Making a new friend at the end of a long night

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Home,” I instructed, sitting in the backseat. When my driver asked where home was, I directed him to Hoghetto Hall. Patrick dropped me off at my door within minutes.

My first encounter with Patrick the Safe Ride driver was brief and unexpected, but I feel that we have cultivated an unusual relationship, to say the least. Two of my best friends introduced us (we’ll refer to them as Smashley and Schmudith to protect their identities and record amount of shenanigans) in October. The ride to Delta Upsilon fraternity was just too far to trek by foot, so Smashley pulled out her cell phone. The assistant answered the call and stated that Safe Ride is full.

“Put Patrick on the phone,” is all Smashley says.

Safe Ride pulls up to Hogate within 4 minutes.

It is Monon Bell game day. We lost, but it doesn’t matter anymore, because it is that time of year when fraternities have up to four registered parties within a three-day period. We are walking to Delta Tau Delta fraternity when we see those flashing lights. Running to the door, Schmudith yells a happy hello to Patrick.

Two minutes later we are at Delt.

It’s December. It’s dark. It’s cold. And it’s movie night in Lucy Rowland Hall. I pull out my cell phone and call my favorite person.

Now it’s Winter Term. Explanation enough. All Patrick gives is his standard piece of advice: “There’s always more tomorrow.”

Patrick is a wise man.

Second semester rolls around, and along with it come flower-ins, new friends in upperclassmen places and that beautiful weekend known as Little 5. With Sigma Chi fraternity as my witness, I am out and about as much as I can, but if there’s no one to walk home with me (or I am suddenly hit by the struggle bus), I don’t think twice about calling Patrick to give me a life and a word or two of wisdom.

Safe Ride is God’s gift to DePauw’s campus, and it often surprises me that more students don’t utilize it. Yes, the campus is small and nestled in a tiny town with a low crime rate. But accidents happen. You don’t know everyone. And certain weekends (or weekdays) offer the terrifying possibility of Public Safety looming around every corner. DePauw Student Government President Christine Walker, a senior, wrote an article for HerCampus DePauw that deals with the presence of sexual assaults on campus and ways to protect oneself. Not only is it nice to have a ride on the weekends after a visit to your favorite fraternity, but that lonely after-dark walk to the library can also be avoided with a simple phone call, guaranteeing safety instead of just assuming you have it.

Patrick and his team of various navigators are paid by DePauw to help keep us safe. There is no judgment, no real questions, nothing. It’s only there to serve the students. Granted, students have a responsibility to their condition while at their preferred location. Excessive intoxication is cause for concern while in the Safe Ride vehicle, but in all honesty no one should be in that condition as it is.

So let’s conclude with a hypothetical scenario. It’s Jersey Thursday at Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. You’ve been seen sporting a Team America jersey and your neon fanny pack of choice. You’ve laughed and danced and discussed GTL in-depth. It is now 1:21 a.m. and you’re tired. Who ya gonna call? Patrick.

— Sharlow is a freshman from Powell, Ohio, majoring in vocal performance and communications.

opinion@thedepauw.com