Today’s is a little different. The above video is an interview my dad, Don did at the college that he works at. He is always being asked to do different things around campus, he’s a huge asset to student body there. If you’d like to read an other interview he had, you can see that here; Xo!
April 3, 2014 Donald Paine Profile
It is 5:04 p.m. on April 2nd and an exhausted worker gently removes his hat and places it on the table in front of him. He lets out a much needed exasperated sigh and looks up. The man looks up, makes direct eye contact with me and says: “Want anything to drink?” Typically, any ordinary man that has just finished working a hectic eight hour shift isn’t worried about the needs of others. This isn’t any ordinary man, Donald Paine (mostly referred as Don) has been working at the SUB Connection in the Student Union Building at SUNY New Paltz for two and a half years. He is beloved around the school and seems to know every student by name. Known as one the community’s friendliest faces, it is common to see Don smiling and making conversation with whatever students he encounters during his work shift. Students often go out their way to get a moment with Don. “Some kids wait in line for 10 minutes just to say hello and that’s how you know you’ve made a connection,” Don proudly admits. Being in college can be stressful and it is something that he sympathizes with. “I treat you like you’re my kids because I know how hard it is to be away from home,” Don says. Don’s job is to prepare sandwiches for hungry students. A job Don takes very seriously. “If I could make you smile and get you something nice to eat, then I’ve done my job,” he says. Born and raised in Highland, New York, Don is a simple man of simple beginnings. He is a member of a large family of four children. One of those children is Don’s twin. Don and his twin spent their childhood skating around the local pond with the neighborhood kids. “Me and my twin brother were extremely competitive athletically,” Don says. “Anything from basketball to bowling, we wanted to beat each other.” Don’s father would often play with the neighborhood kids. He was designated whiffle ball pitcher for both teams to remain neutral in their activities. Don’s father lives in Rhinebeck so it is easy for them to remain close. His mother passed away two years ago and Don and his family make sure to get together on that day to pay tribute to her. “Her name was Leona but if you called her that you’d get a knuckle sandwich,” Don says with a booming laugh. “She preferred to be called Lee.” Along with Don’s twin brother Ronald, he also has a sister named Shirley and a younger brother named Raymond. Family is extremely important to Don as he remains very close to his siblings and even has a daughter of his own. “Her mom left when she was two and ever since then I’ve been raising her,” Don says. Being both mom and dad all on my own.” He has a 29-year-old daughter named Kayla. She still lives with her father. They often spend a lot of time together going to campus plays as well as sporting events. Don’s daughter seems have a feel for how much her father means to the campus when she visits. “She was visiting me one day and she goes: ‘Man seems like everyone loves you here,’” Don fondly recalls. Kayla is Don’s only child and he is okay with that. “I’ve got all these kids here at SUNY New Paltz,” Don says with a chuckle. The students here love him and there is no doubt that he loves them back. Don fondly remembers one of the most fun times that he has ever had while at SUNY New Paltz. The theatre department was preparing to show The Wedding Singer and they asked Don if he would like to participate. He even still has his lines memorized. “‘Yes I can’ and ‘Baja chicken sandwich,’” Don says with a laugh. “The kids in the stands loved it because they didn’t know that I was going to be in it. When I came out the whole crowd erupted and it was just the best time I’ve ever had.” He spends as much time as he can on campus in an attempt to connect with as many people as possible. Don fondly discusses playing kickball with some of the students on campus. “We ran around a baseball bat a couple times so when your turn came, so you were a little dizzy before you kicked,” Don says. “We laughed for an hour.” Don’s ability to step out of his comfort zone in order to make students here feel more comfortable is something that has made him endearing to so many students here. He was even asked by a student here to walk her down the aisle when she gets married. “It all started when I couldn’t hear her order so I leaned in over the glass and she said it again,” Don says. “I just started laughing and we’ve been best friends ever since,”Don explains to me that they connected almost immediately. He says that she even hangs out with his daughter. “She spends weekends with my family and I consider her to be a part of my family now,” Don says. “She asked me to walk her down the aisle because she doesn’t have much family.”His connection with the students here is something that he cherishes and he is aware of it. When he talks to you it seems like he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but right there and he is hanging on every word that you say. “I don’t make a lot of money but I get a lot of other rewards that make up for it,” Don says. “Like sitting here and talking to you. This is what makes my job special.” After I turn off the voice memo app on my phone that I am using to record our conversation, Don leans in a little bit. “Listen if you ever need anyone to hear you talk I’m here for you,” Don says. “Whether it’s about school, girl trouble or guy trouble I’m here anytime you need.”
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