Tubby to the Rescue

Courtesy: Minneapolis Star Tribune

Oxxford, makers of the hand-made suits, should design a stylist new cape for a man I'm calling SuperrrrTubby.

A crying baby on an airplane was no problem for passenger Orlando Smith, even in first class. "Tubby Smith is an absolute class act, a kind and gentle soul," wrote Troy Alexander, after flying from Detroit to Minneapolis on a Sunday NWA flight recently with the new U basketball coach.

"I sat behind Tubby. Sitting next to Tubby was a young woman and her infant daughter. The poor little girl had a terrible cough and ranged from very fussy to hysterical during the first half hour of the flight," wrote Alexander, a local advertising exec. "Keep in mind that this is first class and it's filled with lots of stuffy, impatient business people who are not happy that a sick baby has invaded their space.

"Amazing how intolerant people can be at times. The kid's sick -- what are you going to do?

"It was Tubby to the rescue. Not only did Mr. Smith help calm the baby, he reassured the young mom several times that it would be okay."

When I reached Alexander by phone, he said Smith "got out of his seat, was bouncing the baby for her, making faces at the baby, getting the baby to calm down. It could have been anybody and I would have thought it was remarkable, but it happened to be him and it was a really nice gesture on his part."

Alexander said Smith and the mom took turns walking the baby up and down the aisle for most of the flight. Eventually, the mom became curious about the identity of her patient Good Samaritan baby sitter.

"He politely told her that he was the new men's basketball coach at the U," Alexander said. "She then asked if it would be okay to take his picture holding the baby. He agreed, and she said My husband's not going to believe this!"

Believe it.

A father of three sons and the sixth of 17 children, Smith has held a few babies over the years. Factor in years of coping with whiny sportswriters and listening to those crybaby UK fans, and this coach has practically earned a Ph.D. in pacifying babies.