Indiana University Bloomington

A deep commitment to small kindnesses

Andrew Strawn

My picture of Herman Wells comes from a brief encounter I had with him on a very rainy Sunday morning in 1966, my freshman year. I was simply walking home from church. Without an umbrella, I had nearly reached my destination, Foster Quad, close to Wells' house on 10th street, when the skies produced a downpour. Suddenly, there was Wells, in that big, black sedan of his, stopping as he entered his driveway, rolling down his window and asking this lowly freshman if he could give me a ride home. Somewhat stunned by his gesture, I declined the offer and went home wet.

That was it. But I was forever impressed that a great, renowned man had taken a moment to make me an offer of help. I think the greatness that is Herman Wells stems from a deep commitment to doing such small kindnesses to strangers. Perhaps in his honor, we should all do likewise, and thereby change the world.

From Remembering Herman B Wells, 1901-2000:, March 22, 2000

Thanks to the Bloomington Herald-Times for allowing Digital Wells to publish these excerpts from their archive.