Randy Peck is a man of many interests, and that’s why he’s happy he’s worked at Carleton for 25 years. “The students are fantastic. I enjoy just being a sponge around them,” says Peck. Currently a custodian at the Recreation Center, he likes music and spends a lot of time at the Cave. “We try to be mentors to the students,” Peck says of himself and his fellow staff members. “It’s just common sense and kindness to look out for them.”
Peck’s friendly nature is a good fit for his other job as a professional Santa. He plays the jolly elf at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, shopping malls, and special events and parties. He also volunteers to visit terminally ill children as Santa. “I get just as much out of it as they do,” Peck says. Not all of the children ask for toys; some of them ask for help with school bullies or for their parents to get back together. “It’s really moving,” says Peck. “Someday I’m going to write a book about it.”
The Voice asked Peck to grant our Christmas wish by taking the Carl Quiz.
Top 4 Carleton memories:
- Filming a documentary of the history of the Cave. It’s available at the Carleton Bookstore, and a portion of the proceeds goes to the Carleton Custodial Scholarship Fund.
- Performing at the Cave with Gospel Gossip, an alternative band featuring Sarah Nienaber ’08 and Ollie Moltaji ’07, on a couple of songs I cowrote with them.
- Dancing in “Looking Back,” a piece choreographed by Sarah Jacobs ’04 for her comps project.
- Winning the Bad Poetry Contest sponsored by Manuscript, Carleton’s literary journal, in 1991.
Motto: “Take care of Mother Earth.” I live on a hobby farm, where I grow organic and heirloom plants, and I like to lead herb walks in the Arb. I’m on the Custodial Wastebusters team, which tries to educate people about recycling. It’s not just a motto; it’s my life.
Job horror story: Sometimes people throw up in the fitness center. Luckily, that doesn’t happen often.
Favorite musician: John Lennon. I wrote a song called “To John Lennon” and had a music video made of me singing it.
Best movie Santa: Hannu-Pekka Björkman from Joulutarina (Christmas Story), a Finnish movie about the origin of Santa Claus
Why: I enjoy playing Joulupukki (the Finnish Santa) at parties.
Web Extra: See Peck performing his poetry and songs.