Sead Ademovic jokingly describes himself as “the most hated person on the campus.” He is the one who stuffs those dreaded yellow envelopes with $10, $30, sometimes even $500 parking tickets. Those big fines are for scofflaws who tamper with parking permits.
“I’ve seen people park on grass, sidewalks, fire lanes, in the middle of the street,” said Ademovic. “I had a lady whose GPS told her to make a right onto the grass. She parked right in front of Brookings. She wanted to leave her car right there but I persuaded her to park at a meter.”
Washington University will recognize Ademovic and 234 other veteran employees Monday, May 18, at Staff Day. The event starts at 10 a.m. at Edison Theatre with staff awards and the presentation of the Gloria W. White Distinguished Service Award. Afterwards staff members are invited to enjoy lunch in Bowles Plaza and a variety of activities from softball to yoga to tours of the Kemper Art Museum. Visit the Human Resources site for a complete schedule.
Ademovic has served as parking monitor for 10 years. On a busy day, he can write up to 100 tickets.
“No one likes getting tickets but, in general, people are nice,” said Ademovic. “Most people see you are a real person, not some evil guy who just gave them a ticket. It’s a nice place to work — nice people, a nice environment. Believe it or not, not too stressful.”
Boss Steve Hoffner, associate vice chancellor for operations, calls Ademovic “a great guy and a wonderful employee.” He recalls one day Ademovic found a lost dog hiding in the bushes near the South 40.
“Sead got out of his vehicle, crawled into the bushes and coaxed the little dog out,” recalled Hoffner. “The dog was trembling and Sead held him and calmed him down.”
Ademovic took the dog to the veterinarian and discovered that it belonged to Barbara Eagleton, the widow of U.S. Sen. Thomas Eagleton.
“It was one cute puppy,” said Ademovic. “A lot of students said, ‘If there is no chip, I’ll take it.’ But I was glad to find the dog’s owner. She was afraid she would never see it again.”
Ademovic lives in Affton with his wife and two daughters who, he hopes, one day will attend Washington University. He has given them a childhood very different from his own in war-torn Bosnia. At 14, Ademovic was forced to flee Srebrenica with his mother and brother.
“My father said, ‘There is a bus leaving. You have to go.’ We didn’t want to leave, but you have to respect your father,” recalled Ademovic. “We got to Slovenia somehow.”
Ademovic does not like to talk about the war, but the horror that befall Srebrenica is both well-documented and horrific. An International Criminal Tribunal found that some 8,000 Bosnian men and boys were killed in 1995 and that tens of thousands of women and children were forcibly expelled.
“Srebrenica was supposed to be a protected United Nations enclave. Turned out it wasn’t,” said Ademovic.
His family had relocated to Phoenix when they discovered an uncle who lived in St. Louis. They moved here immediately and settled in the Bevo neighborhood.
“We had no idea St. Louis has the largest Bosnian population in the United States,” said Ademovic. “It was good to find that community.”
Ademovic’s mother eventually returned to Bosnia. One day, when Ademovic’s baby daughter gets older, he hopes to see her.
“I’m trying to make the best life for my kids and move on,” said Ademovic. “But you look at the world differently once you’ve been through that, once you see everything you love can disappear in a blink of an eye. Small things don’t bother me.”