Taking care of a grossly intoxicated college student stranded in New Haven isn’t exactly what freshmen Dylan Rupprecht, Samantha MacDaniel and Luke McHugh expected when they ventured downtown for the first time at the start of the school year.
That evening, the trio had decided to visit the local club scene. At the end of the night, a young man stumbled (quite literally) out of a different club and into the group as they waited for the UNH shuttle to arrive. That’s when Rupprecht noticed something was not right.
“I had never seen anyone this intoxicated before in my life,” Rupprecht said, recalling the encounter.
The individual appeared to be a college student, but it became clear that his state of intoxication would make it difficult to obtain any identifying information.
“If you’ve ever been in driver’s ed and watched those videos where people try to say words after an accident, but they mumble—he kind of sounded like that,” Rupprecht said. “You could not understand a word he said.”
The students proceeded to ask the individual’s name, but to no avail. While trying to communicate with the young man, MacDaniel noticed something even more alarming: “He was completely alone,” she said.
Minutes passed before a group of five guys and girls approached, claiming to be the friends of the clearly drunk male. However, their arrival was not the blessing Rupprecht, MacDaniel and McHugh had been hoping for. One of the girls had apparently driven, and refused to take her friend back, fearing that he would damage the inside of the car.
“They said ‘take him, we don’t want him. He’s going to throw up in our car,’” Rupprecht said.
This comment made MacDaniel uneasy.
“At that point we were really annoyed that they just wanted to leave him,” MacDaniel said. “We were like, ‘we’ll take care of him.’”
According to Rupprecht, the girl did not ask for their names, where they were from or who they were. “They just walked away after that,” Rupprecht said. The well-being and safety of the stranger now lay in the hands of the three UNH students.
Finally, the individual mumbled that he was from Sacred Heart University (SHU) in Fairfield, Conn. At this point, the three did not know how valid the information was, but they figured that Sacred Heart would be a safe place to take him, being that it was a Catholic university.
They then got a cab, got in with the student and paid for the entire ride to Fairfield. On the ride, the individual passed out, and the group became worried. However, when they arrived on the Sacred Heart security gate, he was able to speak, and public safety and the Director on Duty were immediately contacted.
When he was explaining his story to the security guard, Rupprecht said, the individual said that it was his first night in Connecticut. “I think that was his first night at college, and he went to downtown New Haven with a whole bunch of people that at the time he considered his friends. And even as he restated his story he’s like, ‘I guess they’re not my friends.’”
An hour and $140 later, the three students returned to UNH.
Leonora P. Campbell, Assistant Dean for Student Conduct & Community Standards at SHU, contacted the UNH Dean of Students Rebecca Johnson and Associate Dean of Students Ric Baker the next day and commended the three students for their actions, calling them “good Samaritans.”
Reflecting back on the course of events, Rupprecht said he knew that he just had to help. “I just knew right away that this guy was in a whole bunch of trouble. He was by himself in New Haven late at night. I just knew that wasn’t good,” he said.
“We’re all really caring people, we didn’t want to see him sit there or hurt himself,” MacDaniel said.
McHugh was unavailable for comment.
The students are in the process of receiving a taxi credit for the money they spent getting the student back to his university.