Yasuko's smile and pizza invitations
light up Hub customers' lives
November 21, 2008 | Anyone who has ever eaten at the
Hub knows Yasuko Brown, the spunky Japanese woman who
works at Pasta La Bella. She is a master salesperson
and reels in undecided diners like giant trout.
"Hi, how you doing today? You want some pizza? It's
so good," she says to nearly every person who comes
into the Hub. If you make eye contact, your agency is
out the window -- not even the Grinch could turn away
from her bright smile.
Over the semester, I have grown to simply adore this
woman. The world is changed in a small but indelible
way by people who love their job, no matter what it
Yasuko makes every day count. Pizza sales have doubled
at Pasta La Bella since she began working there almost
a year ago. She has a personal goal to sell 100 pizzas
in a day (whole pizzas, not slices). Right now, the
average is about 80. Only positive attitudes and team
work can get them to 100, she said with determination
and faith in her eyes.
Yasuko wakes up at 3:30 a.m. each day so she has time
to chant and pray before work. She prays for her goals
-- including the 100 pizza mark -- and the happiness
of everyone around her. The chanting is a practice of
Nichiren Buddhism and is an extremely influential part
of Yasuko's life.
"It give me positive energy and help me achieve my
goals," she said.
Her testimony of chanting is so strong that she wants
others to have the experience. She graciously invited
me to a session at her home.
"You like Japanese food?" she asked.
"Yes, I do," I said.
"Oh, you should come!" she said.
The invite didn't really surprise me -- her heart
is so big and open to everyone. She loves befriending
college students and believes every person "has a treasure
Another reason Yasuko enjoys the company of students
is because many are nearly the same age as her children.
She and her husband have three children. The two met
in Nagasaki, Japan while her husband was serving as
an American marine. They have been married for almost
38 years. She is very involved with Japanese culture
here at USU and often dances in special festivals.
What a beautiful life.
What would we do without people like Yasuko? I suppose
we'd all go on just fine, but something would be missing
in our lives, like a bland plate of vegetables wanting
Yasuko is a daily reminder to me that attitude is
everything and making other people smile is one of the
greatest gifts we can give our communities. In the words
of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, "One person can make a difference
and every person should try."