WELLINGTON, Fla. — A special group of lunch ladies at a Palm Beach County middle school is creating a culture of kindness.
They've become a viral sensation with their videos on social media, which are getting thousands of likes and translating into meaningful relationships with students.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Education
When you walk through a crowded school lunch line, you only see those working behind the counter for a few seconds.
But a group of energetic lunch ladies want to make those seconds count.
"When they come through that line, they say, hey Ms. Barbara! And I say, hey baby, how you doing?" said Barbara Rolle, a food service worker at Wellington Landings Middle School.
Meet the "Lunch Lady Squad."
"We just get to dancing and I get to putting on the music for them," Rolle said. "I go to dance and say, alright, now get it!"
The squad's viral videos on TikTok get the whole school talking.
But they're not just fun and dancing, although that's a big part of it. They're also creating connections.
"I see Ms. Barbara as a best friend," said eighth grade student Brisa Diaz. "So I'm always like, hey best friend. And she's always like, hey baby."
Diaz said that, in the beginning, not everyone was very friendly in the lunch line.
"Students used to be kind of rude to the lunch ladies," Diaz said. "They wouldn't even say please or thank you."
So Wellington Landings Middle School started putting the ladies on the morning announcements, and things started to change.
"I think it gives them more of a voice," said student Jonas Slusher. "Sort of connects them with students more."
"I said, hey guys, you know what? Why don't we do a TikTok and see how the students like that," said Cori Kerezman, the cafeteria manager at the school. "So we did our first one and they went insane."
Kerezman led the charge, creating dozens of TikTok videos to entertain and engage the students.
"They ask all the time, when are you doing another one?" Kerezman said. "It really has brought us closer to the students, for sure."
And closer to each other in what can sometimes be a thankless job.
"I love them," Kerezman said. "You're going to make me cry. They're my family."
"It makes me feel like they are one of us," student Rebecca Vital said. "They like the same things as us. They like making videos."
"It just shows me how TikTok changed so much," Diaz said.
Now lunch time is about more than just the food on the tray.
"They just fell in love with me and I fell in love with them, too," Rolle said. "We just bonded and I just love them. God knows I love them and I love serving the kids."
So even if you're having a bad day — which can happen in middle school — you know there's at least one place on campus serving up a smile.
"They're the reason I come to school a lot," Vital said. "They always brighten my mood in the morning, the afternoon. I love seeing them."
Administrators at Wellington Landings Middle School said that in the beginning of the school year, about 700 to 800 students were buying lunch. Now it's around 1,100, which is almost the entire student body.
To follow the "Lunch Lady Squad" on TikTok, click here.
Meet the "Lunch Lady Squad" by watching this video: