In between serving students and faculty at the Café a la Carte in the Sverdrup building, Pavlos “Paul” Badsios will whistle or sing a tune. He will answer customers’ questions and yell out, “Opa,” every so often. As the supervisor of campus dining at Webster University, he said he feels it is his duty to give great customer service every day.
Badsios was born in Greece and has lived in the United States since 1967. He moved with his family to Michigan, where he was raised. The restaurant business has played a role in his life since he was young.
A chef by profession, he has worked in numerous restaurants in Michigan and Granite City, Ill., with his brothers. He also ran a restaurant in downtown St. Louis for 18 years called Crackers. Badsios called the restaurant “Crackers” because the restaurant’s specialty was soups. He has lived in Granite City for almost 30 years.
Badsios has worked at Webster for six years. The aspect of Badsios’ job he said he loves the most is meeting new people. He said he has met people from all over the world during his life. During orientation, Badsios said he does what he can to make new students feel comfortable in a new environment.
“I try to talk to them then, make them feel welcomed and then perhaps when they come back, you know they’ll say, ‘Oh, I remember you. I saw you at this and that,’” Badsios said. “It makes me happy when they acknowledge the idea that I’m friendly to them.”
Ambreya Eddins, a sophomore legal studies major, said Badsios loves to interact with the student community and also loves to joke.
“He seems like he’s happy to do his job and I really like the way he conducts himself,” Eddins said.
Badsios said his positive attitude mainly comes from his mother. He said she was the kind of person who related to other people. When Badsios has a bad day, he said he does not carry it to the workplace. He brushes it off.
“If I came in here with a bad attitude, everybody will suffer. So I just leave it out the door,” Badsios said. “I feel like, ‘Why should I bring my problems here?’ These kids have enough of their own. They’re stressed and all this stuff.”
Linda Williams met Badsios in the late ‘80s when she worked at KSDK Channel 5 in downtown St. Louis. Williams, academic advisor in the School of Communications, would go to Crackers almost every day for lunch or dinner. Williams saw Badsios at Webster last year and they instantly recognized one another.
“It was like, ‘Paul!’ ‘Linda!’ It was kind of a ‘What are you doing here?’ type of moment,” Williams said. “He’s always very cheerful, very happy and always friendly.”
Badsios overcame a major setback in his life. The first year he started working at Webster, he found out he had high blockage of the arteries of his heart. He eventually had to have a four-way bypass surgery to clear his blocked arteries. After the operation, Badsios said he felt like he was given a second chance at life. When he heard the nurse’s voice after his surgery, he said it was the happiest moment of his life. Diabetes is another obstacle he deals with on a daily basis.
“I’ve seen my father pass away from a stroke and diabetes. My mother had Alzheimer’s,” Badsios said. “So the fear of all those things, you think about them sometimes.”
Badsios said that he is not finished living and hopes to live a long life.
“I’ve been pretty fortunate in my life with coming to America and finding a good way of living,” Badsios said. “I’m happy with the events of my life.”