who aren’t expecting it when they’re on their way to get a bite to eat at Plaza. She revolutionized the whole ID swiping industry and will go down as one of the best to ever do it. While students at Mizzou are saddened and will miss the caring smile as you hand her your card, we at The Black Sheep were able to catch up with Smiling Sandy before she leaves.
The Black Sheep:
What are you going to miss most about working here?
Oh, definitely just seeing the kids every day, just everyday contact with the students for sure. I mean I’ll definitely come back a lot for sure, especially with the basketball team this year. I’m excited for the basketball games.
What’s your go-to meal at Plaza?
Well, my favorite food if you could believe it is hot dogs (laughs). But at Plaza, I really do love the pizza. I think we have a really good pizza here.
What are your plans for the future?
Well, I’ve never seen the ocean. Other than that, I’d like to take care of my grandkids as well. Anything that happens before that, happens. Life can take you all sorts of places. And I’d like to come see the basketball team this year. Hopefully, we have a good year.
So what do you do when someone is out of swipes?
No comment (laughs). I mean, what I’m supposed to do is send them back to look up their account and double check that they have enough swipes. That’s the correct answer.
Any advice for the new card swipers at Plaza who will try to fill your shoes?
Care about the kids. That’s the most important thing here. And to have a meaningful smile. Because it’s one thing to smile, but it has to be for the other person. Don’t just smile to smile. Anybody can smile just because.
One day, they will probably hang her apron up in the rafters, or even build a statue of her behind her screen, right out front of Plaza and Emporium. We will remember all the times when she let you back in because you forgot something inside, or when she let your buddy in without having to swipe. Plaza will always be Plaza, but there will never be another Sandy Cunningham.