STORY BY GIULIANA LAMANTIA
Most students at Quad Creek Cafe know Keith Griffin, a staple of Drake University since 2008, by his booming voice and contagious smile.
Griffin’s love of life comes from his family, faith and future goals, which can be passed on and resonated in a world too often taken for granted.
“Vince (Lovan), the operations manager, we went to church together, and he was looking for a manager, so he asked me if I was looking for some work at that time,” Griffin said.
Being around different people is one of Griffin’s favorite parts of working at Drake.
“You have people from around the world,” Griffin said. “France, South America, South Africa, China, Austria, Australia. I learn a lot from the diversity.”
Griffin enjoys interacting with the students and learning about their futures.
“Your world changes,” Griffin said. “You’ll be making policies for me, those going into government. It’s just awesome to see the next wave of shakers and movers.”
Griffin’s happiness is undeniably palpable, as students in passing smile and say hello to him by name.
Besides his work-life, Griffin is also a father of five children, as well as a pastor at Family Life Diocese. He has lived in Des Moines for most of his life and has fished, a favorite pasttime for more than 30 years.
As for the future, Griffin wants to grow in his faith.
“Stop working and go into full-time ministry. That’s my ultimate goal,” Griffin said.
He believes his church, work and family are a large part of who he is, and he has learned very much throughout his life, even being that the simplest things hold truth.
“Love the people you’re with, and live every day like it’s your last day,” Griffin said. “Stop and enjoy life. Follow your heart, that’s another one. All those old clichés are true, I can tell you. Everybody has their own life experiences, and you learn to appreciate every day you get.”
Griffin’s kinudents by making their day just a little bit better.
“When I come to quad and hear his voice, it just instantly puts a smile on your face because he’s such an enthusiastic person,” said sophomore Paul Zazzetti. “Even just doing his job, it’s just a normal job, but he makes it fun.”
Griffin’s passion for life rubs off on his co-workers as well.
“He keeps the place happy, he tries to motivate people and he’s very friendly with the students.Everybody likes him,” Sodexo employee Sonja Newstrom said.
For students, Griffin can always put a smile on their faces.
“The other day I was in here and he started singing happy birthday to a girl. Like an opera singer throughout all of Quad, and he just made everyone smile,” said sophomore Claudia Williams. “I just love the fact that he works at Quad with cranky, rude college students, but he’s always smiling and always asks you how your day is going.”
Griffin has learned throughout his life to truly appreciate everything he has been given, making him a beacon of happiness to those around him with words of wisdom to go along with it.
“No one starts out in the morning thinking ‘I’m not going to come home,’ so that’s why you appreciate everybody around you,” Griffin said. “Enjoy that good weather, enjoy the bad weather. Enjoy what you’ve been given. Don’t get lost. Just do hard work and it all comes, the houses, the money — everything else.”