Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pay It Forward

On my way home last night I did something that could have turned out oh so very wrong. My delightful commute takes me through some not-so-great neighborhoods in Minneapolis. I was rounding the corner in the dark when I spotted someone up ahead crouched down around the front of a car on the side of the road.

As I approached and before I could help myself or really think about what I was about to commit myself to, the words came out
“Do you need some help?”

I was actually running really late in my effort to get home, I didn’t really want to help, but something compelled me to offer. Those few words could go just so many different ways…

Here’s a guy with a flat tire on his car. Has the right tools, but could not loosen the lug nuts. (I deciphered his problem despite the fact that he did not speak a word of English.) You see, the first clue I picked up on was the fact that he was standing on the end of a long socket wrench jumping up and down in an effort to loosen the bolt. I parked my bike, picked up his other wrench (a cross-shaped spider-type), placed it on the lug nut he was working on and gave it a twist.

The metal of the arms were bending with the torque and finally with a loud screech the first bolt came loose. The man let out an exclamation of excitement… Only 5 more bolts to go. I eventually got the other 5 loose, the very last thanks to swift kick with my size 50 Lake Boots.

Once all loose, I promptly prepared to leave and complete my ride home. The man enthusiastically thanked me, held out some money trying to offer it to me. I refused to take the money but said your are welcome and completed a nice ride home feeling good about doing a good deed for a complete stranger.

I continue to be sleep-deprived. A whopping 4 hours of sleep last night... Including the fact that I snoozed again this morning for 42 minutes before finally getting out of bed. The ride in today was beautiful. 19 degrees. My legs are tired from rushing home last night. Tonight is bicycle advocacy night as I have a meeting for Ramsey County Active Living Bicycle Advisory Committee.


Me said...

Rock On!

Good Deeds are the grease that turns the wheel of Civilization & Humanity.

Good on You, Ken.


Jim Thill said...

He was probably fixing his flat tire so he could go out and commit some horrible crime.

Reflector Collector said...

Probably true Jim, or was on the run.

I tried to tell him how much easier it is to change a flat on a bicycle and tried to engage him in a dialog of just how much better our whole society and environment would be if he ditched the car and picked up a bike.

Being in North MPLS I had a hard time coming up with a bike shop recommendation.

Despite the language barrier, I'm thinking if I could have pointed at a bike shop complete with an economical and useful bike with baskets, fenders, and lights... This gentleman would have surely ditched the car at this moment.

Jim Thill said...

You should have sent him to me. I don't have any bikes like you describe, but I am good at dealing with language barriers. The trick is to talk louder and add superfluous vowel sounds to the end of words.

rigtenzin said...

I admire your instincts. I only help women.

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