Paula Renteria has been making burritos and serving scrambled eggs and hash browns for more than two decades at the Los Angeles Times' Orange County plant cafeteria in Costa Mesa. But on Friday the cafeteria will close, and she's going to bid farewell to the many reporters, editors, pressmen and advertising folks who have relied on her for meals between deadlines.
Since 1988, Renteria has been an anchor behind the counter, patiently taking orders, smiling and never visibly in a bad mood — even in the presence of the hurried employees who work for the Los Angeles Times, Daily Pilot and related publications.
Renteria is a Mexican immigrant who grew up in a small ranching community north of Guadalajara. Now she's moving on, becoming another example of the newspaper industry's struggles that trickle down and affect just about everybody who stands in the path of the ever-changing Internet.
But as newspapers change and adapt to an online environment, Renteria will be adjusting as well. She has taken a new part-time job at a hospital cafeteria in Yorba Linda.