Hidden Chaplains 2020 Nominations
In the fall of 2020, in the midst of the global pandemic, undergraduate students were invited to “Nominate a Hidden Chaplain from the past where you grew up or in the present where you are now: people who cut your hair, make your coffee, deliver your mail, and talk to you on the sidewalk.” We received nominations from Hong Kong to France, New York and the Tetons National Park. Visit the map, created by Regina Lankenau ’21, and click on the location to read the nominations.
“I’m nominating Cindy, my bus driver for all four years of high school, as my Hidden Chaplain.”
“I attended a vocational school about ~30 minutes away with only a handful of people taking this bus, so Cindy and I became very close; every morning she would tell me silly stories about her night and how naughty her dogs had been (they were always getting into trouble) and ask me how my day had been every afternoon. There were a lot of people on my bus who came from tough backgrounds and were going through a lot both in school and at home. Cindy showed each of them unconditional love regardless of what they had done and made her bus a safe space for all. I truly believe she touched a lot of lives in her 25+ years as a bus driver, including mine. I still keep in touch with her 3 years out of high school and she is an incredible friend to me whose presence and support helped me through a lot of hard times in high school.”-Julia Garaffa, Class of 2023
“I’m nominating Uncle Leung, the security guard under my building, as my Hidden Chaplain.“
“I’m nominating Uncle Leung, the security guard under my building, as my Hidden Chaplain. He always has a huge smile for everyone in my apartment complex, and we’re always sad whenever his rotation places him somewhere else! Being a security guard is not an easy job, and his positivity is always refreshing and a gift to everyone who interacts with him”-Sophie Li, Class of 2021
“I’m nominating Brian, an older retired man I met while I was fly fishing for trout on Snake River in Grand Tetons National park, as my Hidden Chaplain.“
“I’m nominating Brian, an older retired man I met while I was fly fishing for trout on Snake River in Grand Tetons National park, as my Hidden Chaplain. He was also out fishing and came by to say hello. I hadn’t had much luck, so he gave me some advice and showed me what flies I should be using. When it started to rain he offered to ride me back to my campsite and on the way told me about his daughter at UC Berkeley. We didn’t exchange phone numbers, information, or really anything beyond first names. I likely won’t ever see this man again in my life. I think that’s how I prefer it, though. That way, the kindness he showed me feels more spontaneous and genuine in a sense.”– John Bullock, Class of 2023,
“I’m nominating Kuna Uncle, my neighbor, as my Hidden Chaplain.
“I’m nominating Kuna Uncle, my neighbor, as my Hidden Chaplain. Kuna Uncle has brought so much light to our family since he moved in across the road from us six years ago. He’ll always ask us how we’re doing and tell us his intriguing stories when we go out. Being an architect, he’s a very creative person and he’s always going out of his way to look for opportunities to touch our lives with his creativity e.g. he designed and built a magnificent stage backdrop for a concert I performed in. He is so generous with his time and makes it a point to go out for a drive with me (I’m on my learner’s licence) once in a while, no matter how busy he is. It’s hard to imagine what life would be like without him around now!”– -Seyoon Ragavan, Class of 2021
Hidden Chaplains 2021 Nominations
Victoria, Executive Assistant to VP Calhoun
I would like to nominate Victoria as my Hidden Chaplain because has been really helpful with scheduling and organizing meetings with Princeton leadership about Title IX. She is always organized, pleasant in her tone, and has to do a lot of work to find times that work for everyone. Her organization makes everyone’s life easier when working on these issues.
Timothy, First Dining Hall Worker
I would like to nominate Tim as my Hidden Chaplain because conversations with Tim always make me laugh; he is a great guy. Tim is always playing amazing music and maintains a positive energy that is a treat whenever I grab some food.
Margaret, First Dining Hall Worker
I would like to nominate Margaret as my Hidden Chaplain because we chat every day when I pass through the dining hall. We hear about each other’s day, and she always remembers what I’ve been excited about lately. She makes me feel at home here; like I have someone who knows me and genuinely cares for me here at Princeton.
Glenn, Witherspoon Dorm Hall Custodian
I would like to nominate Glenn as my Hidden Chaplain because I would often study for late nights in the Witherspoon study rooms, kitchen, or tv lounge and frequently had the fortune of interacting with Glen when he would come in for his work in the morning. He would *always* smile and wave to me. Often, we’d have a short conversation as I took the elevator up to the fourth floor back to my dorm room.His presence was reassuring and encouraging. He always asked how I was doing. And I always felt his sincerity. In one semester and a half (cut short because of Covid), Glen became an unforgettable part of my Princeton experience. As I recollect my fond memories of Witherspoon, I realize that a significant portion of my love for the building stem from my appreciation and gratitude for the person who helped sustain it and all its inhabitants: Glen. Thank you for the kindness you shared and the care you showed!
Jackie, Frist Food Gallery
I would like to nominate Jackie as my Hidden Chaplain because, as a card swiper at the Frist grill before the pandemic, she would always greet me and ask about my day when I went. She always remembered how I was doing, and we would chat about her kids and how school was going. She is one of the kindest people I’ve met at Princeton, and her compassion is always so genuine. She cares so much for students and brings a smile to my face every time I see her. She is also such a hard worker, and I think she deserves to be recognized for the joy that she brings to our community.
There have been quite a few times when I’ve gone to grab a meal this semester feeling down, and Jackie is always so cheery and conversational and uplifting.
Tim, First Dining Hall Staff
I would like to nominate Tim as my Hidden Chaplain because I have known Tim since I first arrived at Princeton my freshman year. During my first day of classes, I came into the Butler dining hall to get breakfast, and Tim gave me a wide smile and a loud greeting: “how you doin’, buddy?!” Ever since, I have always looked forward to getting my meals at Butler to meet with Tim. We talk about life, joke with each other, and even bust out into spontaneous dances in the lunch line! Tim never fails to bring a smile to my face when I see him. He has, without a doubt, made one of the greatest impacts on me at Princeton. I am proud to call him my friend, and I hope to keep in touch with him for many years to come after I graduate. Tim deserves everything in the world, and I hope he gets it.
Nancy, First Custodian
I would like to nominate Ms. Garcia as my Hidden Chaplain, because even though I don’t know her very well, we have had some very meaningful conversations. She probably doesn’t remember, but one time she mentioned that her son was living in the town I grew up in and it made me feel a little less alone. She has always been very kind and I appreciate it very much.
Dave, Whitman Dining Hall Staff
I would like to nominate Dave as my Hidden Chaplain because I really appreciate his positive energy and his kindness. Dave swipes me in at the Whitman dining hall and he always strikes up a conversation and asks how I’m doing.
I would like to nominate Dave as my Hidden Chaplain because he is so caring and kind and remembers me every time! He takes the time to ask about deeper things going on and always has a greater perspective.
Sergio, First Dining Hall Staff
I would like to nominate Sergio as my Hidden Chaplain because it always brightens my day to see him around the dining hall. I remembered Sergio from before 2020 but we didn’t interact much in that time. I’ve run into him much more often in the Butler dining hall this year and he always asks how I’m doing with so much enthusiasm. One day the weather was especially nice and I hadn’t checked the weather so I was wearing layers and we shared a laugh about how overdressed I was. The next day I made sure to show up in a t-shirt and shorts and we laughed about that too!
Sherri, First Food Gallery
I would like to nominate Sherri as my Hidden Chaplain because when I was still on campus before the pandemic, seeing Sherri at late meal or Studio 34 always brightened my day. She would ask me how I was doing, which doesn’t sound like much but was very meaningful given Princeton’s fast-paced environment. When sometimes even your close friends can’t stop to chat on the way to class or a meeting, having someone who recognizes you and cares enough to ask how your day was really can make you feel a lot better. In addition, Sherri always remembered my name, even before telling her so she could write it on the meal ticket and call it when my food was ready.
Elijah, CJL Dining Hall Staff
I would like to nominate Elijah as my Hidden Chaplain because he is always so positive and he makes you feel like the most important person in the world just from the few moments of interaction you have with him. He is so dignified and down to earth, and he makes your day better. I want to be more like him.
Maritere, RoMa Dining Hall Staff
I would like to nominate Maritere as my Hidden Chaplain because she brings a smile to my face every time I see her in the dining hall! Since last year, Maritere would consistently greet me and talk to me in Spanish. When I returned to the dining hall in the spring semester and saw her, I didn’t think she would recognize me given that I hadn’t seen her in a year and was wearing a mask; however, sure enough, she struck up a conversation with me in Spanish as if things hadn’t changed at all. I’m so thankful for her.
Yaovi, Whitman Dining Hall Staff
I would like to nominate Yaovi as my Hidden Chaplain, because I am so grateful for the welcoming and warm environment Yaovi fosters every day. I’ve gotten to know Yaovi from picking up my meals at the Whitman dining hall. He always goes out of his way to greet me, often dropping what he’s doing to talk for a couple minutes. Just last night, we had a heartfelt conversation with Jouseline, who also works in Whitman, about the origins of our names.
Mimi, First Dining Hall Staff
I would like to nominate Mimi as my Hidden Chaplain because she is the best! Whenever I see her in First, she gives me such a warm and kindhearted welcome. Her warmth is only surpassed by her memory — she remembers and asks about all sorts of details from my life. On the days when I’m feeling down, I make a point of going to First, because talking with Mimi always makes me day.
Tamara, RoMa Dining Hall Staff
I would like to nominate Tamara as my Hidden Chaplain because she always has a smiling face and is so happy whenever I see her in the Rocky dining hall! I know that she works so hard and I wanted to honor her for all she does!
Howard, RoMa Dining Hall Staff
I would like to nominate Howard as my Hidden Chaplain because he is one of the kindest people I have met on campus. I met Howard in RoMa during my freshman year. Whenever we meet, we exchange hellos and ask each other about our days and life. He is always so excited to see me, and I also feel equally happy when I get to meet and talk to him!