Ethics and values have always been part of the Jesuit curriculum. But does it make a difference? Associate professor of theology Elizabeth Groppe would argue that it does. As proof, she offers this story of what happened to her this spring:
“I was driving my 5-year-old son to his Suzuki violin lesson. It was a busy week, my husband was out of town and I had many things on my mind—one of which was not keeping an eye on the gas gauge. We hit empty on Interstate 75 North in the middle of rush-hour traffic. I coasted to the shoulder, put on my flashers and tried to reassure my son, who was in tears, that we would not be stuck on the side of the road forever. I tried to flag down a passerby, hoping to borrow a cell phone to call our emergency road service.
“Hundreds of cars went by. Finally, a gentleman in a red pick-up truck pulled up in front of us. He said I was welcome to use his cell phone but suggested it would be simpler to allow him to help me get some gas. The Good Samaritan, it turns out, was a Xavier alum, a graduate of our MA program in criminal justice, named Jason Fowee. He enrolled in the program after discharge from the military where he performed search-and-rescue missions. He helped me transfer my son’s car seat to his truck and tried to help John David feel comfortable by sharing photos of his cats.
“Jason drove us to the nearest gas station, insisted on filling a plastic gas can himself to spare me spillage, and then called the police to ask them to please get someone on the scene to ensure that we could safely refuel the car and move John David between vehicles in the midst of heavy traffic. When we returned to my stranded car, the police were there with lights flashing. My son and I returned safely home thanks to a Jesuit man-for-others.”