TCT’s The Countless Thanks: Day 13 – Katianna Mansfield

Over the 15 school days leading up to Thanksgiving, each member of The Central Trend’s staff will release a list of 5-15 people who inspire, motivate, or brighten our days. Today- Day 13- features Kati Mansfield and her list of people who constantly enhance her day.

Katianna Mansfield

More stories from Katianna Mansfield

I am okay now
February 16, 2018

My IHOP Family

  1. Walid – Walid, dear, I appreciate your entire soul. We don’t know each other very well because of how busy you are with all three of the stores and the new one being built, but it is always amazing to walk in the door for work and see you sitting there with your phone in your hands doing work constantly. You don’t like hugs, so kind, firm handshakes and a, “How are you doing, Kati?” are what I associate you with. Your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed; it is always nice to hear that the big boss is coming by for a visit. I love you lots, Walid.
  2. Tyler – There’s something so comforting in knowing occasional days when I come in for work, you’ll be there with a “Hi, Kati” and a welcoming hug that I’ve made you grow accustomed to. You’re a busy man, so you’re not around all the time, but I’ve realized how much you do for us. I don’t ask you for anything anymore– you have two whole stores of employees just reaching for you and grabbing what they can get and not realizing that all the taking takes a toll. You take care of everyone, but who watches out for you? The amount of hours you work– I can’t fathom how you’re living a life too. We’ve had our arguments, but that’s just me not looking outside myself to know what you need. You have bad days; you have good days, and I appreciate you no matter which of them today is. I love you, Ty. I’ll always be your four-star server, five-star hobbit.
  3. Kate and Michele – You’re beautiful, loves. I put you two together because you are the dynamic duo. I see you as a unit now. I am so thankful to have you both around the store a couple times a week. You bring a lightness and professionalism to the atmosphere that isn’t always there. Thank you for being hardworking and sweet no matter what day it is. I love you both!
  4. Keohn – K, my boy, you don’t even understand. I love your heart. You’re one of the most real men I’ve ever met in my life. Despite giving and giving and giving, you are still so unappreciated. But man, do I cherish everything you do for the restaurant, for me, and for everyone around you. You make me smile every time I see you with your male model smirk and pick-me-up-and-spin-me-around hugs. We’re quite the duo, darling. We got the restaurant on lock. I love you, boy.
  5. Montgomery – Monty, baby, you’ve only been around a few months now, but you’re family. I’m going to miss you once Fruitport opens. You’re such a genuine person. I know that when I go in on a day that life has been rough, there will be someone there who is happy to see me, and that person is almost always you. I appreciate you very much and will love you from afar; thank you for everything you do for IHOP.
  6. Steve – I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to thank you for quite a while now. You’re a man who is hard to talk to about feelings; we have such a sarcastic and banter-y dialogue that it’s hard to tell what is meant. I tell you I appreciate you, and I don’t know if you believe it. But I can say with complete honesty that you are one of the only constants in my life. I know when you’re going to be there (maybe a little bit late, but regardless), and I know that you’ll back me up no matter what. You respect me, you treat me well, and you trust me to do my job. That’s more than I could ever ask of a manager, and you go above and beyond to prove it to me every day. Thank you.
  7. Jaki – Hi, sunshine. While you are the most cynical woman I know with the mind of an analytic, I call you sunshine because you bring the light in with you every time you walk in the door. I don’t say that because you bring the end of my shift; we both know when you walk in it doesn’t mean that I get to leave. But when you’re there, I don’t mind that. A long, harsh night becomes a good one when I see you. You make me smile even on my worst days. You’re the only one allowed to call me by my full name. Your use of, “Thank you, Katianna,” with furrowed brows and a stern look has given it a new meaning when you’re in the picture. I feel appreciated when you are around. I think it’s time you know you’re appreciated too.


You changed my entire life, sir. I came in for an application in my pajamas, and you looked at me and asked if I had time to talk right then. We sat down, and you asked me what my favorite color was, what I liked to do in my free time, what my favorite class was. I thought it was a test– you really do have a sarcastic-looking face, and I had no idea what to expect in a real interview, but you were just listening. You told me that I had already gotten the job, that you just wanted to talk to me, and you asked if I could start that Wednesday. Now, looking back, I realize that hiring people on the spot is something we do occasionally, and it’s not a big deal, but it meant the world to me. For the first time, someone believed in me and my ability to work hard. You watched over me for quite a while; you were and always will be my favorite. But as everything eventually ends, you left IHOP after managing your life away and gave yourself a chance to be happy. I am so proud of you, but I miss you every single day. Thank you for everything you did for me, Tim, I love you.


Oh Mama, I don’t get the chance to mention you much, but the time is right. We don’t see or talk to each other a lot, but my heart is yours. You’ve given me hope in this world for love that isn’t biological. You love me as one of your own. I am your kid in your eyes. I was used to temporary people in my life; I didn’t want to accept you because I was afraid of losing someone else. But you are stubborn, and you persisted. You have wrapped yourself around my heart and secured your place with heartstrings tied around my ribs like stakes, and I will never be able to lose you. Your love makes it easier to breathe. Thank you for changing my outlook on people and what they are capable of; I love you more than you’ll ever know.

Susan Tolbert

You taught me so much in this world. As a teacher, some find it hard to believe that they had an impact on their students. I have to tell you that you certainly did. I can’t speak for others, I only know the true thoughts of myself, but with how deeply you affected me, I just know there are more kids who feel the same. Your smile and calm voice welcomed me into your room every day of my seventh grade year, one of the hardest points of my life. You never made me feel inferior. I was always on the same level as you, and you talked to me as such. I still have every little project we did in class with your colored felt pen grading and comments; I refuse to get rid of them. They remind me of the woman who taught me that life is to be explored, and knowledge is to be obtained through experience. Thank you for showing me that I need to bring myself to the world, the world cannot bring itself to me.


I hadn’t realized that I have almost known you for a year. That is the craziest thing to me. I have seen you as you’ve traveled to Grand Rapids and back to Indiana since you started coming here, and I’ve seen you grow more comfortable with the open world around you. You make my day every time you come in, and you’ve become someone who watches out for me like not many else can. Your occasional messages of encouragement and support give me something to hold onto sometimes, knowing there’s someone out there who is rooting for me no matter what. Love you always, Sweet Cowboy!


You are such a kind man, Skip. I have such good memories with Dad and Rissa of seeing you every once in awhile. Every time we would come out to the Sprint store, you’d let us play with the phones and unlock your Mike and Ike’s machine so that we weren’t bored. We always talked about going to a baseball game all together one of these days, and I’d still love to take you up on that! You know, now that I’m older and capable of watching a baseball game. Coming down to The Hall to see you, visiting you on Halloween in our wacky costumes, staying at your house and watching horror movies with Dad on the couch– every memory with you is a prominent one. Especially now, seeing how happy you are with your new bar and seeing how successful it is, I’m so proud of you. Rissa, Dad, and I love you very much. We’re thankful for you every day.

Melanie Hogetwerp

As a therapist, you do a lot of helping others. Talking to people, listening to their problems all day every day, I never understand how you do it. You’ve given me so much to think about and so much to understand since I met you my sophomore year. I can’t imagine how many others you’ve done that for. I don’t see you that often; we’re working on that to build my strength back up, but you have given me every reason to believe that I can talk to you about anything. Every appointment we have, you’re just as sweet as the last, and I’m never worried that you’re bored or my problems are a bother to you. I can just talk and talk and talk to you, and that’s not something I’m used to. I don’t feel comfortable everywhere, but your office is as comfortable as it gets. I love and appreciate you. Thank you for looking after me for so long.

Officer Svoboda

Sir, I appreciate you. You do a lot for our school, and not everybody knows how hard your job is. As the holidays come, I wish you a beautiful time with your family when you’re off the clock. You saved my life. Thank you for everything you do.

The Divorce Care for Kids staff

It has been a long time. You all have had such a grand impact on so many kids, I’m sure you don’t remember me and my little sister, Karissa, but you all changed our lives. During a difficult time when our parents were going through their divorce, and we were dealing with everything that comes with that, we had a safe space to talk about it. I was very young; a lot of the thoughts that many other kids had about their parents’ divorces had never formulated in my mind. Your kind staff negated any childhood worries that hadn’t even had time to form yet. You brought child’s play to the learning of important morals and mindsets like the difference between a want and a need and how to bring love to your family during a rough time. I’ve kept every workbook from every session I attended. I still have the stuffed animal I got from doing work around the classroom. I have great memories of spending time with my sister and my mom at dinner before class. You are all doing such great things. Thank you for impacting me the way you have; I love and appreciate all of you for everything you do.


Angie, you have given me so much in this life of mine. I’ve never met somebody as selfless as you– a woman willing to give everything for complete strangers on a daily basis. You are the greatest anomaly. My world and my future became infinitely brighter the moment you came into my life. I appreciate every single thing you’ve done for me over the years, and my heart is full knowing you’re always just a short drive away if I want to see you. Your house was the first location I picked when I decided to do my senior picture; it’s the first place I found a true home in. It has been an absolute pleasure of mine to watch your kids grow up, you and Dave’s relationship flourish, and to see how great of a grandmother you are. I love you so much, Angie. You’ll always be my safe haven.