As his shack remains empty, Jack Smith steps away from his role at Xavier
written by: GRACE HAMILTON
After 16 years of service, Jack Smith is no longer the parking attendant at Xavier. His booth at the end of the University Drive lot, referred to as “Jack’s Shack,” now stands empty.
Smith’s career at Xavier began at Cintas Center, where he worked for two years before applying for a position as a parking attendant. His job included taking care of any parking problems, answering questions and helping parents and students that were new to Campus.
One of Smith’s favorite things to do when new families came to Xavier was taking them to the statue of Our Lady, Queen of Victory and Peace, nestled in the grotto behind the booth. He would tell stories of past graduates of Xavier.
One story was that of Sally, a girl who wouldn’t take her midterms since her father was being deployed to Afghanistan and she wanted to spend time with him before he left.
According to Smith, the university gave her midterms and sent her home to be with her father. Smith says of Xavier’s principles, “Family values come first, education second.”
To Smith, Xavier was family, as he fondly referred to students as his kids. Smith said he learned a lot from his time at Xavier, mostly from the students.
“You can tell a Xavier graduate by how they act and how they talk… They stand out,” he remarked.
He also hopes the students learned from him.
“I hope my kids follow what I told them to do: study, get an education and help another Muskie.”
Smith’s job positioned at his booth led him to help many students, as well as employees. He left such an impact that news of his leaving was on Twitter and Facebook. On his last day, many students, both current and graduated, came to say goodbye.
“I do miss it,” Smith said tearfully, recalling interactions with parents, new students, the supposed Xavier ghost and even with potential employees whom he often lent encouragement to.
He enjoyed telling parents about the new life their child would start at Xavier and the values each student would take with them after. He recounts an incident with the Xavier ghost, a Musketeer who brought him groceries. Smith said that the Musketeer can be seen every day, though he cannot reveal his identity.
He also detailed reassuring potential employees, telling them that they would get the job. According to Smith, his success rate is 1000%.
As for what he’ll do now that he’s left Xavier, Smith said, “What do I do next? I ask myself every day.” He continues his work for the Reds and the Bengals and has also ventured into cooking.
He says if students ever look for him, they can find him walking in Hyde Park with a giant X on his shirt. He assures, “I still bleed blue.”