By Rachel Blevins
April Ramirez spends most of her days making endless batches of coffee and interacting with students. As the Sam’s Place cashier in the basement of the College of Media & Communication, she is used to the humdrum of her job.
But on Friday, when the building was evacuated after a bomb threat, Ramirez rose to a brand new challenge.
Texas Tech police responded to a report of a bomb threat in the college at about 11:45 a.m. Friday. As soon as Ramirez heard the fire alarm go off and saw officers with assault rifles running through the halls, she went into action to close down the Sam’s Place store and help students out of the building.
“My students, my coworker, everybody that I see coming in and out of the store every day, were what was on my mind,” Ramirez said. “So running through the halls, I see students and I see officers with rifles, and I mean, nobody knows if this is a real situation or not, but in my mind, I’m like ‘Okay, I need to get safe. I need to make sure whoever is in my area is safe.’”
Although the threat was deemed to be unfounded, Ramirez said the experience was an eye-opener. She is thankful for her faith in the midst of what could have been a serious crisis.
“I say a prayer over the whole building and the people,” Ramirez said. “You never know what can happen. I’m not scared. I’ve always thought about what could happen, but that day I was moving faster than I was thinking.”
Todd Chambers, the associate dean for undergraduate affairs in the college, said Ramirez is a great influence on the students on a daily basis.
“April has really become part of the COMC family,” Chambers said. “She’s been working at the Sam’s Place for a while now, and I really enjoy watching how she interacts with our students. She’s helping students with all types of different things – from giving directions to a nice, warm smile that seems to brighten everyone’s day.”
Dalton Dellsperger, a junior media strategies major and one of Ramirez’s coworkers at Sam’s Place, said he is impressed with the respect Ramirez shows to both students and faculty.
“She’s definitely very friendly to the students,” Dellsperger said. “I have had coworkers in the past who don’t seem to really care about the students, but she seems to know everyone’s name that works in this building, and she addresses everyone by their name, and I think that gives students a sense of respect that they don’t always get.”
A mother of five children and grandmother of three, Ramirez said she tries to look out for the students and hopes to be there when they need to see a smiling face.
“Being there for them means a lot to me because I know that I can help them when they don’t have their parents,” Ramirez said. “To stand there and to listen to a story or what [they’re] frustrated about today—people need to let that out. They can’t just go home and say, ‘Mom, I had the worst day.’”
Ramirez said she knows the students she sees in the college every day are working to make a difference and better their own lives, and she hopes to be an encouraging influence.
“That’s why I see them and I see my kids,” Ramirez said. “That’s why I treat them the way that I do. That’s why I say a prayer. Because if it wasn’t for them doing what they’re doing and going out into the world and trying to make their lives better and their world better, what do we have?”