What he did was totally unexpected

I was from out-of-province and ineligible for both B.C. and Ontario financial assistance programs and dependent on a federal student loan. I think I had a cheque in hand but the only on-campus bank at the time either refused to cash it or put an obscenely-long hold on it. I remember agonizing about my financial problems until some student friends suggested I see Dean Gage. I didn’t make an appointment, I just walked over to see the Dean of Students, explained my problem to his secretary and she let me into his office.

I can vividly remember his office. It was big, darkish and looked exactly like a professor’s office should. He gestured me to sit down, got up from his desk, and sat down near me. Later, in business, I would always do the same when I had a visitor.

I explained my problem and he stood up, reached into his pocket and pulled out the $400 or $500 I needed (in large bills), handed them to me, and asked that I bring back the money when my cheque cleared. He was no-fuss about it, like it wasn’t a big deal. I remember being stunned, in part because he had so much money in his pants, but also because I was expecting some kind of bureaucratic response like getting the business office to go easy on me. What he did was totally unexpected. He then more or less dismissed me and went back to his desk.

I left the office expecting the secretary to get me to sign something in blood but she simply smiled and waved me on. I’m sure I told both her and Dean Gage my name but I don’t remember giving either any other personal details, and nobody wrote anything down or got me to sign anything. I repaid the money when my cheque cleared, but didn’t see Dean Gage when I did, and I never met him subsequently.

Rick Corbett
BASc 1971