Friendly faces of STU: the life of a STU Subway worker

Still of Dylan Paddock worker for the Subway branch at St. Thomas University. (Daniel Salas/AQ)

“Have a soup-pendous day!”

“I hope this wraps up your hunger!”

If you have been in James Dunn Hall between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. during the week, it is likely you’ve overheard a cheerful voice ringing throughout the common area, often spouting these “punny” sayings to hungry customers as they pay for their food.

This voice belongs to Dylan Paddock, who works at the JDH Subway and Tim Hortons. While many may not know his name, he is a friendly face many students may recognize for his on-the-spot puns, high energy and attempts to brighten their day.

“It makes me happy to make other people laugh, smile or even be confused, which gives me more energy, which lets me make more puns. And this is a little cycle of energy and happiness,” said Paddock.

While Paddock’s pun skills seem effortless now, it is due to years of inventing new puns for customers and bringing the energy. He credits the start of his puns to his time working at summer camps in 2011 and 2012. He said entertaining the kids during food service helped him get through his long shifts.

“I was high energy back then,” he said. “So [I was] doing a whole bunch of little voices that made the kids laugh and that would help me get through the nine hour days.”

“I’ve been offered jobs doing yard work,” he said. “And I was like, this is not enough … making people smile and getting me through the day is much better than quiet time and yard work.”

His energy has not dwindled, but has gotten stronger. He said that some of his coworkers in the past have asked him to “tone it down,” while others have found themselves infected by Paddock’s positivity.

Paddock has been working with STU since 2016, but has been working in food service since 2009. After leaving his studies of policing corrections, he turned to food service because it would pay more and would let him remain close to his family.

While Paddock was born in Oromocto, he moved around Ontario with his military family until eventually landing back here in 2006. Due to the move, he said it was hard to make friends here and dealt with bullies throughout middle school and high school.

“Back in high school I had a … very low energy year, I just didn’t talk to anyone,” he said. “Also at that time, there was a little bit of bullying, people called me Simple Jack, you know, Tropic Thunder. So I was like, well, let’s just lean into it.”

“I had to make a change.”

Paddock said his darkest moments inspired him to embody high energy and happiness that makes others smile, especially at a time when he was “going down mentally.”

“I’m now 30 years old as of February. Back then I was not expecting to make it this old,” he said. “I’m glad I managed to change it around.”

Now, Paddock owns a tiny home and lives with his girlfriend. He takes joy in gardening, playing video games like Stardew Valley and ultimately coming up with “punny” sayings for every menu item at both Subway at Tim Hortons. There are only two that he has yet to figure out: the latte and the grilled chicken.

Until that day, Paddock hopes to keep making students smile with his sayings and hopes to come up with more.

“There ain’t that many more puns, but I’m also expanding on sayings like ‘one delicious double-double, have a delicious day!’ or ‘I hope this doubles up your happiness!’”