WRITTEN BY MALLORY DUNCAN, ASST. ARTS, ETC. EDITOR
Upendra Pandya has completed a feat not many people can boast about. He has perfect attendance at work—for 35 years and counting.
Perfect attendance entails going a whole fiscal year without calling in sick or missing a scheduled workday.
That means, for 12,784 days, Pandya has never missed a scheduled workday.
Pandya works on the building and custodial staff at Butler University. His daily activities include taking out the trash, housekeeping, mopping and waxing the floors, recycling and other various janitorial activities around Ross Hall and Residential College.
“You name it, he does it,” said Augusto Acosta, building services supervisor. “He has all the knowledge of the daily operation.”
Pandya has been in his same job for the full time that he has been at Butler.
“It is amazing to me that, when we have a task to do, he is always in the mood to go get it, go do it,” said Gustavo Penaloza, team leader of Pandya’s group.
“He knows everything here, all about the job,” said Roberto Lazo, a coworker of Pandya’s. “He knows who’s missing and who is here. He even knows when a key is missing.”
But Pandya’s perfect attendance accomplishment is not the only thing that stands out about him.
“Not only is he not missing a day, it’s that every day he’s here, it’s so valued,” Acosta said.
Pandya is always ready to help out at any time during the day. He stays late and can meet his supervisor or team leader within minutes of when he is called, Penaloza said.
“There (are) so many little things that he takes care of that, when he finally takes a vacation, I receive calls that things aren’t done,” Acosta said. “I know he’s on vacation because somebody calls at the front desk of ResCo and says ‘Hey! We’ve run out of this or that.’”
A language barrier exsists between Pandya, who is from India, and the other staff members who work at Butler. Spanish is the preferred language between staff members, and English is seldom heard.
But this does not deter Pandya from getting to know his coworkers.
“We are coworkers—no—we are pretty good friends,” Penaloza said. “We need to pay attention because of our different languages. We have fun trying to understand each other.”
Pandya acknowledged that he loves working with all of the staff members, but he also loves playing tricks on them.
The staff at ResCo have an assignment area where people sign in and out to go to work or go home.
“He likes to turn the light off and close the door and leave everybody saying, ‘Hey!’” Acosta said. “Everybody knows it’s Upendra. He does that very often.”
Playing pranks on his coworkers and putting maximum effort into his job every day has endeared Pandya to his coworkers and supervisor. Acosta said he never worries about tasks Upendra is assigned to do. Penaloza guarantees that Pandya always finishes his job with energy.
“Almost everyone on staff says that he’s a kid stuck in an old person’s body,” Acosta said. “I don’t believe there’s one person that has anything negative to say about him.”
No matter how long coworkers have worked with Pandya, they can see what a diligent, enthusiastic and funny person he is.
“He’s happy all the time,” Lazo said. “He’s like a baby, he never stops smiling.”
His accomplishment is not only perfect attendance but perfect attitude at work and life in general. His goal is to try to continue this streak in both areas for as long as possible.
“People describe him as a funny guy, but he is always serious about his job,” Penaloza said. “After all these years, he is always on it.”