Feb 092005
Authors: Johnathan Kastner

RamRide doesn't ask questions. It doesn't want to know why you need a ride, what you've been doing or why your shirt smells like that. All it wants is to get you from Point A to Point B, making the streets safer and your nights nicer.

When I asked my driver, Brian Hardouin, senior electrical engineering major and director of the RamRide program, why he'd want to do anything so unnervingly kind and helpful for the community, he replied, "That warm fuzzy feeling inside, free food and free drink."

That being settled, I sat in the backseat of the comfy rented van and interviewed groups and singles as they filed in. The only condition of my ride-along was that I tell all the passengers I was with the paper. For some unfathomable reason, all of them wanted their antics to remain anonymous.

Our first pickup was with a group of friends, one of whom felt compelled to remove my headrest. That was the quiet one. The talkative one expressed admiration of anyone willing to come to peoples' aid.

The praise didn't stop there. RamRide received hearty applause on all four of the pickups I sat in on. The program earned it — RamRide is quite professional about it all. A second volunteer acts as the navigator, giving directions to the driver and status updates to the RamRide base. As the night went on, an interesting pattern in verbal gratitude for the ride formed — "You guys rock. You freaking rock."

Hardouin, my driver, described a favorite drunken caller asking for a ride. It was Halloween night, and one can already imagine the myriad horrors, but this one was rather simple. A phone call to the effect of, "I need a ride. I'm the one wearing a towel." This story left me vaguely horrified, but Hardouin kept calmly driving, unaffected by his retelling.

It was a relatively quiet night, with no passing out or messing of the van. Thankfully, volunteers at RamRide help keep the night this way — quieter and safer for both passengers and drivers.

Want to get that warm, fuzzy do-gooder feeling? Need to work off some community service? Volunteer for RamRide! Call 491-5931

You must be older than 21 to volunteer

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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