Love Stories at DP: the Rudolphs

Mercy+and+Ben+Rudolph+at+the+beach+on+their+wedding+day.

Mikaela Ducote

Mercy and Ben Rudolph at the beach on their wedding day.

After experiencing a series of dull college tours back to back, an 18 year old Mercy Sherman (now Rudolph) vowed that whatever college she ended up at, she would give tours exceptionally better than what she endured.
Which is how in the fall of her freshman year (2013), Mercy found herself being shown around her new office during her first shift as a tour guide. At the USC Admissions Center, in order to lead a tour, one must understand how to tour, and the only way for a rookie like Mercy to learn was by shadowing a seasoned tour guide. Luckily, she was going to be learning from the best of the best – a senior by the name of Ben Rudolph.
Like a scene from a 90’s rom-com, the moment the two shook hands Mercy immediately knew that “He would play a really important role in my life.” As the tour progressed and she learned about her coworker, Mercy’s feelings only grew stronger. “I saw him as this, awesome, adorable, older guy who [was] way out of my league,” Mercy said.
Following her first shift, Mercy did what any teenage girl would do in her situation – she called her best friend to discuss her new “cute” coworker. “I was telling her all about him and everything that I thought was adorable about him. That he was an athlete and a singer and he was sensitive and he was funny and all that,” Mercy said. After jokingly saying that she was ‘in love with him’, Mercy became so overcome with emotion that she started crying, “I [told her], ‘I think there’s a part of me that’s actually serious,’” Mercy said.
Mercy’s feelings were not one sided. Although Ben was in a long-term relationship upon meeting Mercy, he felt a strong (platonic) infatuation with her. In Ben’s words, “I saw her and I [thought] ‘she’s beautiful and cool. She gets it – she’s not a raving lunatic.’” He was refreshed by his trainee’s authenticity and ability to treat him like a normal human being rather than kissing up to him solely because of his seniority.
He felt that there was an undeniable (platonic) connection between them, and after Mercy’s first shift, the two quickly became close friends, “I realized one day that I had communicated with Mercy, like everyday that week,” Ben said.
Though they didn’t realize it at the time, the connection they felt the moment they shook hands would prove to be an indestructible one – a bond that no amount of distance, time, or even phone-stealing drug dealers, could break.