The Scroll: Snow Turns Students Into Good Samaritans

There is nothing like a little snow to turn Tommies into roving Good Samaritans.

I recently received or read three emails or letters to the editor praising St. Thomas students for brushing snow and scraping ice from the car of an 80-year-old woman, as well as changing her flat tire, and for pushing two other motorists stuck in the foot of snow we received Dec. 9.

Doug Hennes

Doug Hennes

As an administrator who tends to hear from neighbors only when there are complaints about students, the opportunity to read not one, not two but three “thank-you” notes was a welcome respite … and made me think that this winter weather isn’t so bad after all.

Here are excerpts from the correspondence:

A Mendota Heights woman, writing in the Dec. 15 “Sainted and Tainted” column of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, said she has an aunt who has lived near St. Thomas for 80 years. A few months ago, the aunt and her brother got a flat tire, and “two St. Thomas boys came by and changed it for them,” the niece wrote. During the recent storm, two students saw the aunt brushing snow from her car and offered to do it for her. “Later in the day,” the niece wrote, “she went out to scrape the ice from the car when two more young men from St. Thomas offered to help again!”

An email came from a neighbor hung up on ice while driving up the Marshall Avenue hill near Cretin Avenue. “We couldn't get going again after we stopped,” he said. “The car only went from side to side. But a group of young men and women – they looked like college students – spontaneously got behind our car and pushed us. … I didn't get your names, but thank you, thank you and thank you! There are a lot of negative things said about college students’ actions in our neighborhood but I think we need to acknowledge all the good that is done as well.”

Another neighbor wrote to Father Dennis Dease and Jane Canney, president and vice president for student affairs, to thank four students who helped her and her daughter extricate their car from a snow mound on Summit Avenue. They “pushed me out when the car got stuck (more than once),” she wrote, and then helped another stuck driver. “I told them they restored my faith in the good nature of people and in the youth of today and didn’t know how to thank them,” she said. “They told me to just pay it forward and help someone else when I can.” When the mom and her daughter got home and noticed their elderly neighbor’s driveway wasn’t shoveled, “guess what (we) did?” she asked. “What a great feeling we had when we saw him the next morning open his garage and wonder where all the snow went on his driveway.”

The woman concluded: “Thanks to your students not only for pushing me out of the snow mound but for spreading the true Christmas spirit and inspiring my daughter to act with kindness.”

Merry Christmas, yes! And we’ll see you around the ’hood when the next storm hits.