It’s a Thursday night. Three people are sitting in the SGA office chatting about their personal lives, eating pizza and working on homework, when all of a sudden the phone rings. One sprints for the phone while the other two grab the keys. About a minute later the phone call is over and the other two are off the van and on the road. A night of Safe Ride just began.
Safe Ride runs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Its purpose is to provide a safe way home for any Castleton State College student — and you don’t have to be intoxicated.
“It is not the drunk bus, it is a safe ride home for everyone,” said Safe Ride coordinator Brooke Surprenaut.
The biggest problem with Safe Ride is that is it hard to staff, although this semester it has run every scheduled night.
“I have called before this year and it wasn’t running. I am glad that it is more reliable now,” said Castleton student Corrie Keener.
It is more reliable because dedicated students volunteer. But why do they do it?
Erica Bilodeau volunteers her time because last year there were cases when she was off campus and Safe Ride wasn’t running and she wanted to get back to campus but couldn’t. Even though she was not intoxicated, it was a long walk that she did not want to do by herself.
Alyson Wheeler gives Safe Ride her time because of past experiences. Last year during Halloween she had gotten written up and she wanted to do Safe Ride before that but it was a good excuse to do it. Now she volunteers her time because she likes it.
“It’s fun and I like doing it. It a great resource on campus for people to use,” said Wheeler.
According to Wheeler, her best experience happened one night when she was answering phones. A guy kept calling her thinking that she was his best friend. He had talked to her about a lot of things including his goldfish. Even after she kept telling him that she needed to go, he wouldn’t stop. When they did hang up he would call her back again, this went on for what felt like two hours said Wheeler.
Wheeler is not the only volunteer with funny stories from working Safe Ride. Suprernaut explained that one night when she was driving the van and a young man had to use the restroom. It was her first or second time doing Safe Ride when she was taking a group of people down North Road to their house on the lake. The student told her he had to pee. They were almost there so she asked if he could make it to back to his house because it wasn’t safe to pull over.
“All of a sudden the girl I was driving with motioned for me to look in the back. They guy was standing up putting his stuff out the window peeing,” said Surprenaut smiling trying to hold back from laughing.
When you do Safe Ride you get benefits like these stories. You also get a free pizza and after 15 hours of service or three nights you get a free tee shirt and after 25 hours or five nights you get a free sweatshirt. Drivers also get paid $45 a night, but they must have a fleet license.
“After my first night I realized it is fun. You hear funny stories on the van and you are with people all night,” Bilodeau said.