A thank-you from a grateful Spartan mother
Within a mother, you’ll find a sense of duty to do all that they can to ensure the well-being of their child.
This is true of one Michigan State University alumna. She is not only a Spartan — she’s a mother, as well. She, along with her husband, are both Spartan alumni with a daughter attending MSU. In recent weeks, they placed an anonymous advertisement in the State News — not an advertisement of goods and services, but an advertisement of thanks.
The advertisement, placed on Oct. 13, reads as follows:
“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to the young man who was kind enough and a real gentleman in helping to get our daughter home safely from a night of celebrating. You advised that you have a sister and would want her to get home safely. I wish we could thank you personally and if you read this, please thank your parents for raising a kind and helpful young man.”
The State News contacted the woman, who agreed to further discuss her reasons for placing the advertisement. As per a request from her, the State News has withheld her name and her daughter’s name in order to maintain their privacy.
The mother explained the chain of events that led up to her and her husband’s decision to place the advertisement.
“She went to a party with a bunch of friends,” she explained. “They were all drinking, and she’s not a big drinker. She said, ‘By the time I left, I was fine. I knew where I was, I knew how to get home.’ ... They all peeled off at some point, and she had no one to walk home with.”
The mother explained that her daughter then called her brother, who attends school in Virginia. At that point, a person had begun to follow her.
“There was a young man walking behind her, who called out to her a couple times and it kind of made her a little bit alarmed,” she said. “She kept going and she was on the phone with (her brother)."
The daughter decided to continue walking until she reached an area where it would be safer to address the person.
“She waited until she got in front of the police department before she turned around and asked this guy what he wanted,” the mother said. “And he just said, ‘Look, do you need help getting home?’”
The young man told her daughter of how he had sisters himself, and how he wouldn’t want them out walking alone by themselves. He offered to walk her to wherever she needed to go. Initially, the daughter was cautious.
“She said, ‘Okay, but I’ve got my brother on the phone, don’t try anything,’ and he was very respectful and walked in silence to her apartment,” said the mother.
The mother confirmed that her daughter made it home safely.
A worst-case scenario
The mother contemplated the entire situation with relief as to how it was resolved, but she was still wary of what might have happened had the young man not acted in the way that he did.
“I just thought, ‘Oh my gosh, what could have happened?’” the mother said. “It was horrible. We live in the town of Brock Turner. He lived up the street from us and graduated with our daughter,” she explained.
In 2016, Turner — a Stanford University student athlete — was convicted in California of three counts of felony sexual assault. The case, which made national headlines and generated a wider conversation on campus sexual assault, serves as a nightmarish example of a situation that the mother would never want her daughter to experience. She reflected upon Turner’s case and its chilling details.
“I’m thinking I don’t want my daughter behind a dumpster, or my son, anybody,” she said, in reference to the place where Turner assaulted the 22-year-old female victim of his crimes.
Why she placed the ad
The mother said that she later felt compelled to reach out to the young man who had assisted her daughter.
“I thought that was so kind of him to look out for someone he didn’t even know, make sure she got home safely,” she said. “I just felt like we needed to do something to call attention to his decency. I didn’t know what to do to thank the young man, so I thought, ‘I just have to do something, I’ll put an ad in the paper.’”
What she would say to the young man
The mother does not know who assisted her daughter, but she does know what she would say to him if they ever came face-to-face.
“I would tell him that we appreciate that, and that his parents raised a good kid,” she said.
The outcome of the situation, and how the young man acted in it, also left her feeling a sense of hope for the future.
“I hope that there’s a lot more people like that young man out there, looking out for their sisters, or somebody that they see as a sister, or another female,” said the mother. “It doesn’t have to be a sister or a mom. It’s another human being. You don’t have to say, ‘Oh, I have a sister, too,’ which is what he did, and I love that, but she’s a human being. It gives me hope that there’s more people out there that are kind and respectful and empathetic and want to do the right thing.”