SCHENECTADY — Veronica Ramgadoo doesn’t think of herself as a hero.
She just loves her job. And the people.
Ramgadoo, 40, has been working at the Stewart’s on Van Vranken Avenue in the city’s Goose Hill neighborhood for more than a decade.
It’s her first job in the city after relocating from Guyana by way of Florida 11 years ago.
“It was a better opportunity and better education for my kids,” Ramgadoo said.
Over the past decade, she’s developed a strong rapport with her customers and is on first-name basis with many of them.
It’s a diverse crowd, including shift workers, parents taking their kids to school, doctors on their way to Ellis Medicine and academics grabbing a quick cup of java on their way to nearby Union College.
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“They make me smile every morning,” Ramgadoo said. “They know me by name.”
Ramgadoo likes the morning shifts, working from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.
People spilled in on a recent morning, buying bread, milk … Lotto tickets. Sometimes customers even come across town just to get a glimpse of that winsome smile.
Customers, she said, ask for her specifically when selecting numbers, even when the line is five people deep.
Maybe she’s good luck.
One time, she sold a $2 ticket for $20,000. Word got around.
“When I’m not here, they ask about me all the time,” Ramgadoo said.
Some even confide in her their problems. In return, she offers advice and tries to cheer them up.
Ramgadoo, a shift supervisor, never blinked amid the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March. She said she was never scared, never nervous — just kept plugging away, always smiling.
She did so even when she apologetically asked someone to put on a mask.
“I’m a people person,” Ramgadoo said. “I like people who smile.”