Forty-four years ago, Helen Hiatt came to the Huddle for a job interview. “I thought I would be there for an hour or so, but the manager at that time, Mr. Farrell, asked me if I could start that day,” says Hiatt. She’s been at the Huddle ever since.
Hiatt, who is legally blind, will celebrate her 90th birthday next June. She works the lunch crowd from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday—she doesn’t work football weekends. Her job is to make sure the dining area is stocked with straws, utensils and napkins.
“When I started in 1967, my first job was working at the cigarette counter, where we sold cigarettes, fruit and gum. I worked there for many years until Notre Dame stopped selling cigarettes. Then they moved me to another cash register,” says Hiatt. “The football players would stop in after practice and come to me with their problems. Both Joe Theismann and Joe Montana called me their second mother, and from there I became known as “Mother of the Huddle”.
Now, she says, some of the professors’ children call her “Grandmother of the Huddle.”
When asked what has changed in forty-four years, Hiatt replied, “everything.” Her favorite part of the job is the people. “Everyone is so good to me, and my manager, Jim (LaBella), is the best!” says Hiatt.