Maria Marrero, Delivery person, Panera Bread, 809 Nicollet Mall
Every day, Maria Marrero hits the pavement - or the skyway carpet, when the weather's bad - delivering loads of lunches to Downtown's hungry workers.
Although Marrero is the main delivery person for Panera Bread, two other employees set out with carts of boxed lunches as she rolled her empty baker's rack back into the 809 Nicollet Mall restaurant. Target Corp. - a regular customer - had a really big order that required backup.
Five minutes later, Marrero was back with a smaller cart bearing two large bags - one headed for the Wells Fargo Building, the other for the IDS Center - a much smaller load than the 400 sandwiches she had dropped off previously.
Be it four or 400, Marrero likes her job. It gets her outside during the madness of the lunch rush. She doesn't even mind the recent humidity.
She'll walk as far as North 1st or Grant streets, she said, "all of Downtown."
(Those across the river or farther flung can get orders delivered via courier.)
Marrero's day starts at 5 a.m., and she's in to work by 6:45 to help assemble the day's orders as the fresh bread is baking. Orders include sandwiches, big bowls of salad, chips, cookies and brownies, and coffee and pastries in the morning. She goes home to South Minneapolis at 3 p.m.
Marrero, a Mexico City native, has lived in Minneapolis for 10 years. She started the job when Panera opened five months ago.
The job has its hazards, she said, such as the occasional sandwich swiper and uneven sidewalks (she dumped a load once, and the order had to be refilled). However, she's learned to steady her baker's rack - which is taller than she is - with her foot.
"Now I've got the experience," Marrero said as she deftly rolled the smaller cart across South 7th Street.