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By Chris Helvajian

I have two fun stories to share with all of you this week. These fall under the motif of surprise. As always, names and colleges have been removed or changed.

Tour Interrupted
In my sophomore year I was asked to give a tour to a rather large group of prospective students and families. I noticed one of the students had a video camera and was ready to film the tour. He was polite and asked if he could take some shots for his high school film class. Not an uncommon request, I’ve had visitors take pictures and film parts of my tour before so I said, “No problem.”

We’re making our way through campus and this student is asking some really pointed questions. Things like, “should your school have spent so much money on that building?” and “what about that club, do people even care about it?” It seemed like had an agenda, but I answered as best I could and moved on.

As we round the final turn to come back and complete the tour, we pass a parking lot. There’s a large white van parked next to the path we’re on, and all of a sudden, six men in ski masks jump out and head toward our group! They’re shouting, “Nobody move!” and “You’re coming with us!” And then they haul the student with the camera away as he’s kicking and screaming!

The parents are understandably shocked, and I’m standing there without a clue what to do next. One of the dads on the tour starts laughing and as I look at him he’s pointing at the back of the van. There are huge greek letters on it with the words “Courtesy Of” just above them.

Turns out the student with the camera was a current junior who thought it’d be funny to get fake kidnapped by his fraternity brothers on my tour. Classic.

Lesson: Never trust a kid with a video camera.

Part of the Team
I roomed with a couple of baseball players throughout my first two years in college. They were great guys, and a lot of fun to be around, but they had this weird habit of slapping each other on the butt all the time. It was a remnant from being on the baseball field and was a constant theme in our room. Any little accomplishment or small victory merited a big ol’ slap on the butt.

I think they knew I thought it was strange, so they started to do it to me during my tours. Like a lot of tour guides, I walked backward so I never knew when it was coming. It became a game for the rest of the baseball team too. I’d be talking about the business school and …WHAP! Basketball gym… WHAP! Internships… WHAP!

The record for one tour was 24 slaps.

Lesson: Sometimes you’re part of the team but you just don’t know it.