Probably the longest running Random Act of Kindness, it has been going on since before there even was a term "Random Acts of Kindness". It's the story of "Picking up Butch". Its a story that'd probably touch even the most cynical person, I believe.

Butch is a 54 year old man with cerebral palsy and for the past 42 years Middlebury College freshman have been picking him up and bringing him to the football and basketball games. It's a tradition that began in 1961 and continues to this day. For every football game, freshman from the basketball team pick him up and bring him to the games; and during basketball season the football players pick him up and bring him to the games. Butch sits on the bench during the basketball games and holds the ball, and gives the players pep talks, he is thought of by the players as "Head Coach".

The players do more, however, than just pick up Butch, while at the games they take very good care of him; feeding him, taking him to the bathroom, making him feel like part of the team and keeping him company.

The tradition started when he was 13 years old and his grandmother was unable to push him home in his wheelchair through the snow, after taking him to a football game. A kind student named Roger Ralph gave them a ride - since then that random act of kindness has taken on a life of its own.

"These kids really care what happens to me," Butch says. "I don't know where I'd be without them. Probably in an institution."
-- Sports Illustrated

This story has gone on since 1961 and his story has finally become famous, being featured in Rick Reilly's "Extra Credit" column in the Sports Illustrated magazine.

The students at Middlebury College do more for Butch than just cart him to sports events, the Volunteer Services Organization has a "Butch Varno Team". The volunteers help him with physical rehabilitation exercises, as well as tutoring him. After 40 years of studying, with the help of tutors, he got his GED in 2001.

When one hears bad stories on the news day after day, it's easy to think there's little good in this world. But stories like this show the true kindness of mankind.


Sports Illustrated, March 10, 2003 pg82

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