As Southern Miss media production student Charles Givens was leaving his class on the third floor College Hall on Thursday, he encountered a problem.
“I was leaving to go to my next class and the elevator was stuck,” Givens said.
Givens, who uses a wheelchair, was making his way to the Liberal Arts Building for his 1 p.m. English 203 class. With the elevator out of service, fellow classmates Stephen Austin, Hayden Comans, JerMarkus Wilder and Bailey Aultman stepped in to lend a helping hand.
Wilder, who had met Givens last semester, immediately went to work when he found out that
“I knew Charles from last semester,” Wilder said. “When he came down and said they that they needed help, I just went up and tried to help them.”
The four students then decided that the best course of action was to physically carry Givens’ motorized wheelchair from the third floor to the first floor using one of the main stairwells in the building.
Givens watched as his classmates used their combined strength to slowly, but steadily carry his wheelchair down the flights of stairs, taking small breaks at each stair landing to recover from the heavy lifting.
“He needed to get down and he had to get to class,” Comans said. “We had to help, somehow.”
After the wheelchair was successfully lowered to the first floor, Givens expressed his gratitude to his classmates for lending a helping hand and allowing him to make his class on time.
“I was very touched that they cared enough to try to figure out a way to help me,” Givens said. “Very, very touched.”