ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - The photo was taken Friday, March 1 right after Morehouse College math professor Dr. Nathan Alexander strapped on a baby carrier so that 5-month-old Assata could literally hang out while her father Wayne Hayer, Jr. took notes in class. The professor chuckled as he admitted to FOX 5's Portia Bruner he'd never worn a baby carrier before he borrowed his student's.
"We were rocking a little bit. We had her bottle on standby and she was really quiet and just looking around at the class taking it all in," said Dr. Alexander, who joined the Morehouse staff in 2017.
Business marketing major Nicholas Vaughn snapped a photo of Dr. Alexander teaching at the head of the class with the baby on his chest, then posted it on Twitter to celebrate the professor for helping Hayer--who couldn't find a babysitter before his 11 a.m. class.
The photo went viral on social viral on social media--garnering thousands of retweets and shares in just a matter of hours.
"It really was touching. It was beautiful to see two black men saying okay 'I'm not going to penalize you for having your child here but let me help you as my brother,'" said Vaughn, who is a Junior at Morehouse. "I'm just glad I was there to show the world there are still people out there who do good deeds."
Hayer, who works two jobs and serves as the vice president of the Morehouse History Club, admits he isn't at home often to help his stay-at-home wife with their new baby, so he offered to take care of Assata so that his wife could run errands on Marta without having to carry the baby from train to train. He remembered how his mother used to take him to class with her when he was five and she was in community college in Chicago.
"I'm not the first person to do this and I'm not the last. Women have been doing this for years," Hayer said.
Dr. Alexander said he's grateful the photo is going viral but hopes it will foster a larger conversation about helping others in need and the many roles teachers play in the lives of their students.
"We need to give recognition to that fact that other people do this all the time. It looks nice to see me holding a baby, but people do this every day and they find ways to show up for each other. The fact that he showed up was proof that he wanted to learned and in a community, I'm supposed to be here to support that.