Suddenly the heavens opened. It wasn’t just rain, it was heavy torrential rain. I was in the Refectory; I had my suit on. I had a meeting I needed to reach which was in Aspinwall Hall. I considered my options. I thought about asking Facilities to dig a tunnel between the Refectory and Aspinwall Hall. I thought about texting Dave Mutscheller and, in a manifest abuse of power, asking him to drive me across. Then I saw Shawn Evelyn.
He had just walked in with an umbrella. “Ah perfect”, I said, “can I borrow your umbrella?” Over the next few minutes we agonized. How would Shawn get out of the Refectory? How would I get the umbrella back to him? Then finally, Shawn broke the logjam. “Just take it”, he said. “I will be fine.”
So I walked back in the rain; I was on time for my meeting. And I was grateful. It was a simple solution to a problem; but a solution that potentially created a problem for Shawn that he was happy to handle. It was a simple act of kindness – one that I am confident Shawn would have done for anyone (I just happened to be his dean). It was a healthy moment of generosity and trust. It wasn’t dramatic, but it was helpful. Thank you Shawn. And if your want the umbrella back, then do please come and retrieve it.