Anthony Hunter: Custodian brings hard work, friendly face to Lab spaces since 2004


Malcolm Taylor

For years, Anthony has been a friendly face throughout Lab’s hallways.

Berk Oto, Editor-In-Chief

Every morning since 2004, custodian Anthony Hunter gets up to listen. He listens to hip-hop on his 30-minute bus ride to the Laboratory Schools. At work, he listens to everyday acts of kindness he sees around him, picking up the smallest details of the lives of the people he talks to. Always staying near his little black radio, he listens for opportunities to help the community he loves. 

Despite being a contractor for ABM, Mr. Hunter — just Anthony to everyone around him — is seen as family by many in the community through his reputation for hard work, generosity and a positive, outgoing attitude.

“He helps me a lot with small things, even things my son would usually do,” said U-High principal’s secretary Carol Arrington, a friend of Anthony’s. “One example is that he helped me find the music I like and load it on my phone, but there’s just so many like this. Sometimes, I feel like he’s my work-son.”

Anthony said his eagerness to help comes more from his passion for the Lab community, rather than a passion for custodial work.

“My job is definitely more routine-oriented,” Anthony said. “The daily excitement I get is from talking to people in the community, and helping them out with whatever they need. Also, what keeps me going is that I get a lot of compliments on how good of a job I’m doing. That’s fulfilling for me.”

Anthony said that as a custodian, he has the opportunity to observe everyday acts of kindness from people in the Lab community, often without being seen himself.

“I’ve worked here through many, many changes to the school,” Anthony said. “One thing that’s always stayed the same is everyone has treated me with respect and kindness. That’s my favorite part of working here at Lab: I get to see how everyone treats each other.”

That’s my favorite part of working here at Lab: I get to see how everyone treats each other.

— Anthony Hunter

Since he began working at Lab, Anthony has gone through tough moments, including the deaths of close family members. He says that it was during those times he realized the compassion of people in the Lab community.

“I’ve gone through some difficult times since I started working here. Especially when my sister passed away,” Anthony said. “People at Lab always stopped to talk to me in the hallways to make sure I was OK and offered to help if I needed anything like time or conversations. That kindness helped me a lot, and it’s something I still think about.”

Anthony pays that kindness forward to community members by working hard to help students and faculty, no matter what they need. He cares deeply about the Lab community and, according to Ms. Arrington, he remembers every special event or life detail a student or adult tells him. For example, on the morning of every birthday and wedding anniversary he shows up to Ms. Arrington’s office, armed with a big smile and ready to strike conversation.

“He’s very much a family-oriented person, and cares deeply about family and overall, he’s just a caring and thoughtful person,” Ms. Arrington said. “He actually has an incredible memory. He’s the kind of guy to remember everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.”

Being a custodian at Lab was actually Anthony’s second job. He has worked at Target since 2000 and applied for the custodial position at Lab to provide additional income for his family. When he’s not working one of these jobs, Anthony says he enjoys listening to music and helping his 10-year-old daughter with her homework.

Since he was young, Anthony has been passionate about R&B and hip-hop music, despite never having the time to play music himself. Anthony began collecting CDs in the early 1990s, but in January 2020 he also began collecting vinyl records. Even with his sizable music collection, Anthony streams most of his music often at work or during his daily commute.

“Music has just always been a part of my life. I’ve been buying music since I was 10 years old,” Anthony said. “Now, I’m old school. I only buy songs if they’re really special and make me feel a certain way. Otherwise, I stream music on my earbuds, especially when I’m on the way to work or doing something where I’m alone.”

Whether listening to music on his earbuds, or listening to members of the Lab community, Anthony’s hard working and uplifting attitude makes him a part of many people’s work-family.