2014 was the year that Hoyas needed heart. Amidst the cancellation of Tombs Wine Nights, the threat of strict new snow day policies, and the not-so-subtle exile of all Henle Village residents, sometimes life on the Hilltop could only be brightened by a particularly friendly face – or rather, one of three friendly faces. After completing an extensive and comprehensive voting process, The Heckler is proud to announce a three-way tie for our 2014 Person of the Year:
RIPAI, SURU, and UMBERTO
The three most cheerful, caring Leo’s employees
These men, remarkably similar in appearance and lifestyle, showed us day by day that simple acts of kindness and perplexingly chunky sweaters make all the difference in the world. The Heckler interviewed each of them as 2014 came to a close, to review the year and their respective hopes for spring.
As the Healy clock tower chimes 3pm, Ripai settles onto his stool at the GoCard swiper station. It’s
finally the post-lunch lull, and he can reflect on the news that he is part of the trio that won The Heckler’s 2014 Person of the Year.
“I’m honored that the students like me that much,” said Ripai, grinning infectiously. “I love interacting with them, chatting a little when I swipe their cards, making them laugh – that’s why I do the job.”
Later that day, Suru echoed Ripai’s sentiments.
“Again, I’m really honored,” said Suru as the Leo’s staff cleaned up from dinner, sitting in the exact same place as Ripai had hours earlier. “These students, like I said before, mean a lot to me. Sorry – did you forget to take notes or something?”
The three bastions of good service are well-loved on campus, which seems to be a source of both pride and exhaustion for Ripai, Suru, and Umberto. Umberto, the last of the three to be interviewed by The Heckler, seemed particularly uncomfortable with all the attention he receives.
“Why are you asking me this again? What do you want from me?!” asked Umberto while swiping students in for Late Night. “I’m beginning to feel less grateful.”
At least the lionhearted heroes have each other. Though never seen in the same place at the same time, it’s suspected that Ripai, Suru, and Umberto are three peas in a pod. They even wore matching sweaters on the day of the interviews, in a poignant show of solidarity.
“Of course I’m wearing the same sweater as the previous interview – it’s only been a few hours since lunch,” said Suru, brushing off the symbolic gesture.
“Seriously, the sweater again?” yelled Umberto, indicating that several students dining at Late Night had also noticed the coordination. “I only bring one [redacted]ing sweater to work… this isn’t some 90s movie mall montage.”
The three luminaries have another stunning similarity – they’re all caring fathers with daughters the exact same age. Ripai, Suru, and Umberto’s lives seem to revolve around their children, so much so that they all had identical answers when asked about their happiest memory from 2014:
“My daughter graduated from 5th grade. Her class made graduation caps out of newspaper. I was so proud,” said Ripai.
“My daughter graduating 5th grade… you seriously don’t remember this? The newspaper hats?” said Suru.
“My [redacted]ing daughter graduating the [redacted] 5th grade!” said Umberto. “Tell me this, punk, what about you? Can you remember anything at all from 2014, or do you suffer from [redacted]ing short term memory loss?”
However parallel their lives might seem, the triumvirate is not entirely homogenous. These men are unique individuals and The Heckler celebrates them as such –while Ripai possesses a calm and pleasant temperament, Suru is charmingly befuddled and Umberto is downright intimidating. Their outlook for 2015 varied accordingly.
“I am looking forward to 2015, yes. My family and I are going to Disney World this summer if I can save up the vacation days,” said Ripai.
“Are you graduating in December?” asked Umberto. “No? Well then it looks like I’m going to have a hell of a 2015, doesn’t it. Please use the other [redacted]ing swiper next time.”