Calvin Meyer, an undeclared first-year, was sitting in his math class when he received a Snapchat message from his friend. His buddy sent him a tweet the Ohio State men’s basketball account posted at 12:10 p.m. that said head coach Chris Holtmann would be buying students’ lunch at Raising Cane’s on High Street for the next half-hour.
Meyer did not have a second thought. He packed up his things and left class early to head to get some chicken fingers.
Laughing when asked whether he expected to have Holtmann buy him lunch, Meyer said, “Not at all. It’s pretty cool, though.”
Dozens of people poured into Cane’s as a smiling Holtmann shook hands with every patron and swiped his card to buy every meal. He posed for pictures and took selfies with students and Cane’s staff members before leaving at 1:08 p.m. after buying lunch for everyone in line.
“It’s an opportunity for me to get out and spend some time with students,” Holtmann said. “And obviously this is a special week given what the meaning of Act of Kindness, Kindness week. So we wanted to take advantage of Kindness week.”
World Kindness Day is held on Nov. 13 of each year.
Jack Lever, a third-year in accounting, was sitting in his apartment on Lane Avenue when his friend texted him the tweet promoting Holtmann at Cane’s. Rather than heading across the street to buy a sub at Subway or making lunch, Lever quickly headed out and took a bus down High Street to Cane’s.
“He’s actually genuinely interested in everybody coming through,” Lever said, midway through his meal. “He’s buying it for not only OSU students, he was reaching out to guys that are just working and have a lunch break.”
Holtmann said he wanted to make his way into the college community and engage students.
“I ask them their major, where they’re from. I’m curious, too. That’s interesting for me,” Holtmann said. “Like, what they’re studying, what year they are. A lot of pre-med, a couple pre-law, computer science. All of those were way too smart of degrees for me. It was great to spend time with them. We actually had a psychology and I was a psychology major.”
This is not the first time Holtmann has interacted with students this way. While Butler’s head coach in 2015, he spent 30 minutes at a local Starbucks and bought coffee for students during finals week. During move-in day earlier this year, Holtmann offered donuts to students and parents outside the Schottenstein Center.
In an exclusive interview with The Lantern on Oct. 25, Holtmann said he “tossed some ideas around” with his staff and the marketing department
“The reality is, we just arrived here,” Holtmann said on Oct. 25. “They don’t know me. They don’t know who I am. I get to walk around on campus right now and not many people know who I am and I’m looking forward just to spending some time getting to know them.”
Holtmann has never had Cane’s before. He said he went there once but the line was too long. Regardless, he said he wanted to finally give it a try.
“The chicken fingers look good, the four chicken finger combo looks pretty dog-gone good to me,” Holtmann said. “And the toast, the toast looks big-time.”
The head coach did not have a part in deciding where to pay for students, but wanted to spontaneously buy food for students, as he did while at Butler.
“I left that up to our marketing people to kind of figure out where to go. I just said I wanted to do it and I left that up to them. I was going to pay for these…,” Holtmann said before trailing off.
He had noticed two people at the counter he believed to be students and approached them to make sure he paid for their meals before leaving.