It’s a lesson I need to remember as I travel this journey called life. My actions can have a direct impact on those around me, good or bad. How we treat people can make or break their day.
Saturday morning Kathy and I drove up to Corvallis early so we could get in a good bike ride before emceeing an event for Cornerstone & Associates, an organization that provides work for folks with disabilities.
Kathy had it all planned and we were off and riding when five miles into the 50-mile ride my tire went flat. We stopped to fix it and the tire went flat again. Just when we got the next tube in the tire the nozzle you use to put the air in snapped off so we changed the tire again. Now, we are 1.5 hours into this tire changing crap. We head off and have a beautiful ride in some country we’ve never traveled before.
18-miles into the ride, just as we get back on highway 99 headed to Monmouth my tire goes flat again. Now we have one spare tube left and another 25 or 30 miles to go. There are no bike shops in Monmouth or Independence so our ride is shot. We’ve got to fix the tire and hope we get back to Corvallis or Kathy will have to ride back to Corvallis, get the car and come get me so we can get to our event by six. (I would never leave my wife on the side of the road and would much rather her ride to safety than sit there).
As we sit there along the side of the road a young man (26 years old) drives by in a truck headed to Rickreall. He turns around and asks if we need help. We tell him what’s up and Matt Hale says I’ll drive you back to Corvallis to a bike shop I know to get your tire fixed. Remember, this guy is from Philomath, headed the other direction to Rickreall and he’s willing to drive all the way back to Corvallis to help us.
He helps us load our bikes into the back of the truck and we head to Corvallis.
As we pull up to the bike shop he says: “If it’s not going to take too long I’ll just drive you guys back up to Independence so you can continue your ride.”
Okay, who does this? Who is this guy willing to one, pick us up and go 15-miles out of his way to get us help? Now, he’s offering to take us back?
We get to Corvallis Cyclery and John Semadeni takes one look at my bike, takes off the tire, shows me what was wrong to keep causing the tubes to go flat and gets me set up with a new set of tires. He puts a rush on the order so we are done in time that Matt can load up our stuff and take us back to where we left off.
Kathy and I got to do our ride, see the things we wanted to see and meet two amazingly kind and thoughtful people at the same time.
We had lunch at the little bakery in Independence and those two young men, helped turn what was looking like the worst bike ride of our lives into one of our best.
We tend to look at the world, especially during an election year, and see nothing but crap, liars and mean people. Those two men, Matt especially, reminds us that there are people in the world who still care and understand how to treat others.
I hope to be like Matt in the coming days. I hope I take with me that attitude of pushing my plans aside when asked by circumstances to help someone else.
We visited a cool new restaurant in Albany today and decided Matt and his girlfriend need to have a visit, on us. I guess some would see this as paying it forward but I think it’s far more than paybacks and good karma. To me this is practicing the simple things God tells us to do….and it works.
Matt has two kids and a girlfriend and I’m sure had far better things to do with his day than help a couple of cyclists stranded along side the road.
Thank you Matt for restoring our faith in young people and showing us what used to be the norm in this country.
You truly made our day.