It’s cool to be kind: Berkeley lecturer’s award honors the good-hearted

March 27, 2023

Two students posing for photo; one wearing t-shirt that says Chris Kindess AwardUC Berkeley student Egbert Villegas was driving his girlfriend, Nelly Elahmadie, to a doctor’s appointment last November when the pair spied an SUV flipped over on the freeway in Oakland. 

They were on their way from Walnut Creek to Berkeley; the accident came into view right before the Caldecott Tunnel.

Other drivers were whizzing past the unsettling scene, but Villegas “sprang into action,” said Elahmadie, pulling over to a safe spot and then  running to the overturned vehicle to help the driver, who was still strapped to his seat.

Last Thursday, Villegas, a molecular and cell biology major, was honored on campus for his effort with a $1,000 award, a framed certificate and a performance by the Straw Hat Band. It all was a complete surprise, he said, since “I never expected anything out of this … I was always taught to do things out of the kindness of your heart.”

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Berkeley News