Final winner had run out of cash and then a stranger saved the day
To mark BYU's 20th consecutive year as the most stone cold sober university, the university created a Willy Wonka-themed contest. Dining Services placed five golden tickets on bottles of chocolate milk and hid the bottles around campus. Lucky finders would win a year supply of chocolate milk and a magical tour of the BYU Creamery – complete with a cart full of sweet takeaways – with Studio C’s Stacey Harkey.
It’s not uncommon for people to poke fun at the fact that BYU embraces and celebrates the quirky rank where other universities might shun such an award, but some of the things we saw as we celebrated this year’s top ranking were rather telling of the caliber of students we have on campus and why we celebrate their success.
Capitalizing on the excitement of starting a new semester, BYU started the contest during the first week of school and gave clues, in the form of riddles and math equations, via the university's social media accounts. It was a daily highlight to watch students quickly solve the puzzles and arrive at the hidden location.
The anticipation of finding the golden ticket was contagious, but most rewarding was watching the students cheer each other on as they searched together for the prized bottle. There was never a mad rush to a vending machine where a single student would block off access and prevent other students from having a chance. And during the discovery of the last golden ticket, something truly magical took place:
Graduate student Madi Moss had been on the hunt for a golden ticket all week when she quickly solved the clue for the last bottle and headed to the vending area of the Harold B. Lee Library. She was one of the first students to arrive and rotated through the line of hopeful students several times for a chance to find the golden ticket. On her last purchase, Moss bought the bottle of chocolate milk right in front of the winning bottle revealing the golden ticket’s location to the next person in line. As junior Katelyn Hulme stepped up to swipe her purchasing card in the machine and claim the winning bottle, she discovered her card wouldn’t work in the vending machine. With no cash on hand, Hulme was devastated about missing her golden opportunity. At that moment Moss stepped back up to the front of the line and offered to purchase the winning bottle for Hulme with no expectation of compensation or share of the prizes.
At this year’s annual university conference, President Kevin J Worthen quoted past leaders who referred to BYU as a unique place with a unique mission and that such a university would find success in a way that was different from other universities. Moss’s gesture wasn’t grand and was witnessed by less than a dozen bystanders. But her small act of compassion is a prime example of the unique character of our students.