CHLOE SELL | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Butler University has many unique individuals. From our mascot Trip to Denise from C-Club, these people make Butler the way it is. And Grant Eltzroth, the only Dawg Ride driver, is one of those people.
“[Eltzroth] is a fixture at Butler because every time I step on Dawg Ride, I know I’m going to be greeted with a smiling, caring, and safety-first face, otherwise known as Grant,” first-year elementary education major Katelyn Kahn said.
Eltzroth’s first official day as the Dawg Ride driver was July 5, 2017. He started working at Butler as a security team member, locking buildings at night. Then, he was offered a job as a driver. Both jobs are contracted through the same security company.
“This is actually my first job driving, and I didn’t think I’d take a liking to it, and I love it,” he said. “First day I’ve been here, the atmosphere has been great. All the students here are awesome, they’re really respectful and everyone here has welcomed me well and with open arms.”
Eltzroth is a 22-year-old Indianapolis native. He now lives in Greenfield, a suburb of Indy, and works from Wednesday to Sunday shuttling students around campus. He said growing up in the city and moving to a smaller neighborhood affects how he feels about Butler.
“This is why I like working here so much, because it’s a small city within a bigger city,” Eltzroth said. “There’s so much that goes on here. It’s such a unique campus. You never know on a daily basis what personalities you will encounter.”
One night while Eltzroth was driving, a student was getting ready to cross at an intersection. Instead of using his feet, he used his hands.
“That’s why I love it here,” Eltzroth said, “Everybody’s not afraid to be themselves, which is so important nowadays, ‘cause it seems like everybody’s trying to find a place in society to fit in.”
When he was a kid, he was in love with public service. He loved firefighters, cops and military personnel. He worked at Steak n’ Shake and then did factory work after high school. He found the security job through a friend. Eltzroth started working security last May, and “loved it ever since.”
“I decided I wanted to do more with my life and not just have a tool in my hand,” Eltzroth said. “Actually do something that means something.”
He likes to communicate with students, hear their thoughts, feelings and listen to their stories.
“Grant, he loves telling stories about his life,” junior elementary education major Kelli Carney said, “whether it’s with his friends or family or funny stuff they’ve done. And he always has the car full of students laughing with all the stories he tells.”
He has plenty of regular passengers, some of whom wrote out a Christmas card during the holidays.
Carney gave Eltzroth a Starbucks gift card for Christmas. But she said it’s not about gift giving.
“Giving him that gift card was not about ‘giving the Dawg Ride guy a gift,’ and it wasn’t about me,” Carney said. “It was about bringing joy to someone who serves the Butler community each and every week. When Butler students know a member of the community truly cares for them, Butler students respond in a kind and generous way. It’s just what we do.”
Carney says Eltzroth tries to spend time getting to know the students.
“So, he is a part of our Community of Care. A big role in it. He’s looking out for us, providing a service for us, making sure we’re safe.”
While he receives several gifts, Eltzroth is not looking for praise or rewards.
“The love you give me is definitely there,” Eltzroth said. “It lets me know I am doing my job. Just knowing that everyone is smiling and home safe at the end of the day, that’s really what matters to me.”
He feels somewhat protective of Butler students, because unsafe driving hits home for him.
When he was 8 years old, one of his childhood friends was killed by a drunk driver. He makes sure to talk to people about the dangers of drinking and drugs while driving them around.
“When [the driver] hit her, he was so drunk, he went up and kicked her, not thinking she was that hurt,” Eltzroth said. “When you’re truly under the influence, you have no judgment. So, that’s why I’m so adamant about drugs and alcohol.”
This is apparent when he talks to people about safety concerns on campus. Carney said he makes sure students are making the right decisions and looking out for one another. And she knows he really cares about her. Their relationship is one of equality and appreciation.
“I wake up everyday to do my best, do 110 percent,” Eltzroth said. “I do it with compassion, with as much compassion as possible. At the end of the day, [I want to] do something that not only helps somebody out in the moment, but helps them out the rest of their life. If I get that done, that’s a good day for me.”