The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Phone operator transmits assistance, kindness

When a man in his underwear tries to register for classes with a monkey perched on his shoulder, most EC college officials would just stare with their jaws in their lap. If you are one of the operators/receptionists Carol Kubota, you smile placidly while magically summoning the campus police with the touch of a button.

This kind of excitement is not a daily occurrence for Kubota; it is just part of the job.

Kubota has been with the college since 1986, and if you don’t know who she is, she is the gentle-natured woman in the Administration Building who runs the switchboard.

Before coming to EC, Kubota worked at Harbor College; the year was 1975 and she was a young girl from Hilo, Hawaii; she moved to mainland by herself in 1967 when she was only 17.

With close to 31 years of experience as a PBX operator/receptionist, Kubota remembers how it was when she started at Harbor.

“Back then, I ran an old switchboard that was this big black board with wires coming out everywhere that shocked you when you touched them,” Kubota said.

Nowadays, things are much less treacherous; Kubota just has to dial in any one of the college’s extension numbers which she has committed to memory.

Recently, Kubota’s experience has been helpful to co-worker Deena Langowski, who until recently has worked mainly as a cashier for the college.

“It helps me a lot when I work with Carol; if there is a number I don’t know she can just tell me.”

Giving directions, making change, and lending an ear to lonely students are not things in Kubota’s job description; she just enjoys making people smile.

Kubota says that since she has been at EC, the student population has gone down but that everyone has always been real nice.

“I admire the way she knows people; she just seems to have a personal relationship with them,” Langowski said.

When Kubota is not at work, she likes to kick back to watch movies and listen to music.

She also enjoys traveling; she frequently takes trips to Hawaii to visit friends and family; sadly, one of her most recent trips was to make arrangements for her mother’s funeral.

Kubota’s immediate supervisor, Allen Quarles, says that she is a thoughtful person who brings things back for friends and co-workers whenever she goes on trips.

A devout Christian, Kubota attends church every Sunday and says that after she retires she would like to help those less fortunate than she.

She says that she has this recurring dream where she is doing some kind of missionary work in a Third World setting.

For Kubota, the busier the better; she says that she prefers it when things are just a little hectic.

“When you don’t have time to look at your watch, the day goes by a lot faster,” Kubota said.

Kubota says that ultimately she would like to move out of state; despite being from a tropical climate, she actually prefers cool weather.

Wherever Kubota ends up it is certain that she will have no trouble making friends.

“No matter who you are, Carol treats you as an equal,” Quarles said.

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