Service with more than a smile

Evan Belfiore

Dining services cashier and musician brings delight to students

Matt Moore is a cashier for Dining Services and lead singer of American Steal.

Credit: Beth Rankin

You will probably see him at Einstein’s Bagel when you pay, yet you may not notice him on the walls at Mike’s Place.

Matt Moore has been a cashier for University Dining Services and the lead singer for American Steal for about four years.

“It all kicked in at about the same time,” Moore said. “We were just getting started out when I started working at Eastway.”

For a husband and father of three, this is his second go-around in college, well, sort of.

“I went here for three years and never took a class,” Moore said, chuckling. “I had friends that went here. I went into construction after high school.”

While he was not a registered student, Moore got the full college experience in the ’70s. Coupling those years with his four and counting at Kent State, serving about 700 students a day, has given him perspective on college.

“Don’t get caught up in your social life,” Moore said. “Remember what you’re here for, and that’s to get a degree.”

Moore said he can usually tell which students are going to party too much just from the quick, 45-second conversations he has with students as they check out. He also likes to hassle the students a little bit when they come through his line.

He said working as a cashier is a great job for him because he is a people person.

“I love giving some of those kids a hard time,” Moore said. “I like to make them think. Some of the freshmen don’t know what to make of me, but the ones who have been here understand. If you don’t have a sense of humor, you may as well pack it in.”

Moore says he wants people to go away happy, whether that is getting food in the Hub or watching American Steal play.

American Steal is the first band Moore has been in, but he has also sung in men’s quartets and choruses. His band started in 1978, but split after about two years. Around 2000, Mike Kostensky, owner of Mike’s Place, was putting together a benefit CD and wanted American Steal to do a song.

“Mike and I were old neighbors and good friends, and he asked me to sing,” Moore said. “It kind of ballooned from there. I don’t think we were ever supposed to play live.”

Elton John and his long-time partner, Bernie Taupin, both have influenced Moore. Not too found of current music, Moore is a fan of gospel and the blues, but he’s still a self-proclaimed old rock ‘n’ roller.

Moore said everyone in the band, except bass player Doug Matthews, is middle-aged with kids. American Steal is more of a hobby than a job. The group plays locally a couple times a month.

“Our wives seem to be supportive,” he said. “They got a nice trip out of it when we played in Put-in-Bay over the summer.”

Moore said he still gets a rush from being on stage and enjoys working at Kent State as well. If you see him working in the Hub, playing with American Steal or even singing Karaoke in the Rathskeller, it shows.

As for this semester, Moore will be playing with American Steal at the Randolph Fair on Saturday and at Brimfest on Sept.10.

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Contact general assignment reporter Evan Belfiore at [email protected].