When 33-year-old mom Katy Humphrey’s sitter cancelled before her exercise physiology class at Baylor University, she knew she’d have to make the one hour drive and endure the 55-minute lecture with her four-and-a-half month old daughter, Millie, in tow. She was sure her professor would be ok with it—he’d met her daughter on a couple of different occasions—but she couldn’t imagine just HOW ok with it he’d be.
Just a few minutes into Dr. Darryn Willoughby’s lecture, little Millie started fussing, and the PhD and dad of two girls didn’t hesitate to scoop her out of Humphrey’s arms and keep on lecturing. Much to her mom’s surprise, Millie calmed down right away, and was so content with the professor that Willoughby held her throughout the entire remaining lecture—astounding Humphrey. After all, that’s an awful long time for a four-month-old baby to be calm, no matter WHO’S holding her!
Willoughby explained he held Millie because he wanted to do something helpful for Humphrey. “I didn’t do it for myself,” Willoughby told TODAY. “It’s just about me looking out for and taking care of my students. It was an issue more so just her being able to feel more comfortable and relaxed in class.”
Thanks to Willoughby pulling double-duty, Humphrey was able to concentrate on class instead of on keeping her baby happy.
“I carried her around for almost an hour and she was totally content,” said Willoughby. “We never heard a peep out of her the entire class.”
Humphrey, a former marine who wants to earn her degree to work with wounded warriors, told TODAY that she had another class with Willoughby when she was pregnant with Millie, and that the baby would often kick during class while Willoughby lectured.
For his part, Willoughby’s baby whispering skills are right up there with his teaching skills—and prove that he really does care about his students.
“We’ve become not only professor and student, but friends,” Willoughby said. “We have a really nice bond.”
I kinda love this story! Clearly Willoughby is an educator with a big heart to go along with his academic mind—the very best kind.