'Good Samaritan' students exemplify true spirit of Waynesburg

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As an Admissions Counselor at Waynesburg University who’s also an alumnus, I have the privilege of sharing my experience daily with prospective students and families. One of the most often asked questions is a simple one: “What’s your favorite part about Waynesburg?”

Easy.

It’s the people.

I know, I know…cliché, right? But my parents always taught me not to lie, and if I responded with any other answer, I’d be lying. So many just good, quality people who truly embody the mission of the University walk the campus each day, and that was my favorite part about being a student and remains my favorite part as a staff member.

When I talk about my student experience, I always point to how much the faculty and staff truly care about the holistic development of each student and how much they pour into the students’ lives. Students can gain so much insight from watching faculty and staff members live their lives each day, but yesterday, for this staff member, the roles were reversed as the actions of a group of students showed me what it truly means to be a part of the Waynesburg University community.

On my way home from the Admissions Office last evening, I saw a little boy, maybe four or five years old, running on a sidewalk just off campus. At first, I didn’t think much of it. Spring had just begun a few hours earlier (although it didn’t much feel like it), and the kid just wanted to be outside. Heck, I was planning to strap on the running shoes, myself, as soon as I got home.

Then, as I was almost past the boy, I noticed his feet—shoeless. All he had on was a pair of white socks. I drove a bit further and realized there were no adults or older siblings around, either. It was then that my eyes shot down to my driver’s side mirror. In the reflection, I could see the boy attempting to flag down the next two cars that passed by. Neither stopped. At that point, I immediately proceeded to the intersection straight ahead and navigated a U-turn.

I pulled up next to the boy, rolled down my window and asked if everything was OK. It became apparent right away from the boy’s reaction that everything was not “OK.” Through tears, he forced out that his mother wasn’t home, he didn’t know where she was and he didn’t know where to go. When asked if he knew exactly where home was, he could only point in a general direction.

As I decided upon a course of action, another car pulled alongside me and asked the same question I had posed to the boy: “Is everything OK?” I explained the situation, and immediately that car, along with a third vehicle, pulled off to the side of the road in front of me. Out jumped a group of four Waynesburg University students, two guys and two girls. The girls made a beeline straight for the little boy, putting their arms around him and wrapping him in an extra sweatshirt. (In my own ignorance, I had nearly failed to realize that the boy was donning just a t-shirt in temperatures that had been dropping throughout the day.)

Moments later, we made the call to University Security, who relayed our message onto the Borough Police. Within minutes, a police officer arrived to provide assistance, followed closely by two University Security personnel.

The group of students, however, did not seem to want to depart. They hovered around the scene, wanting to ensure that the boy was returned to where he needed to be. Only after I explained that University Security had assured me they needed no further assistance from us did the group of students find it permissible to leave.

As I made the short trek home, I couldn’t help but be proud of how the group of students reacted to the situation. And I couldn’t help but draw the parallel to Jesus’s parable of the Good Samaritan in the 10th chapter of Luke. Just like the priest and Levite passed by the robbed, beaten man in Biblical times, so too did two cars pass by the lost little boy, even as he was pleading for their assistance with the waving of his arms. If I hadn’t realized my initial mistake and turned around, however, I have absolutely no doubts that the group of students would have come to the aid of that little boy, much like the Good Samaritan thousands of years earlier.

How blessed, I thought, I am to work at a University where the students possess such strong morals and Godly character.

What’s my favorite part about Waynesburg?

Easy.

It’s the people.