Somewhere on campus, a biochem grad student teaching an intro level course has offered his students extra credit for donating boxes of non-perishable foodstuffs to the unnamed university’s food pantry/adopt-a-family project. This afternoon, the grad student’s offer produced the interesting result of a young woman at the Circ Desk in the library where I work, offering materials for our project families. The perplexed department supervisor called me, asking that I come from my lair in a dark corner of the basement to cope with this terrifying crisis. At first, I didn’t understand why she had come from a biochem class to this corner of the campus, a humanities library, but she spoke slowly and explained in tiny words that she would leave the foodstuffs with me in exchange for a letter including her name and student number and describing what she was donating. A letter? I write letters all day and I was pretty confident I could do that, so I accepted the bag and quick-walked her back to my lair. She said, “I didn’t know this part of the building existed,” and “You’d think this would smell funny,” as I laid out the donations and typed up a list, added her details and signed my name. She promised she would return with more donations. I thanked her effusively and took the bag of donations to a department where the collecting was going a bit slowly. The perplexed department head examined each item with an expression of wonder. It doesn’t matter why the student suddenly appeared. She did, when someone needed her to, when inspiration was needed. Somewhere, a biochem grad student has filled other rooms with light.
That is the kind of surprise I can live with.