A Georgia professor went above and beyond his teaching duties last month when a student brought her infant daughter to class.
Dr. Jewrell Rivers, of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia, wasn’t fazed when the student, unable to find a babysitter, brought the baby girl to his lecture course on Nov. 30. The baby sat quiet for most of the class, but later began to get a little “fussy,” Taylor Uliana tells PEOPLE, noting that Rivers quickly took action.
“Our professor jumped up without any hesitation — he’s a very quiet, simple man — he jumped up and said, ‘May I take her on a ride?’ ” Uliana recalls. “[The student] looked at him and she said, ‘Sure.’ He walked out of the classroom with the stroller with the biggest grin on his face and was riding up and down the halls in front of our classrooms for about a combined time of 15 minutes.”
Photos of the sweet incident showed Rivers outside the classroom door, pushing the stroller and leaning toward the baby girl. Uliana, who sat next to the student, tells PEOPLE that the rest of the class finished their assignments while Rivers played with the baby — “He was dancing and smiling!” she adds. The student chuckled at the professor’s sweet gesture.
“Then he came back with the biggest smile on his face and said, ‘We had a great time. Now let’s go over the answers,'” Uliana says. “We just carried on class like it was absolutely normal. Right before class ended, he just looked at her and said, ‘I’m so glad we had a visitor today. Brightened my day!’ ”
Uliana, an 18-year-old freshman at the school, shared the story on Facebook along with the photos. The post has amassed nearly 3,000 “likes” and has been shared more than 800 times. She says Rivers has been enjoying the attention.
“I walked into class yesterday and he looked at me and just said, ‘You!’ and pointed at me with a smile,” Uliana tells PEOPLE. “He said, ‘I really appreciate what you did. I live a very quiet life, so it’s been different.’ He just said, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’ ”
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While the students enjoyed the class excitement, Uliana says the incident proved to teach them a lesson perfect for the sociology course.
“In my class, we focus on social problems … we’ve been talking about different things in our society that could hold people back from advancing and different social situations that impact our life that we can’t change such as race, gender, our education,” she began.
“We’ve been talking about the odds and how they’re not very favorable for a single mother trying to pursue an education and here she is, doing what ever she can. And my professor goes out of his way … to make sure she has the opportunity, just like all of us, to pursue her education.”