Indiana swimmers dream of one day getting the chance to swim at the IUPUI Natatorium.
Eight swimmers of the Harrison swimming and diving team earned that chance this year.
After swimming at state Preliminaries on Friday, February 26, the team went to a restaurant in Indianapolis called Which Wich for dinner.
While they were eating, the Raider swimmers witnessed something that they will never forget.
“The manager came out yelling, and we were all just sitting there shocked,” said Harrison senior Drew Baldwin.
“What had happened is a gentleman had come into the store, had reached over the counter, and grabbed their tip jar and ran out with it,” said Harrison boys swimming and diving coach Beth Brown.
What happened next was something at which to marvel.
One-by-one, in a voluntary act of generosity that would bring unexpected attention to themselves, the Raider swimmers left money where the tip jar used to be.
This kind gesture wouldn’t be forgotten by Beth Brown’s husband, Tracy, on his drive home.
“Coach Brown, Tracy, when he drove home that night, he was thinking about the evening’s events and was really struck by just how cool the guys are, and the Harrison squad, and how people say all kinds of negative stuff about teenagers and how they’re not really on track, and he thought ‘These guys get it,’” said Mrs. Brown “These are good kids, they obviously have a good, strong sense of moral character and they understand what really matters.”
Acting County Commissioner and assistant coach Mr. Brown mulled over that day’s occurrences, and felt that people deserved to know what the young gentlemen of Harrison High School had done.
He turned to Facebook, and posted a short essay highlighting the day and his thoughts.
Soon, his post gained steam and gathered the attention of many.
There they were last Wednesday, March 9, almost two weeks later, and the eight swimmers who participated were pulled out of their class to be interviewed on camera by WLFI.
They had no idea that people were reading about what they had done two weeks prior to that day on Facebook, and had most likely forgotten.
Sophomore Adam Decker, senior Drew Baldwin, and Coach Beth Brown were all featured on the news segment that aired last Wednesday and Thursday on the local news channel, WLFI.
“That move wasn’t really brave of us, it was the right thing to do,” said Baldwin, commenting on his teams actions that day. “So when we gave the tips, it didn’t cross our minds that what we were doing was going to get us publicity. It was the right thing to do. That is why we gave the tips.”
Small gestures such as this restore faith in people’s capacity for kindness.
Indianapolis’s WISH-TV also used the story in a news segment.
“Students first, athletes second, and gentlemen all the time,” says junior Joseph Fraseur, quoting Mrs. Brown’s favorite mantra. “This was just another time to be a gentleman. We saw this act of kindness as a way of making someone else’s night better.”
Swimming and diving team members like to attribute their moral compass to their years on the swim team, but Mrs. Brown thinks differently.
“I think about the overall culture of Harrison as a community, and our student body gets it. I mean we’re very philanthropic. We’re really dedicated to serving the needs of other people. (We’re) really charitable, very generous as an entire school, not just the boys swim team. They’re just kind of a little arm of the bigger wheel I think.”
Mrs. Brown does not want to accredit this kind action to herself, or simply being a member of the swim team, but rather the parents and teachers of these young men.
She believes that she only reinforces the same standards that the members of the swim team have been held to all their lives.
The Raider swimmers did not know that they would gain publicity and recognition, but hopefully this provides a platform for other people to see how simple and important it is to undertake an act of generosity.
Let this be a tip to learn from.
WLFI Story: http://wlfi.com/2016/03/09/harrison-hs-swimmers-pay-it-forward-with-kind-gesture/
WISH-TV Story: http://wishtv.com/2016/03/10/harrison-hs-swimmers-pay-it-forward-with-kind-gesture/