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Chauncey’s Champion Someone making a difference.

I Spy: John Carpenter’s positive drive steers CCU

by Alexandra Morris Bookmark and Share
CCU shuttle driver John Carpenter is this month's I Spy nominee.
CCU shuttle driver John Carpenter is this month's I Spy nominee.

As the thought of food and celebration led the alumni staff of Financial Aid and Scholarships to the Adkins Field House, a slight rain began outside. It was April 15, the day of the alumni luncheon. For financial aid counselor Samantha Kite and fellow staffers, the trek from Kingston Hall all the way to Brooks Stadium was going to be less than pleasant.

“There were about nine or 10 of us, the weather was bad and parking was scarce, too,” says Kite.

The moment was saved by driver John Carpenter, who was waiting in his shuttle across the street. He offered the soon-to-be-soaked CCU staff members a ride across campus.

“I don’t think he was supposed to do that,” says Kite. “That’s what stood out to me and the rest of us.” Kite proudly nominated Carpenter for “I Spy” after his good deed. “I Spy” is an employee recognition program of the Office of Human Resources whereby staff and faculty nominate someone for extraordinary service.

Kite describes Carpenter as pleasant and positive, which isn’t much of a surprise because he takes customer service very seriously.

“Customer service is important,” says Carpenter. “If we don’t take care about our customers, they won’t care about us.”

Carpenter has been a part of the CCU family for about a year. Originally from Rahway, N.J., he worked for Friendly’s Ice Cream in Wilbraham, Mass., for 19 years. He eventually left there to pursue other interests in the retail field while working toward a master’s degree in behavioral science, which he completed in 1989 from Kean University in New Jersey. He taught at several community colleges, and by 2002, he and his wife, Marie, decided to make the move to Murrells Inlet.

“I taught at St. Michael’s Catholic School in Garden City when I came down here,” says Carpenter. “While I was teaching, I was also driver at Sunway Charters, and that’s how my coworker Larry Crowe and I met.”

That was 10 years ago. Now, Crowe is the bus coordinator and a supervisor in the University’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

“There was a job opening here at Coastal last year, and I thought of John,” says Crowe. “He is willing to do everything he is asked and never has complaints. He is someone who always turns a negative into a positive.”

In his spare time, Carpenter enjoys refinishing old furniture. He says he picked up the “handyman gene” from his father, who was always fixing things.

Carpenter owes his empathetic ways to his parents, too. “A lot of it was upbringing, being a teacher and just the people you meet,” he says.

“Being part of CCU and more broadly, humanity, it’s about helping each other,” says Carpenter. “You find out that this is what really matters in the long run. And doing it with a smile.”


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John and Marie Carpenter CCU shuttle driver John Carpenter is this month's I Spy nominee.
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