If you live off campus and ride the west shuttle to class, chances are you know who Andrew Gaines is. And, if you’ve rode more than once, chances are he knows who you are. Andrew makes it a point to know the names of every person that rides his shuttle.
“Remembering a name, to me, means that I’m honoring a person,” Gaines said. “That name was given to a person by someone who really loves them. The respect and honor that I give is shown by the effort that I give out to remember that name.”
Hopefully with a quote like that you can begin to see the awesomeness of Andrew. That’s what this article is about: Publicly recognizing and celebrating the awesomeness of Andrew Gaines.
Whether or not this has any business in an opinion section is up for my editor to decide. Then again, if you’re reading this, it must have been deemed so. Either way, consider it somewhere in between an opinion piece and a news profile.
That really doesn’t even matter. What does is publicly recognizing a man that truly inspires me on a daily basis.
Every single time you step foot on Andrew’s shuttle, you’re met with a smile and a hello (which includes your name, of course). When you arrive to campus, he sings a song to the whole shuttle. Seriously. The, “Good morning to you. Good morning to you,” song brings a smile to my face every time I hear it. I’ll bet it has a similar effect on everyone else that rides Andrew’s shuttle. In fact, I’ll bet that anyone who’s reading this article and has ridden Andrew’s shuttle now has the “Good morning to you song,” running through their head.
Andrew inspires people, something I previously would have never thought a shuttle driver could do. He makes our trivial academic worries and daily struggles a little less pressing through sheer … I don’t know, genuineness. He instills in us the thought that, “Hey, if he can be that damn happy, so can I.”
“There are some people that go around with a visible sign on their chest. It says, dead, but not buried yet,” Gaines said. “This wonderful opportunity that we have, to live, to learn, to grow, to develop, to be the best we can, is a gift from God. And some people take it for granted. My philosophy of life is three words: Live your life.”
Exactly. Live your life and stop worrying about the trivial crap. Tests and papers aren’t that big of a deal. Enjoy the ride – literally and figuratively.
Not only does Andrew inspire people, he actually attempts to improve his riders’ academic abilities. Riders of Andrew’s shuttle know that he loves to play booming classical music in the mornings. There’s a reason for this.
“One of my perceived roles is to help students be the best that they can be academically,” Gaines said. “I read somewhere that classical music helps with that process, so, that’s why I play it.”
I’ve had professors that didn’t care this deeply about my academic performance. Andrew does.
The things that come to mind when reflecting on Andrew are words I previously would never have associated with a shuttle driver. Inspirational. Caring. Jovial. Andrew has changed my perception of what a shuttle driver can be, inspiring this article. But don’t get the idea that I’m original in attempting this sort of public recognition.
A quick googling of, “Andrew Gaines Creighton,” produces a student made documentary of, “Creighton’s Philosopher shuttle driver.” It also shows that Andrew was Creighton’s 2008 Ignatius Award Recipient. A 2010 “Omaha World Herald” article also celebrating Andrew’s awesomeness shows up.
So this is by no means the first public recognition Andrew has been given. Then again, I still don’t think it should be the last. I can’t think of a person that deserves more thanks than Andrew Gaines. If you ride the shuttle, stop and thank him yourself. If you don’t, go for a ride just for the heck of it. You might end up being inspired.