College football rivalries have at times brought out the worst in fans.
Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott and his 76-year-old parents, Charles and Barbara Elliott, experienced a much more refreshing side to the headline-grabbing nastiness that has tarnished some rivalries on Saturday following Georgia Southern’s 38-10 win over Georgia State in Statesboro, Georgia.
Elliott’s parents were unable to find an Uber back to their hotel following the game and were stranded just outside the stadium when Georgia Southern students and Delta Phi Epsilon sorority members Katie Urie and Anna Messick happened upon them.
“We were walking back and saw them there alone and asked them if they needed help,” said Urie, a senior from Augusta. “I know how hard it can be to get an Uber in Statesboro, especially after a game.”
Messick, a junior from Atlanta, said it was chilly and Elliott’s parents were all bundled up, but they were wearing Georgia State gear.
“We didn’t notice the Georgia State clothes at first,” Messick said. “We just saw two people who needed help, and what goes through your mind is, ‘We would hope somebody else would do the same for our parents or grandparents in that situation.'”
Urie had the Lyft app on her phone, was able to secure a ride for Elliott’s parents and rode with them to their hotel. Messick followed them to the hotel to pick up Urie and bring her back to campus.
It was only through conversation while waiting nearly 30 minutes for the Lyft that Urie and Messick discovered that they were helping the Georgia State head coach’s parents.
“That’s not something that happens every day, that you run across the other team’s head coach after a game,” Messick said.
When Elliott heard from his parents later that night about the good Samaritans, he immediately took to Twitter, asking for help finding Urie and Messick so he could thank them.
“It was late, and with both of them being in their 70s, they were having a hard time figuring out what to do. I’d given them my Uber account, but they couldn’t get one, and there weren’t any taxi services available, either. Thank goodness these young ladies came to their rescue,” said Elliott, who guided Georgia State to a 7-5 record this season, including an upset of Tennessee, after the Panthers finished 2-10 last season.
Elliott was able to connect with Urie via social media and said he put a little something in the mail for both of them for the holidays.
“Listen, for somebody to go out of their way to help someone is always amazing,” Elliott said. “Those young ladies spent probably an hour with my parents just making sure they were safe.
“Good people still do good things.”
Elliott joked: “And being Georgia State fans and getting help from Georgia Southern fans is remarkable.”
Although there wasn’t necessarily any trash talk from Urie and Messick to Elliott’s parents after the Georgia Southern win, Urie said with a laugh that she did remind them on the ride back to the hotel that “we were the winners.”
For the record, both Urie and Messick said they would probably start paying a little more attention to Georgia State football down the road.
“How could you not? Shawn and his parents were all such sweet people,” Messick said.