By Hazel Davis, Contributor
As a second semester senior, I’m starting to look towards the future with a certain amount of dread and anticipation. I am also looking back on how far I’ve come. There have been so many days full of laughter, plenty of nights spent too long in the library, and of course, three years full of incredible people during my time here at Furman.
One of those people, Mr. Rick, holds a special place in my heart. For some of the younger students, you may not remember Mr. Rick, but he is as much a part of the Furman family as anyone else on campus. He may have just been a DH greeter, but he truly made you feel as if he cared about your day. I can remember walking up the steps and passing him as he talked to another student, only to hear him call out, “Have a good day sweetie!” and continue his conversation without missing a beat. Mr. Rick was the kind of person you knew cared with all his heart about Furman, and would have given anything to help the students.
In the summer of my sophomore year, we learned that Mr. Rick had been terminated by Aramark. That decision, made during the summer when only a fraction of students were on campus, sparked outrage throughout the Furman community. Anger that Mr. Rick had been terminated because of health reasons was fueled by suggestions that Aramark has a history of complaints from many universities regarding their treatment of employees. A petition was made to “Bring Back Mr. Rick,” with the initial goal of getting a mere 294 signatures, 10 percent of the enrolled student body. We could not allow Aramark to fire part of the Furman family. By the end of the summer, the petition had reached 1889 signatures and Mr. Rick was brought back to work. It was a huge victory for students, and to this day when I talk to prospective students, I talk about how we started a petition to bring back a dining hall worker that was signed by more than half of the student body. That doesn’t just happen anywhere, and it’s a testament to Mr. Rick’s dedication and loyalty to our students that it was able to reach that level of popularity.
However, recently I was shocked to learn that Mr. Rick, after all that we went through before, has been let go by the new Dining Hall management. While it’s difficult to pin down the exact reason why he was terminated, it breaks my heart to know that after fighting so hard to bring him back to Furman under Aramark, during my last semester of Furman he is gone again. I hope that we can take the time to remember Mr. Rick for all that he has done for us, and his years of true dedication and service to the entire Furman community. I truly believe all he ever wanted was to let each of us know there was always someone looking out for us. I hope we never forget that.