Andrew Dys

Thankless job no more: Rock Hill police custodian gets Apple Watch from ‘Santa’

Saundra Hoyle displays the Apple Watch she received from a secret Santa.
Saundra Hoyle displays the Apple Watch she received from a secret Santa.

Almost invisible every day, Saundra Hoyle and Robert Dixon clean the Rock Hill Police Department, municipal court and jail. Thousands of people use the building every week, leaving behind what would be a mess if it wasn’t for these two who take great pride in their work.

The cops are armed with guns. The custodians are armed with brooms and mops.

There are few awards for custodians in a building where killers are arrested, victims helped, broken dreams reported and sometimes mended.

Tuesday was different. Hoyle, 50, four years working maintenance, opened her closet where she keeps supplies and inside she found a card and a present. The present said it was from “Santa.” The note thanked her for all she does.

She tore open the package and inside was an Apple Watch. The watches go for a few hundred dollars.

“A few times I went to SouthPark Mall in Charlotte, I saw the watch and I would stare at it,” Hoyle said. “It’s what I really wanted. I am still in shock.”

Police officers such as Lt. Carlos Culbreath, Capt. Mark Bollinger, city spokesperson Katie Quinn all came by, as did Hoyle and Dixon’s supervisor, Dennis Featherstone. They saw the watch and talked about the job that Hoyle and Dixon do. How much it matters. Cleaning is not glamorous, but it is important.

And now Hoyle has an Apple Watch.

“I take pride in my work,” Hoyle said. “I can’t thank a Secret Santa, but I just want to say thank you to whoever did this.”

Last week, broken glass in the public parking lot that would have left countless cars with flat tires was cleaned up by Dixon. He asked for nothing. A judge, Tanesha Lonergan, thanked Dixon for his diligence. He nodded.

“I am proud to do my best,” said Dixon, 58, 29 years with the city and the last 15 making sure the jail and more are clean in a place where inmates don’t want to be. Cleaning the jail is a job without a waiting list.

Dixon does it anyway.

Dixon and Hoyle do that work the public sees and they are proud.

And then the first media interview for the cleaning crew at RHPD was over. Dixon and Hoyle pushed their carts back into the building, to mop and scrub so their city police department looks the best it can.

Because, as Dixon said, a job well done is a reflection on them, too.

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065