Dan Sly Continues to Impact Students
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013 12:03
As Dan Sly walked through the halls of Hughes-Trigg one day, he passed a young man with his head down. But Dan greeted him anyway.
“Good morning,” Sly said.
No response. Sly walked a few more steps before turning around and giving it another try.
“Excuse me sir, did you hear me say good morning to you?”
The man immediately turned around and appeared embarrassed. He greeted Sly.
Sly is a supervisor, at Café 100 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. He has been working at SMU and brightening up people’s lives for years since 2004. Dan is renowned for his cheery demeanor to customers but also for the exemplary manner he treats his coworkers. With Sly’s retirement looming possibly soon his impact at this school will not soon be forgotten.
Sly did not intend to stay at SMU very long when he first got here.
“I came here to be here only six months, and get enough money to go to Atlanta. My brother got me the job in 2004 because I was broke,” Sly said.
Since then however, Sly has fallen in love with every aspect of SMU, from the students to the faculty. Since he took the job, Sly has seen much of the same similarities between SMU and his family.
“I always came up with a close knit family. I enjoy diversity — I think personality is big too. I’ve always had an easygoing personality. It’s not even a job to me, I just have fun and give and receive from others. What you give is what you receive in return,” he said.
Sly’s coworkers have noticed this same sort of trend and enjoy working with him. Not only the way he treats them, but also the way he has treated customers is a lesson they’ve all taken to heart.
“I think he’s fun for all ages. He’s well-rounded, like he can talk to everybody and have a conversation with absolutely everybody,” Eric, one of his coworkers, said.
On a recent day at the café, it became apparent to everyone in the room how easy it was for him to have fun while doing his job. He said something under his breath to Eric that lead to boisterous laughter, livening up all those around him. Once he noticed a customer however, he came right back with a fist bump and asked the student if she would like a caramel mocha and began to ask her how her day was going.
“He’s very nice, he’s just a positive guy. I don’t come here often but every time I see him he’s nice,” Glen Pearson, a graduate student, said.
Although Sly knows when to have fun and laugh with his employees, one cannot help but notice how he does the same jobs that he might ask an employee to do too. Sly does not just delegate jobs for those to do around him, rather, if he is free he will instead do the job himself. Students enjoying a nice coffee in Café 100 will often see him emptying out the trash, or changing the coffee machine. Sly takes pride in doing the little jobs as he believes if many workers see him doing them, they will gain respect for him creating a more pleasant working environment.
“I won’t ask anyone to do something I wouldn’t do myself, and usually I try to do it myself first before I ask someone else to do it. The only thing that matters to me is getting the job done,” Sly said.
Similar in a hard working nature for Sly is his favorite worker. He beamed when describing Tanisha. Tanisha was one of Dan’s first employees and since then has always left a lasting impression on him. Although Tanisha does not work at Starbucks anymore, Sly felt a special connection to her based on how similar they are. Tanisha has that same tenacity that has always defined him and the way he goes about his work, he said.
“She would work all day, very good worker and work ethic, but then once she was done, she would go straight back to her computer in the back and do her schoolwork,” Sly said.
Sly said he is getting to the point where retirement is starting to creep into his head and is going to take some time to think long and hard about it.
“I’ve been contemplating [retirement], I’m going to take a month off and go to Florida, spend some time with the family and then start to understand where I want to go and what I want to do. I could stay here forever but sometimes its time to move on,” Sly said.
Sly, despite considering retirement took one last opportunity to reiterate how much he loved SMU, which to him will always be considered his home.
“I get so much out of here, everyone has something to contribute,” he said, ”I just get so much about of this place, there is no way I thought I would be here 10 years.”