Candyman still operating despite COVID-19

Candyman still driving despite COVID-19

Uber and Lyft driver Troy Boyer, is hoping to bring a sense of normalcy to the SU campus by continuing to hand out candy and engage with the community.
Published: October 19, 2020
The Syracuse Candyman, Troy Boyer, stands on the corner of Comestock Avenue and Marshall Street near SU's campus.
The Syracuse Candyman, Troy Boyer, stands on the corner of Comstock Avenue and Marshall Street near SU's campus.

When Syracuse University shut down campus in March amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Troy Boyer, aka the “Cuse Candyman,” was disappointed. 

“I consider all the students like family,” Boyer said. “It hurt to see them all leave.” 

Since 2017, he’s been an Uber and Lyft driver, working solely on SU’s campus during the school year. And his car rides are anything but typical. He’s driven thousands of students throughout the area, blasting music, handing out candy, and ultimately earning the “Cuse Candyman” nickname. Throughout the summer, he feared the pandemic would sideline him from continuing his beloved job. 

It was a whirlwind of doubt, he said; handing out candy in a Toyota Rav 4 seemed impossible during the pandemic. Hundreds of times, he debated whether to take the year off. It was a difficult decision, he said — one that revolved around his battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma, which he recovered from in 2012. But he felt obligated to find a way to make it work. “Well, I am the Candyman,” he thought.


It clicked one day. Boyer thought about how back in March, he would disinfect all his groceries before entering his house and then an idea dawned on him. He wanted to be safe, but also give riders the same worthwhile experience. So he decided to compromise, instead of driving every night, he decided to only drive on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Each afternoon, upon returning home from his day job at the Onondaga County Water Department, he sanitizes his car. He washes the outside first and then the whole inside, not missing any seat crevice. He vacuums, and then goes in and wipes the seats and doors. Then, he checks to see if the hand sanitizer bottles in the cupholders are full. And last, he steams and sanitizes the seats. 

But he doesn’t stop there, he makes sure to take out the candy from the previous night and put in a fresh batch, ensuring that no piece of candy is in his car for more than 24 hours. After that, he packages to-go bags with gloves and masks. He said he has been going through around 100 masks per week. 

The entire sanitizing process takes him two hours each day he drives, he said. In order to be on campus by 9pm, he begins his routine at 6 on the dot. While he’s on the job, he sanitizes door handles and seat belts every two to three rides.

Boyer’s protocols have made SU student’s lives a little less stressful, said Hannah Nolan, a junior at SU. Nolan, who has ridden with the Candyman once this semester. “I think he’s done a great job of adapting to the changes that needed to be made because of COVID-19,” she said. “I didn’t expect him to have much candy — if any — because of the pandemic to be honest. I was excited to see that he found a way to work around it” said Nolan. 

Nolan added that the Candyman has provided a sense of normalcy to campus. The mere fact that he is up-and-running helps students cope with the unknowns and abnormalities of the pandemic, she said.