Here is a thing that happens to every parent: There’s somewhere you absolutely have to be — your current livelihood and possibly your future success depend on it — and all of your regular childcare options fall through. So often, they wind up staying home, knowing they’ll suffer for it. But sometimes, like in the case of one student at Morehouse College, they go with option B and bring the kid along.
On Friday, Nick Vaughn witnessed this scene in his math class, when his classmate, Wayne Hayer, showed up wearing his baby daughter in a carrier. The father explained to their professor, Nathan Alexander, that he couldn’t find a babysitter.
“No problem, in fact I will even hold her so you can take better notes in class,” Vaughn quoted Alexander as saying on his viral Facebook post.
It turns out that this wasn’t a complete surprise.
“I try to tell my students early in the semester that if they ever need anything from me, to be in touch with me to let them know, and I really work to let them know that I mean that,” Alexander tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Hayer had mentioned in a previous conversation that getting his daughter from place to place sometimes prevented him from attending office hours and study sessions.
“I said feel free to bring her to my office,” Alexander says. “And Friday, he walks into the class and he says, ‘Hey, you said if I need anything to let you know. Here she is.’ ”
Alexander is the James King Jr. Visiting Professor of Mathematics Teaching at Morehouse, where he teaches mathematics education, statistical and mathematical modeling, and social networks and graphs. This particular course was algebra for liberal arts majors, he says. Because he keeps the atmosphere collaborative, with students teaching each other and writing on the white board, the baby’s presence wasn’t all that distracting.
“She was really well behaved,” he says. “I think we all enjoyed having her energy.”
Other students responding on Twitter said this was something they would expect from Alexander.
“@professornaite is one of my favorite professors!! Genuinely cares for the students and sacrifices his personal time always to help in any way possible. Nothing but respect (Ps. Sorry i wasnt in class today lol),” wrote @mustbethehype.
When sharing this anecdote on Twitter and Facebook, Vaughn said that Alexander’s gesture was part of the supportive environment students get at the all-male, historically black university.
“Not saying that at a [predominantly white institution] you won’t find this act, but here on the campus of Morehouse one of the iconic [historically black colleges and universities] in the world, it just felt more caring and from the heart,” Vaughn wrote.
Alexander agrees to some extent. “We build community, we make sure that we support our students in whatever they need, and that’s part of my commitment,” he says, but adds, “What I want to make sure that I underline is that I’m not special. Teachers do this stuff every day in their own way.”
Some commenting on Twitter recounted similar stories of parents relying on understanding educators.
“I used to take my son to class when I had him,” @witcheesepls wrote. “It was my last year but all my professors were very supportive! Glad to see there are other professors out there like that.”
And for all the praise being offered to Alexander, a few wanted to applaud Hayer for deciding not to give up on his education for the day.
“Huge respect for the prof obviously, but can we talk about the dad still showing up in the first place?!” wrote @LAM1086. “That’s one strong and dedicated student/parent. I woulda cried and stayed my ass home.”
This is a point that Alexander hopes that others can take away from this story, too. Not every professor can carry a baby during class, and not every kid would stand for that either.
“This brings attention to that fact that we need to sort of think about some of the systemic inequities for people that struggle with affording childcare,” Alexander says. “Women deal with this all the time as mothers, and so do men as fathers.”
Stars react to Luke Perry's death at 52
Stars react to Luke Perry's death at 52
I will forever bask in the loving memories we've shared over the last thirty years. May your journey… https://t.co/BjxhlMuZ2N
With the heaviest of hearts, I am stunned and devastated to tell you that Luke passed away. I am still in shock and I have no words beyond saying he was a truly kind gentleman. He will be mourned and missed by everyone who knew him and the millions who love him.
RIP, dearie Luke. Your time here was far too short.
My heart is broken. I will miss you so much Luke Perry. Sending all my love to your family. ❤️ #LukePerry
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My entire high school experience was shaped by Brenda and Dylan. Now I have to hold my dear friend @theshando hand, while she mourns the loss of #lukeperry This is not how it’s supposed to happen. I hope his family knows many lives he touched. “I chose. I chose you. I want you. I’ve always wanted you” - my favorite quote
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Luke Perry was just 52 and gone way too soon. Please take a moment to note the signs of a stroke. https://t.co/YMRB3PKlm9
IN SHOCK. DEAR GOD... Luke Perry, ‘90210’ and ‘Riverdale’ Star, Dies at 52 https://t.co/4yEQvqUd72 via @variety
This is so so sad. Luke Perry has died at the age of 52 after suffering a massive stroke. He was surrounded by his… https://t.co/mJRuXwLP6P
Condolences to the family of Luke Perry. 😞
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RIP Luke Perry. 💔 https://t.co/g6rR5lqLUG
52 - too young 💔 #RIPLukePerry https://t.co/tdTw76lAXV
Heartbroken to hear of the passing of Luke Perry 💔
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Luke Perry was humble and kind every time we crossed paths. I’m so sorry to hear of his passing.
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your giant heart,
My heart hurts 💔 One of my first jobs was a guest appearance on 90210. My scenes were with Luke. I had a crush on him for so long and getting to work with him was a dream come true. I just remember him being a super humble and really nice guy.
RIP Luke Perry .. big love to his friends and family ❤️😔🙏🏼tragic
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RIP Luke Perry. In high school we all wanted to be as cool as you.
Younger generations know him from Riverdale, but it's truly difficult to overstate how big a star Luke Perry was during the 90210 heyday
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RIP Luke Perry, at just 52 years of age, following a massive stroke.
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Luke Perry. Ugh. Condolences to his family.
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Total shock #lukeperry has passed away! So young and vibrant. This never gets easy but god must have some Serious plans for this lovely man clearly he just got his wings. Sending prayers and condolences to his family and friends. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
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#LukePerry, beloved star of “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Riverdale” has died at 52. https://t.co/K6f8I2i8G6
I had the pleasure and honor of meeting Mr. Luke Perry many times, most recently this past October in NYC. Devastat… https://t.co/klTGtwU4yh
Sorry to hear about the passing of Luke Perry, he was always such a good guy and a gentleman...
Luke Perry 💔
Such a sweet, sweet man and a talented actor. I feel blessed to have had the chance to work with him… https://t.co/diRzcFLx2J
We are saddened by the passing of Ohioan and Browns fan, Luke Perry.
Our thoughts are with his friends and family.… https://t.co/XYrlX3mpfJ