She melts away your traffic troubles with her bright smile, keeps campus safe, and watches over “her girls” as they dart back and forth across the lane and parking lot; Campus Guard Beatriz Rodriguez gifts Visitation with more than just security.
We popped into the Guard House for Q&A with Beatriz - and here's what we learned:
God’s Hand at Work
Eleven years ago, Beatriz was walking by Visitation, admiring the campus and gardens. She jotted down the name of the school, went home, and looked it up online. She saw an opening for a security guard and applied. “I think God was at work. I’m the first woman security guard here!” beamed Beatriz.
A native of Bolivia, Beatriz grew up in Argentina, where she studied psychology and worked as a private nurse for many years. She moved to the DC-area with her son, who attended George Mason. Of the transition, she recalls, “It was hard coming to America, not knowing the language. I worked very hard. But I’m happy here. People here are very friendly.”
The Visitation Family
When she arrived at Visitation, Sr. Philomena and Sr. de Sales watched over and helped her. “The Sisters are always honest, humble, and sweet,” she said. In turn, Beatriz took care to look after them as well. Each day, Sr. de Sales would take two one-hour walks around the campus, once in the morning, once in the afternoon. On one particularly hot day, Beatriz encouraged her to take water with her, but Sister declined. After an hour, Beatriz sent someone after her to ensure she was alright and hadn’t become tired, dehydrated, or overheated. Thankfully, Sister was fine - just enjoying a long stroll!
Beatriz and Sister Philomena share a love of dogs and Sister would often take care of Beatriz’s puppy - “her baby” - when he joined her on campus.
“The Sisters, the teachers, the parents, and, of course, the girls: this is my family here. Family is who you love, not just who you are related to. Everyone here is very nice and very gentle. I love the people, particularly my girls,” shared Beatriz. She has countless examples of the girls’ thoughtfulness and caring; when one of the students learned that Beatriz was working here by herself this Thanksgiving, she made a point of driving to school that day just to bring her chocolates.
Visitation Late Night
While Beatriz often works the day shift, occasionally she works overnight - 11:30 p.m. - 7:30 a.m. While she is comfortable and confident handling this shift, she has had a few scares along the way.
One night she went to check the doors of Founder’s Hall at 2 a.m. As she crossed the lane from the guard house and stepped into Founder’s Hall, she saw someone slip in behind her. Terrified, Beatriz turned around, only to discover it was only the reflection of the life-size cutout of Pope Francis that was standing in the Front Hall!
Living the Little Virtues
As anyone who has ever driven on campus can attest, Beatriz embodies cheerful optimism. She likes to live each day as if it were her last: “Every day is a gift and I enjoy the day. I like being happy and being around happy people. I am very positive.”