Some may know him as the snack bar attendant. Others may know him as the man dishing out food at the far meal station in the cafeteria. However, nearly anyone who has had an interaction with him and seen him do his job knows that Mickey Heise is one of the nicest people on the Collegiate campus. Whether it is through his devotion to preparing and delivering food to students and faculty, or his amiable conversation while he does it, one can truly see Mickey’s authentic compassion on display.
Mickey was born in Baltimore, Maryland, but moved to Richmond, Virginia in 1983 when, “Short Pump was still farmland and not so built up.” Mickey grew up in Richmond and found that baseball was his favorite thing to do. As a kid, he played for Tuckahoe Little League and traveled to Florida twice, nearly making it to the Little League World Series. In high school, Mickey played at Mills Godwin High School. Aside from baseball, Mickey also did karate, as he is a third-degree black belt, an extremely prestigious honor.
Mickey’s first job was at Olive Garden, where he was hired as a busboy. Mickey states, “It just kind of grew from there–from a busboy all the way to a general manager at Topeka’s.” Mickey then worked at Topeka’s for twelve years, primarily as the general manager. Mickey came to Collegiate seven years ago, after his superior at Topeka’s introduced him and his friend Carl Williams to Collegiate’s dining service at the time, Marquis Services. Williams came before Mickey and is currently serving as the head chef for Aladdin Food Services at Collegiate, in his twelfth year on the staff. Due to his loyalty at Topeka’s, Mickey worked full time at Topeka’s for a few years until its closing before joining the Collegiate staff full time.
When asked what it is like working at Collegiate, Mickey responded with, “I honestly love this place. There’s a bunch of different reasons why– a lot of it is because of you guys. You guys are probably the best kids I’ve ever been around, and I have been to a whole lot of different schools and done a whole lot of different catering events… Your manners are impeccable, and the way you treat others is amazing… It doesn’t matter if you sweep floors or take out the trash here, or if you cook, or if you teach, or if you are the principal of this school, all of the kids seem to treat everybody the same, and I think that is what separates this school from others.”
He then graciously continued, “It gives you that family feel–we look out for you guys, just as much as you care about us… And it’s not just the kids, but I can say that about the maintenance guys all the way down to the teachers and fellow cafeteria workers that I work with.”
When asked about his job in particular, he stated, “I love this job, and it shows… I hope it does. I’ve never been this happy with a job ever. Liking your job is very important. After school, when you get a job you can feel like you are just skating or keep floating by, but if you find something you like, every day you go into work it’s not that chore or that skating by, it’s a new day… I wonder what the students are doing today or how they did in their game last night. I legitimately root for you guys, no matter what.”
Outside of working at Collegiate, Mickey currently also works with Three Amigos and helps out with his friend’s wedding catering service. Aside from working, Mickey has an adoration for the outdoors. He owns twenty-one acres in Cumberland County and spends nearly every weekend tending to his land and refurbishing his one-hundred year old cabin on the property. His main goal at this time is preparing the estate as much as possible, so that ultimately he will be able to retire there and enjoy it to the fullest. His good friend Chef Williams owns over fifty acres right behind him, as Mickey’s property overlooks Williams’ nine-acre lake dividing the two properties. Mickey loves to fish, and spends much of his free time fishing around the area. Also, Mickey loves to target shoot and “would love to get into competitive shooting one day.” You can also find several Transformers collectibles at Mickey’s house, along with his 1968 Ford Mustang.
Not only are Mickey’s drive and dedication to his work extremely admirable, one can also note the fact that Mickey spent over fifteen years working two jobs to attain his goal of purchasing land. The summer after he purchased it, Mickey worked up to ten jobs at some points in order to pay it off. However, Mickey did it all with genuine compassion and authenticity, leading him to be known as one of the kindest people on the Collegiate campus. Next time you see Mickey, take note of his work ethic and benevolent personality, and possibly give him a “Thanks a lot” for what he does and how he goes about doing it, as he certainly loves the life he lives, and lives the life he loves.