RENO, Nev. (KOLO) It's a snapshot of what University of Nevada Professor Daniel Fred decided to do during class last month that has now become a weekly thing: wear an infant in a baby carrier while giving his lecture. Photos of him doing that have gone viral.
"I had no idea it would be something that would take off," says Professor Fred.
The photos have been shared thousands of times on social media. But it all started so simply. A student in Professor Fred's Substance Use Disorder class couldn't find a babysitter. She asked Professor Fred if she could bring Ava, who was then five months old, to class. That seemed to work. But during class. Professor Fred would notice that Ava's mom was getting distracted by her baby.
"Then I went up and kind of held her and everyone was in awe," says Professor Fred. "And so I said next time you bring her, bring your baby carrier."
That's exactly what happened. A student named Brianna Arvizo snapped photos, posted them on Twitter, and the response has been huge.
"I had to get on Twitter and sign up just to follow the story," says Paige Willis, Ava's mother. She still can't believe the response beyond the classroom.
But what have become fun photos to share represents much more to the 20-year-old who is trying to get her degree in social work. The kind gesture allows her to keep following her dreams.
"I'm just trying to go to school, be a mom, and just live my life," says Willis.
Professor Fred believes this has gotten so much attention because he says the image does not fit into people's idea of masculinity. He says it shows it's okay to be caring and nurturing and hopes it spurs discussions about "healthy masculinity."