Sep 15

The Kindness of Strangers

Everyday it seems like all I hear on the news are stories of murder, robbery, war, and bickering between politicians.  And then, a stranger does something out of the kindness of their heart that restores your faith in humanity.  That stranger’s name is Melissa.

Let me back up.

Today, I headed out on a bike ride.  My initial plan was to do laps around Reeds Lake.  Because it is so close to home, I didn’t bring my cell phone.  I hate bringing my phone because I hear it ding or feel it vibrate every time an email comes in and I want to escape from work on my rides.  However, halfway through my ride, I thought that it was such a beautiful day that I would ride out to Cascade to add on some extra miles.

Well, I got to the furthest point from home, about 6 miles from the house, and my bike broke.  I’m not talking about getting a flat time.  I’m talking chain snapped ripping off the rear derailleur.  Even MacGyver couldn’t fix this one.  Thankfully, the break didn’t cause me to lose control of my bike and I just coasted to a stop. 6 miles from home.  With no cell phone.

In comes Melissa.  She was turning onto the next side street and started waving to me.  She lived in the first house on the side street, so I walked up the driveway to ask to borrow a phone.  Apparently, she was waving because I look like a guy named Caleb that does a lot of biking in the area.  Any ways, she was more than happy to let me borrow a phone.  I called Jennie to rescue me, but she was still at work (which is at least an hour away) and doesn’t get cell reception there.

Melissa then insisted on driving me home.  I told her it wasn’t necessary and didn’t want to be a burden, but she insisted.  So, I loaded my bike in her car and headed home.  She even got a good laugh out of it when her husband called.  The conversation went something like this, “Hi honey.  I picked up a handsome young man on the side of the road and I’m taking him home.  And I’m not even joking.”  Haha.  I would have loved to hear her husband’s reaction to that.

I am extremely grateful for Melissa’s kindness as I would still be walking home had she not been able to give me a ride.

Mobile Photo Sep 15, 2010 6 29 36 PM

Well, here’s the damage to my bike.  Yep, that derailleur should be attached to the bike.  At first, I thought the frame was broken, but it looks like it was the derailleur hanger that took the brunt of the damage.  I guess that is why there is a separate derailleur hanger – to act as the weakest link and save the frame from further damage.  It should be a fairly easy fix once I get the parts ordered.

Now, I’m off to pay it forward.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2010/09/15/the-kindness-of-strangers


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  1. lisa

    always nice to hear stories like that. 🙂

  2. Jon

    Kevin, just repeat after me: “Jennie, that derailleur that I snapped? Yeah, they don’t make those anymore, nor any other off brand that is compatible with this bike. Basically there is no part in existance on this planet that can work on this bike. The bike is broke for good. Btw, remember that nice new Time Trial bike I have had my eye on? Well……”

    That was very nice of her to give you a ride home! I once had to pay some redneck $3 to give me a ride home when I got a flat and my spare tube was bogus.

  3. Jeff

    Great story!

    Hey, do EXACTLY what Jon said above. With every crisis comes an opportunity and yes I just quoted Obama’s Chief of Staff!

  4. Matt Oravec

    HAHA on Jon!!! nice comment.

    Some people are still nice out there huh? You HAVE to pay it forward buddy. I know how that all works and good karma never fails.

    Good thing this did not happen on race day… man I would have been crushed.

  5. lindsay

    what are you doing to pay it forward? just curious. very cool of melissa – especially since you look like such a shady character.

    i thought flat tires were bad (still need to learn how to change one) but now i am really wondering about this new quest into cycling. thanks for yet another “thing i’m not going to know how to fix”.

  6. Viper

    Wait a minute! You know someone’s phone number by heart? That’s truly remarkable. Cheers!

  7. Krista@CommitmentisLiberating

    Glad to hear a happy story 🙂 Maybe you should bring your phone with you and just turn it off. Then you have it in case of an emergency.

    I have to laugh at Viper’s comment. Sam’s bike broke in Central Park earlier this year (same issue, derailer snapped off) and he needed to call me to come get him but he did not know my phone number. He ended up sending me an email from somebody’s blackberry… Luckly I have his number memorized 🙂

  8. Mandy

    I love Jon’s comment. That is so awesome that she helped you out, there are so many people out there who wouldn’t have done that.

    Let us know what you get for a new TT bike 🙂

  9. Aimee (I Tri To Be Me)

    What a great story! Yay for awesome strangers!

  10. Maria

    Its stuff like that this that restores my faith in human kind. Good for her and good for you for going to pay it forward.

  11. onelittletrigirl

    I love that you are going to Pay It Forward. That is what the world should be about!

  12. regina

    Yeah Melissa!

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