Looking at the calendar, Feb. 17, 2022, is earmarked Random Act of Kindness Day, but a group of five Southwestern Community College (SWCC) students didn’t wait for the holiday, performing an unbelievable and unprompted act of kindness one day ahead, on Wednesday, Feb. 16, for a SWCC worker they see every day when they head to SWCC’s on-campus cafeteria, The Spartan Café.
Nash English, freshman welding technology major of Essex; Kurtis Noonan, freshman electrical technology major of Carlisle; Robert Norton, freshman communications major of Trophy Club, Texas; Collin Sager, freshman electrical technology major of Stanberry, MO; and Ross Tiedeman, freshman electrical technology major of Sheldon all met at SWCC last fall. Noonan, Tiedeman, and Sager are roommates in SWCC’s apartment-style student housing and English and Norton are the guys across the hall.
Tyler, as we’ll refer to him, is a quiet guy who comes to work each day at The Caf’ (this is how SWCC students refer to The Spartan Café) with a smile on his face, ready to get the job done.
“Tyler is such a nice guy,” Noonan said. “He’s always in a good mood, and he even dances when he makes your food. He works hard and doesn’t complain.”
“He’s always dancing or cleaning something,” Sager continued.
The five friends had observed Tyler on campus first, noticing his work ethic and friendliness. Later in the fall semester, they started seeing him around town and figured out he got to campus each day on a dilapidated mountain bike.
Recently, the group of students had noticed Tyler’s bike was showing additional wear. They began to wonder how Tyler was even making it to work.
“Collin made a comment that his [Tyler’s] tires were balling up and looked like they could pop,” Tiedeman explained. “I told Ross that we should buy him a bike, so Ross talked to Nash and Nash said ‘yes we should do it, I’ll help out;’ so then we talked and said if a bunch of people all went in together, it really wouldn’t be that much.”
So that’s when the group of five decided to team up and go shopping!
“We would have loved to buy him a car,” Noonan laughed, “but you know, we’re a bunch of college students.”
That night, the five loaded up and headed to the Creston Walmart. Not only did they purchase Tyler a mountain bike, they also purchased a starter pack including a bike lock, headlight, taillight, water bottle holder, and air pump. They kept the bike overnight in their apartment.
The next day, Dan Marcus, Spartan Café food service director, assisted the group. Marcus stopped to pick up Tyler on his way to work so Tyler would not end up having two bikes on campus. The guys texted Marcus to make sure the time was right, and then brought the bike in to The Caf’ to surprise Tyler.
Even retelling the story, the group’s excitement was apparent.
“[Once we got inside with the bike], Dan asked Tyler to come up to the front of the Caf’,” Sager said. “Tyler saw the bike and stopped in his tracks and his mouth dropped open; he was so surprised.”
Normally, the guys said, Tyler is a very quiet shy guy who rarely speaks. This wasn’t the case when he saw his new bike. He was visibly ecstatic.
Next, Tyler took the bike outside and called his mom.
“These awesome guys just game me a brand new bike,” he told his mom.
Then he went one step further and put his mom on speaker phone so she could meet the guys.
“She was like ‘you guys are so cool,’ and told us we were some great students,” Noonan said. “Even after we left, he [Tyler] was still just standing there looking at it [the bike].”
Needless to say, this heartwarming story has spread like wildfire across the SWCC campus. In a time where so often the stories repeated are negative or include derogatory comments or bullying, this is a story of hope, goodness, and promise.
Marcus posted about the good deed yesterday on social media. His post, which was directed to these generous SWCC students, read, “When you think humanity doesn’t care about each other you get blindsided by kindness,” Dan Marcus, food service director at the Spartan Café said. “My employee, Tyler Mood, is one of the most caring, dedicated and just nice people I know. His bike he was riding was down to the wires of his tires and a few of the students pitched in and purchased a new bike for him with all the bells and whistles! Thank you guys for restoring my faith.”
Instructors and SWCC employees are also beaming with pride. Sager said yesterday in class, Jon Oswald, SWCC electrical instructor, told the entire class of the good deed and recognized the five SWCC students.
Pay it Forward Week is an annual event at SWCC in April, but these five definitely have a head start on everyone!
Pictured above right (from left to right): SWCC students Robert Norton, Collin Sager, Kurtis Noonan, Ross Tiedeman, and Nash English.