Everyday you see her radiant smile lighting up the room, her warm loving eyes, always wishing us the best with her classic “god bless you mija!” Can you guess who she is? If you haven’t already, I’m referring to our one and only lovely lady Lucy. With a personality that exudes positivity, Lucy consistently brightens up our days. In doing so, she has become an icon here at the University of Redlands.
Lucy Gomez was born in the foggy yet culturally vibrant Daly City of South San Francisco. Lucy spent her youth moving between San Francisco and Guadalajara, Mexico. She is of Italian and Portuguese descent but identifies as Mexican. When she turned four years old she moved back to Mexico and spent the next seven years studying at a private Catholic school. After primary school Lucy moved back to her hometown in San Francisco and studied at a public school.
“It was very difficult to assimilate, because I was a teenager you know? I left my friends in Frisco in high school, I wanted to have my graduation, my prom, but I didn’t get to,” Lucy reminisced.
Before Lucy could graduate and get her fairytale prom, she once again moved back to Mexico at the age of 17. At that time, before finishing her high school education, Lucy began working as a school teacher for the Catholic primary school she previously attended.
“Monday through friday I was teaching, in a catholic school, dressed like a nun. But I was not a nun okay… when Lucy got off from work, Lucy would be out on the town with the boys,” Lucy recalls in a humorous third person.
After a long day of teaching, Lucy would galavant through the streets, turning the heads of all the local boys, with her long flowing black curly hair, her artfully made up face, and her eye catching red lips.
After seven years of teaching, she moved back to where her soul belonged, San Francisco, at the age of 23. However, a new job opportunity for her father led her family down to the San Bernardino County area, where she has remained ever since.
Lucy continued her passion for teaching children and began working with special needs students as well as teaching bible studies to children in Fontana. Since beginning her work with Bon Appetit at the University of Redlands, she has become a beacon of positivity and happiness for the students, while simultaneously finding inspiration through each of us.
“Thanks to you guys, I have the ambition and the desire to go back to school one day. I have a lot of wishes to accomplish and they will become reality when I work on them.”
Although you’d never know it, the delight and jubilation she brings to our daily lives today contrasts starkly with an upbringing that many of us could scarcely imagine.
“Unfortunately, I had to live a very adult life because I come from a family of domestic violence,” Lucy shared. “Being the oldest I put myself [in] the character of a father figure, because my father was very violent. Since I was 15 in Frisco, I saw the way my father was handling my mom and my siblings and since I was young, I told my dad, if you want to hit this woman, if you want continue being violent, you get violent with Lucy, not with them.”
At such a young age, Lucy took on a responsibility no child should have to, using her own body to absorb the anger and violence of her own father. Because of this she made sure not only to become an adult and a parent to her four younger siblings, but also their ultimate protector.
“So being 15 years old, imagine, putting a stop to that physical abuse or that emotional abuse, it’s not easy, so since I was very young, I was 15, I got to see the reality of a bad marriage,” Lucy explained. “You understand? And the reality was that I was with a monster at home. That being said, I had to learn how to defend my mom like a tiger from my father’s treatment, my father’s ice cold rejection towards my mom.”
Living a childhood and young adult life, immersed in violence and abuse, Lucy has become very cautious in regards to her heart.
“So that’s why Lucy decided to be alone. Lucy doesn’t want a man who will harm her. Lucy doesn’t want a man who will belittle her. Lucy wants a man that will treasure her like gold. If I don’t find that man, I don’t want it,” Lucy revealed. “I do not want a relationship that will destroy my soul like my dad destroyed my mom’s soul. I am very cautious regarding relationships, I am very cautious regarding who I give my heart to.”
It takes the strength of a lion to recognize that not only do we deserve more than what life has handed us, but that we have a right to be be treated with love and respect, a right to be treasured like gold. Despite what life has handed her, Lucy has found that strength, a strength to which I can only aspire.
Our lovely lady Lucy Gomez is not only a woman of strength, but a woman of power and inspiration. She brings to light the importance of treating one another with kindness and remembering how our words and actions deeply affect those around us. So let us learn from Lucy, and and challenge ourselves to treasure the souls of those around us and to not only give but also to demand respect, in and outside of our beloved Irvine Commons.
“All I am asking you students is that you be cautious of what you all say, don’t intentionally hurt people, because the soul of a human being is very important, and it is something to treasure, and that’s all I have to say!”