The BOOK IT! Program has spanned 50 states and 34 years, and if you were a BOOK IT! kid you have your fair share of fond memories. But only once in a lifetime do you meet a pair like this.
Kayla Deshotels and Roberta Gennuso work together at APC, a Pizza Hut franchise in Louisiana. But they are more than coworkers. Roberta has been with Pizza Hut for 33 years, more than 27 of those as an RGM. In early August she attended the Pizza Hut Academy PHD Class with Kayla, who has been with Pizza Hut for five years, but they have known each other for much longer.
As a kid, Kayla’s family frequented Roberta’s restaurant where she remembers redeeming her first BOOK IT! Reading Award Certificate.
“Growing up I always saw [Roberta] in there and she was working and everyone loved her. Around town everyone knows who she is,” Kayla shared.
“I remember walking in to Ms. Roberta’s restaurant with my very first BOOK IT! certificate, and I was so excited, you know. Free pizza because I had read this book. Ms. Roberta was walking through the kitchen, and she saw me and asked, ’hey how’s it going? Can I help you?’ So I handed her my little certificate, and she handed me my pizza and I’ll never forget that.”
Kayla and Roberta met up once again after Kayla became a manager at another Pizza Hut restaurant.
“Whenever I went to my first management meeting, they brought all the RGMs together and I recognized her,” Kayla said.
“I didn’t really realize who Kayla was until after she became a manager. Then that’s when we met each other. But through the years she was just one of our regular customers, one of our BOOK IT! readers,” added Roberta.
Because Roberta’s restaurant is located right behind a local school, she has served thousands of students just like Kayla over her years at Pizza Hut.
“I always ask kids what story they read, because my favorite was always Charlotte’s Web,” explained Roberta, with a smile.
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