WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – A member of the UNCW family died in a car accident Tuesday. The Wilmington Police Department says, Hubert Simpson, swerved off the road in the 300 block of North College Road and hit a metal pole.
Officers say from the initial investigation, it appears that Simpson did not hit the brakes. Now, they are investigating to see if he had a medical emergency before the crash or if his brakes failed.
Simpson was a 9-year Aramark employee and students say he was a fixture at UNCW. They say it's hard to imagine walking up to Wagoner Hall, where the cafeteria is, and not have Simpson greet him with his big smile as he swipes their card.
"Those of us who frequented Wagoner Dining Hall knew Hubert to be the very personification of Seahawk Spirit, and it is almost unfathomable to imagine walking through those doors and not seeing Hubert and basking in his good cheer," said Chancellor Miller in an email sent to students.
Wednesday, students set a memorial where Simpson normally stands. They wrote notes and left flowers to honor him. They say that Simpson was always happy and took the time to get to know them. They say he often greeted them with token phrases like, 'Happy Hump Day' or 'It's Sunday Fun Day'.
"He wasn't just a swiper," said Nick Howley, a UNCW student. "He would always take time to make up a high five with you."
"He would always say, 'how did your test go' or 'do you have anything on the schedule today', and he would give people hugs," said Jeffrianne Gutson.
"He would make peoples days," explained Alex Maceacherin. "Even if it was a dreary day, people would always walk out with a smile on their face because of Hubert."
Students are also tweeting their condolences at #RIPHubert, https://twitter.com/search?q=%23RIPHUBERT&src=typd. They are leaving messages that say things like "Don't even want to think about not being greeted anymore by that kind soul.," "You always brought a smile to my face," and "In honor of Hubert Simpson, happy hump day everybody!"
Communication students featured Simpson in a video last month, it is entitled, FACES of UNCW and posted above (http://vimeo.com/65743135). It highlights how special Simpson was. In it Simpson is interviewed and states, "To see a student walk though that door, is the highlight of my day, every student that walks in got their eyes open and a smile on their face. it just does something to my day."
Miller is encouraging students and faculty to show extra kindness and to appreciate your friends and family in the wake of this sudden loss.
@SeahawkTFXC tweeted a picture Wednesday morning saying, "RIP Hubert! Always enjoyed being greeted by you at Wag. We've lost a great ambassador for the Seahawks."
Details of a memorial service are not yet available. Miller said they will be posted via the Campus Dining feed on Twitter (@UNCWDining).
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