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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Blustery temperatures inspire warm tomato soup gestures

Kenrick Watkins usually hands out chips, chicken tenders or miniburgers, but on Monday, the samples were cups of tomato soup.

The 20-year-old psychology sophomore said he knew it was going to be cold when he could feel it in the morning.

“I’m usually not cold,” he said. “But when I woke up and things were frosty, and I was freezing, I knew it was cold.”

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures were in the mid-60s when he was handing out the free soups in his red apron and long-sleeve shirt.

Watkins usually stands beside Fletcher Drive outside the Gator Corner Dining Center to hand out samples and promote business for Chomp It, located at Racquet Club Dining Center, where he works as a chef and fills in other areas that need tending.

He held a tray of about 30 shot-sized cups filled with portions of tomato soup he made. The samples people didn’t take steamed until cold gusts stole away their warmth.

Temperatures were forecasted to drop down to the 30s overnight. For today, there should be clear skies with temperatures peaking in the low 60s. The drop in temperatures is expected to remain until the weekend.

About half the people Watkins offered samples to would scoop one up at the opportunity to eat something warm and free.

“That sounds perfect on a day like today,” said 21-year-old business junior Katie Cairnes before she took a sample.

When about a half-dozen lukewarm tomato soups remained on his tray, Watkins made way for the hot pot waiting in the kitchen.

“We usually don’t hand out tomato soup,” he said. “But it’s cold out. We just wanted to give people a little bit of warmth.”

Contact Alex Catalano at

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