The man behind the broom

By Briana Provost

There are certain people that you can’t overlook who don’t let a person slide by without a hello and goodbye. Without even knowing it many of those people single-handedly make another person’s day. Almost everywhere you go, you find at least one example of a person who knows how to brighten everyone’s day. However, sometimes these people don’t get the recognition that they deserve. Often students here at this university take for granted the people who keep our buildings clean.

Carlos, a employee in Easton Hall, is a favorite among students. Photo by Briana Provost.

For a select number of students that person is Ralph Hamme, more commonly known as Carlos, a custodian at Easton Hall. This D.C. native is always quick to give his students a welcoming smile and a relaxed “What’s up? How’s it going?”

The president of the Easton Hall Council Brian Hodlin, a sophomore criminology and criminal justice major, also lives on the fourth floor of Easton and was quick to praise Carlos.

“He’s personable and connects with students,” Hodlin said.

Almost every freshman at every school gets the inside scoop from older students. Those freshmen who are lucky enough to live on Easton floors three and four even get a heads up about Carlos. Those who move into the floors Carlos cleans always hear about how cool their custodian is, and are told to make sure you say hi and introduce yourself to him.

This custodian certainly doesn’t hide his love of sports. He is always ready to discuss how the Lakers and the Ravens are doing. Carlos has formed a lot of relationships with the students on the floor because of his love of sports. One student who shares his love for the Lakers is Rehan Kapoor. Kapoor, a sophomore chemistry major, has known Carlos for two years.

“You can talk to him about anything like literally anything like to do with sports, college life, studies,” Kapoor. ”He is always there and he is always listening … and he’s the type of person that you really like to talk to.”

Seeing and talking to Carlos has become a daily routine for many of the students on Easton’s third and fourth floors.

“The day doesn’t go right for either of us if one doesn’t talk to the other,” Kapoor said.

Carlos has worked as a part of the university cleaning staff for the past six years. Although the summer hours are rough the best part of his job are the students, which he talks to day in and day out.

“The students are the best part of my job … all of you kids really make my day go by faster,” he said. “I love the students here y’all are all very friendly.”

Before coming over to Easton, Carlos worked for Dining Services but the benefits of working in the dorms brought him over to North Campus housing.

Carlos and his relationship with the students that he meets in Easton teaches us all a very important lesson: Always be grateful to the people whose little acts of kindness and polite conversation make your day. Never be afraid to strike up a conversation with a man behind a broom, because they might just be the easiest person to talk to. So next time you see someone cleaning your bathroom be sure to give them a hello and a thank you because, who knows, they might be the coolest person on your floor.


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