Two students go to London and discover it really is a small world

February 10, 2016

Sometimes you have to travel far to discover what a small world it really is.

That was certainly the case when Taylor Rice ‘16 and Trevor Sutherland ‘17, both business administration majors, went to London for the Winter Term course “London Street Markets: How Londoners Live, Buy and Sell,” led by Associate Management Professor Frank Hamilton.

“Trevor and I had not met before Winter Term,” Taylor recalls. But they soon learned they had both lived at the Sigma complex “and probably crossed paths countless times.”

Hamilton divided the students into four groups and appointed a student to lead each one. Taylor was the leader of a group that included Trevor. “The first day, we were making small talk and it came up that Trevor is from Texas,” Taylor says. She grew up visiting family in San Angelo Texas, about an hour from Midland.

Taylor Rice ‘16 and Trevor Sutherland ‘17 with Trevor's dad, Tom Sutherland in London.

“Taylor Rice ‘16 and Trevor Sutherland ‘17 with Trevor’s dad, Tom Sutherland in London.”

“Turns out, his dad was from the same town,” Taylor says. They exchanged family names and soon discovered an amazing coincidence: “Our dads grew up next door neighbors!”

Not only that, “our families knew each other and were neighbors for years. My uncle and Trevor’s aunt were very close friends growing up.”

Before they returned to Eckerd, Trevor’s dad, Tom Sutherland, visited London and had dinner with the students on the trip. “He told me stories about my dad, uncles and even grandparents,” Taylor says.

When he returned, Trevor’s dad called Taylor’s dad, Jeff Rice. They had lost contact over the years and are talking about reuniting in person at Family weekend (Feb. 19-21).

“It’s really unbelievable, just crazy,” Trevor said of the coincidence.

Taylor agrees. “I am still so surprised by this random occurrence,” Taylor says. “Eckerd is such a small school, it shows just how small the rest of the world is too!”