"Mile High burger! I got a Mile High!”
A man, early 50s, moves swiftly behind an L-shaped counter. He is black and dressed in all black, like an artificial ninja designed by a genius. Students at Hofstra University see him almost every day, and while nobody is quite sure of his story, many have told him theirs. Who is this figure who is so deeply trusted, and yet even more deeply shrouded in mystery? Well, even that seems to be a point of controversy. Despite disagreements on a proper title, it’s not uncommon for Hofstra students from all walks of life to find themselves huddled around him in-between classes.
“Oh, you’re doing a story on the Calkins cat! I love that little guy!” said one student, who requested anonymity upon learning that we were in fact not doing a story on the Calkins cat, and that said cat is definitely not a boy.
“Oh, you’re doing a story on that that big dude that works at B.Y.O.B. in Bits and Bytes! I love that little guy!” said another student who, despite getting the subject of the story correct, also pushed pretty hard to have his name left out. Sorry Josh Newman, but we only get one per article.
While opinions on the guy from Bits -- a.k.a. the head honcho behind one of the safer places to eat cooked meat on Hofstra’s storied campus -- run the gamut, most students view him as tough but fair, a stern father-figure who's made all the difference in their college experience thus far.
"I go to him for advice at least once a week," said Hofstra student Jerrod Lattimore. "He just always knows what to say. Whether it’s hollering 'Burger! I got a Cheeseburger here!' and subsequently getting a bunch of spit-sweat on all the buns, or just staring right through me altogether for a solid minute-and-a-half when I ask him if I should drop the class I have with my ex, the big guy always knows how to push my buttons. I don’t know where I’d be without him.”
Similar sentiments were shared by many Hofstra students. Time and time again, they said, his character has stood out to them as something worth noting.
“He’s always there when you need someone to just vent to,” said Casey Newton, a sophomore at Hofstra. “If my friends are ever busy and I need someone to listen to my problems and grunt in response, the guy from Bits is the first person I go to. Honestly, he’s more attentive than most of the guys I’ve dated, even if he does mostly just mumble the whole time about the grilled chicken still not being burnt enough. ‘I need more char,’ he always says. ‘I gotta have that char.’”
“Don’t get me wrong, the manager guy from Dutch Treats is pretty cool in his own right” said Hofstra senior Dustin Kennedy. “He taught me how to pick up girls with just a look and a smile, and he’s always willing to help me out when I’m low on meal points. But nobody – not even what’s-his-name from HofUSA – has impacted my life the way Bits guy has.”
When reached for comment, the nine-time Hofstra Food Service Employee of the Week had only this to say: “I told y’all I can’t say anything to anybody. Get outta my face with that shit – are you recording this? You want me to lose my job? Go ahead and put me in another one of your little stories. Really, go ahead and see what happens. I will find you.” There’s never a moment’s rest for the hardest working man on Hofstra’s campus. But he likes it that way, and so do we.