When a layer of snow recently fell over the Greater Rochester area, Paul Schmidt, 82, of Penfield, went out to shovel snow a plow had pushed onto the front of his driveway.
While doing so, he uncovered a hidden patch of ice, fell and slid into the street.
Schmidt, who has knee problems, was unable to get up on his own and had to wait for someone to help him. The wait took longer than it should have after two drivers drove around him and kept going on their way.
It was until a busload of Bay Trail Middle School students were dropped off down the street that Schmidt was offered help. The four students — Allison Young, Emma Scanlon, Alec Schickler and John Seabridge — rushed to Schmidt’s aid.
“They asked if I was OK and whether or not they needed to call an ambulance,” Schmidt said
He was bruised, but not injured severely enough to need medical attention. The four middle schoolers tried to help him up, but were unable to do so on their own due to Schmidt’s size. One of the girls ran inside to grab his cane while another went to find something he could use to prop himself up. Their creativity prevailed, and Schmidt was able to get to his feet. One of the boys, John, even finished shoveling his driveway.
Wanting to properly thank his rescuers, Schmidt contacted the school district the next day to get their names. He wrote each one a personal thank you letter, of which included a small sum of money and brought them by the school’s main office.
“Those kids deserved some praise,” he said. “You would think in this day and age someone would stop to help you. Everyone is in a hurry. I thought it was very nice, what these kids did.”
Bay Trail Principal Winton Buddington was proud of the students. He said the school’s motto, “Take care of yourself, take care of others, take care of Bay Trail,” was exactly what the kids demonstrated when they helped out their neighbor.
The motto is something the school emphasizes regularly, be it through programs, events or messages over the loudspeaker.
“To see our students exemplify this outside of school is really encouraging,” Buddington said. “When you hear these stories, it really makes it worth getting up in the morning to go to work and do what you do.”