Frankie Capers, who has served as a cashier at Einstein Bros. Bagels stores on campus for three years, would be turning 57 tomorrow — if tomorrow were Feb. 29.
Even though Capers will have to wait another three years for her official birthday, Unsung Heroes intends to gift her the present of her dreams well in advance.
Unsung Heroes, which recently announced plans to expand to 10 college campuses across the United States by the end of March, set up an online fund through GoFundMe today to finance a trip for Capers and her grandson to visit Disney World.
The trip would be Capers’ first formal vacation in more than 12 years. After a lengthy period of service in the Navy, Capers was forced to leave in order to take care of her mother, who developed Alzheimer’s disease. Her father, too, soon fell ill.
“After I took care of my mom for 12 years, then my dad got sick also. I was flying back from Washington, D.C., to Memphis, Tenn., to North Carolina, to take care of the sick and elderly people. So, that’s what I do, and I’ve never had a vacation,” Capers said. “I’ve never had a vacation in 12 or 13 years.”
Capers’ life fell into a downward spiral. She lost both her parents, fell into debt after being unemployed for a prolonged period of time and separated from her husband. It was her unmovable faith that inspired her to walk on.
“I thought I would commit suicide, when me and my husband separated, but God didn’t see it. And it made me stronger, after that, to see that God was holding me up no matter what,” Capers said.
This belief has provided a constant source of optimism for Capers.
“When I didn’t work for the summer, and didn’t know who was going to pay my bills, or when I took care of my mom for 12 years and I didn’t work for those 12 because she had Alzheimer’s. All the money was gone, and I had no help from nowhere,” Capers said. “I trusted and believed in God, and he’s seen me through, even though I didn’t think I had enough, but what I did have is him stay in me.”
Capers arrived at Georgetown three years ago when her sister, who worked at the university at the time, suggested she look for a job. She has worked at Einstein Bros. Bagels ever since.
“I love the community of Georgetown. It’s a lot of energy with you all. I just love you, every day you make my day,” Capers said. “If it weren’t for you all, I wouldn’t be here, so I just love Georgetown students. You all are my babies, that’s what I call you: my babies, away from home.”
Students who enter the Einstein’s in Car Barn are inevitably greeted by Capers’ warm enthusiasm.
“I tell all of you all when you come in to Einstein’s, ‘Have a great day,’ ‘Good morning,’ just to make your day,” Capers said. “You never know what will make another person’s day. When I see a different face, or frown on their face, I come from ‘round the register and just hug them. And they say, ‘How do you know?’”
Just as Capers looks to motivate students, she is also motivated by them.
“As much as I encourage the students, you all encourage me also to keep my day going,” Capers said. “Just a smile, a smile can just brighten my day up, because standing behind that register every day is not great, sometimes I don’t have a great day, but I do when I just see you all coming in and just smile at me, and I give a smile back.”
Capers’ faith extends beyond the Georgetown community. A minister at New Samaritan Baptist Church, Capers picks up students on Sunday mornings and spends the day’s services with them.
“That touches my heart,” Capers said. “Now, that is the greatest thing of all, to lead somebody to Christ.”
Capers emphasized her belief in a life grounded in faith and a commitment to the good of others.
“I live by integrity. To trust in the Lord, and leave that to thy own understanding, acknowledge him in all thy ways, and He shall direct your path,” Capers said. “As long as God give me the strength to, I keep going, even though my body tired, my feet hurting, but I’m still good with it.”
Capers said she envisions herself owning a funeral home in the future in order to provide families in need with accessible services and spiritual counsel.
“I just love people, and it doesn’t matter about the color of your skin. It’s that we are all people and we are all God’s people, so I would love to own my own business where I can help somebody else,” Capers said. “So if I’m not at Einstein’s, I would love to just own a funeral home, where I can help people in need at all times.”
Despite her ambition, Capers lives life day by day, her faith in God’s word and will unshaken.
“I’m just waiting on another miracle, that’s all, to see what God will do next,” Capers said. “’Cause everything I do I try to do it in faith, in Jesus’s name, not me, I try to walk the right way and do the right things at all times.”