After Clemson's 24-22 win over Notre Dame last Saturday night, two Fighting Irish fans who were stranded in the rain got an unexpected lift home.
Matt Cashore/Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
After Clemson’s thrilling 24-22 win over Notre Dame last Saturday night, two disappointed Fighting Irish fans got a pick-me-up from an unexpected source: Tigers offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell.
The fans, brothers Larry and Tony Luppi, traveled to Death Valley for the game and planned to take a shuttle back to their hotel afterward. But after a dramatic ending in which Notre Dame failed on a potential game-tying two-point conversion attempt in the final seconds, the Luppis’ plan started to fall apart.
According to The Post and Courier, the brothers never saw their shuttle, and with traffic choked off as fans tried to quickly escape the weather, they decided to start hiking to their hotel — about 10 miles from Memorial Stadium — on foot in the driving rain.
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"As we’re running alongside the highway," Tony told The Post and Courier, "Larry’s going, ‘You realize these cars can spin out of control and hit us?’ I’m thinking, ‘How would we ever explain this to our loved ones, or how would someone piece this all together?’ "
The Luppis decided to get out of the rain and duck into a convenience store to call a cab. But as they were doing so, they were offered a ride by a fellow patron they assumed was a Clemson fan. They accepted, and it wasn’t long before they discovered their rescuer’s true identity.
According to The Post and Courier, Caldwell started making small talk, asking, "Were you at the game? Did you have a great time?" The conversation eventually turned to what the driver did for a living, and Caldwell responded, "I coach at Clemson."
Tony said: "My first thought was, ‘He coaches baseball or rugby or lacrosse or something.’ " But when he asked what, specifically, Caldwell coached, he was in for quite a surprise.
"Oh, I coach the offensive line," Caldwell said.
Caldwell eventually dropped off the two at their hotel, gave them directions to Atlanta (where they were scheduled to fly out of) and refused to be compensated. The Luppis told The Post and Courier, however, that they plan to send Caldwell a gift card to Bass Pro Shops as well as a thank-you note.
"Pretty dedicated fans to come all the way out here," Caldwell said. "They were the nicest people, and they were tickled pink. All they could talk about was how well they were treated by the Clemson fans. That’s very impressive by our people."
The Luppis undoubtedly have even more nice things to say about Clemson after their experience with Caldwell.