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Server of the Week: The 'ray of sunshine' at Refuge Café

Sami Norwil was nominated as this week’s ‘Server of the Week’ by her boss John Strawn, general manager of the Refuge.

PHOENIX — The smile and warm welcome from the moment you walk through the front doors of Refuge Café to the moment you leave are second to none.

It's all thanks to Sami Norwil.

She makes you feel like you are the most important person in the world and can turn your day around with one contagious giggle.

Norwil was nominated as this week’s ‘Server of the Week’ by her boss John Strawn, general manager of the Refuge.

“She's a ray of sunshine, you know she has such positive energy," he said. "The customers, the regulars, even new people. I think we get new customers because of her, because of the joy and life that she brings into the place.”

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Norwil started working at the Refuge six months ago after transitioning from a career in behavioral health. 

“It was definitely hard, really hard," she said. "I just needed something more relaxed. Somewhere I could still interact with people but it's coffee you know? It's not that serious, it's just fun and sweet."

While highlighting the positive aspects of the restaurant, Carlos Aguirre, General Manager at Ken Garff Kia walked in and surprised Norwil with a $2,000 oversized check.

“On behalf of Ken Garf Kia in the valley, we started what we're calling the Server of the Week," Aguirre said. "We wanted to thank you for serving the community. You do a great job and we left you a little tip here. Here's $2000 dollars.”

Norwil's reaction was priceless. She jumped up down, squealed with excitement, and accepted hugs from all her regulars amid the applause that broke out.

She plans to use the money to further a backyard renovation she and her husband started so she can provide her neighbors a place to gather for their weekly bible study.

If you know a server who has overcome a challenge, shown an outstanding amount of integrity and grit, or has just been an awesome human. Submit their name and information here:


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