The man behind the counter: Robb Mackay Jr. and his life at Westmont

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Meredith Araujo

Robb Mackay Jr., Barista at Westmont College

Lexi McWilliams , Features Editor

Whether you sit with friends and enjoy a warm dinner in the Dining Commons (DC), or grab a quick coffee on the go from Ritchie’s Place, there’s a certain kind of comfort only these places can provide. For many students, that comfort comes from the workers behind the counter, such as well-known Ritchie’s barista Robb Mackay Jr. Robb was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California, and has been working at Westmont for seven years. Mackay has been working with Bon Appétit since they recently became the primary Westmont caterer. 

When asked what working in the Westmont community is like, Mackay responded, “The students here are the most amazing, hardworking, inspiring, appreciative and deserving students that I’ve had a chance to support and be around. Since the first day I got to Westmont everyone has treated me like family and [students] definitely deserve all the supporting spirit, effort and hard work I can bring to them and the Westmont campus.” 

Mackay particularly enjoys the personal connection he feels with students when working in a slower pace environment like Ritchie’s. Mackay believes the beauty of the DC and Ritchie’s are their unique abilities to support students. He says, “The DC supports the student’s by providing the nutrition they need to thrive here at Westmont, it also provides a place to eat and interact with fellow peers. [Ritchie’s is] a place where the students find a quiet, comfortable place where they can sit and study.” 

Before employment at Westmont, Mackay was a caregiver at various retirement homes in Santa Barbara. After losing both his parents to cancer, Mackay said, “God and I decided my next path in life would be serving the student’s and faculty here at Westmont.” 

Robb Mackay Jr., Barista at Westmont College

Once he began working at Westmont, Mackay understood why God was calling him here. Mackay states, “Losing both of your parents at an early age can leave a big void to fill, and maybe one of the biggest tests and challenges we face in our lives. But from having such a close relationship with everyone on campus … all the faculty, teacher’s, professors, facilities workers and students have made my experience here at Westmont one of the most rewarding experiences in my lifetime.”

Addie Smith, executive assistant to President Gayle Beebe, described Mackay by saying, “Service in the way Robb gives it is a rare and precious gift. It’s more than coffee. It’s the ministry of making someone know they are valuable. They are cared for.”

Mackay believes the best part about working at Westmont is that “it feels like I’m more so serving my family. It has uplifted my spirit that much more and gave me a reason to smile at a time where most people after losing both parents can’t find the spirit or reason to smile.”

 

 

 

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