“Where’s your lunch? Are you sure you already ate?” Beth questions me with a kind, motherly look as we sit down together over lunch. The question attests to the nature of Beth Garvin’s character: a combination of genuineness and extreme kindness. To us, Beth is the greeter at Scripps’ Malott Commons dining hall who never fails to brighten your day. During the half hour that we sat talking about everything from tortilla chips to “the power of positivity,” I looked to find an answer as to who Beth is and how she maintains her constant smile. Yet without fail, Beth proved that her persona is rooted only in a positive and compassionate view of the world.
A Claremont native, Beth’s mother owned a shop in the village and her father taught at the junior high. Beth returned to Claremont to raise her three children with her husband, Tom, who currently works as a music teacher at a high school in Marietta.
Outside of her work, Beth says much of her time has been devoted to her kids. “For the last 22 years, my interests have revolved around my kids. ‘Interests’ being: in my car, driving someone, somewhere!”
Now that two out of three kids are “gone,” Beth said she has recently given thought to her real interests, which include animals, babies, and spending time with her youngest son. As Beth put it, “I really enjoy getting to know the young man he is becoming.”
Beth began her work with Scripps three years ago when she applied to work in the kitchen of the Malott. It was there, Beth said, that she gained a deep respect for those who work in the food industry. “It was just eye-opening to see how hard these people work and the love they put in to the food,” she exclaimed about the cooks. “It’s just a whole different world that you don’t understand until you see it firsthand.”
After an injury inhibited her ability to work in the kitchen, Beth moved to her current position as cashier. For Beth, the students she sees all remind her of her kids in college. As she puts it, “I want to be the person my son sees.”
She certainly has left a lasting impression. No less than eight groups of students walked by during our talk, each waving and greeting Beth. To all of them, she responded with a friendly hello and the warm smile that anyone who has met her knows. “That’s the thing, people should understand the power of positivity,” she continued. “It’s contagious.”
Indeed it is. I couldn’t help but smile for the entirety of our conversation. Beth’s motivation in being happy is unrelated to external factors; rather, she focuses only on projecting her “natural happiness.” Though we spoke about her love for her kids and being a vegan, somehow the conversation always turned back to her understanding of the world. She stressed the importance of appreciating every person you meet and understanding that “everyone is fighting their own battle.”
Thus, I was left with the question we all want to know: how does she do it? “The happiness just comes naturally to me. It’s a joy to be the welcome wagon.”
It’s a greater joy for us, Beth.