Two U.S. tourists traveling in London last spring were so grateful for the help they received navigating the city's Byzantine subway system, that they penned a letter praising their benefactors, Texas A&M construction science students Colin Spencer and Ian Stephenson, and sent it to Joe Horlen, head of the construction science department.
“These two young men were fine examples of what is best with America,” wrote the wayward tourists, Gil and Regina Kenner of Fredricksburg, Va. “They couldn’t have been finer representatives of your institution.”
The two Aggies were participating in the department's United Kingdom study abroad program when they encountered the Kenners at the iconic Abbey Road crosswalk made famous by the cover of the Beatle's 1969 album of the same name.
“They wondered why we hadn’t taken the Metro (London’s subway) and we explained our reluctance was due in large part to our unfamiliarity with the system and concern over possibly getting on the wrong train and getting lost,” the Kenners' letter explained.
Since Spencer, Stephenson and the Kenners were all headed back to central London, the students offered to help them find their way on the subway.
“They kindly explained the workings of the fare card machine and showed us on the system map what would be the best stop for us to use,” they wrote. “It turned out to be just one stop prior to their stop so we journeyed with them and enjoyed their company for the remainder of our excursion, incidentally saving £20 (approximately $30) in the process. We spent the remainder of our time in London, fearlessly using the Metro to our best advantage.”
“This is a great example of study abroad students being great ambassadors for Texas A&M,” said Melissa Daigenault, construction science lecturer and the department’s study abroad faculty advisor, who led the spring 2012 UK program. “Ian and Colin are great young men, and obviously embodied everything the Aggie spirit is about, taking time to help some fellow Americans.”