Helpful strangers

The kindness of strangers really counts when we need help.


A couple of weeks ago I got stranded while I was taking a long bicycle ride on brand new tires. I was way out in the countryside, more than 40 kilometers from home, when my rear tire went flat. At first I thought I was okay because I had a repair kit and a tire pump. I even had a spare tube. But then I discovered that the new tires and tubes didn’t work well with the rims on my bike. Finally I realized that I couldn’t fix it.

There was no way I could ride back home. The only solution was to leave my bike somewhere, go home by taxi and train, and then drive my car out to the countryside, pick up my bike, and carry it home. Fortunately, I was able to do just that because a couple of very kind people helped me.

I found a Friend Mart (a small supermarket) at the nearest intersection. The lady at the service counter heard my story and immediately called the manager. Without any hesitation the manager offered to keep my bike in a safe place. And then he even called for a taxi to take me to the nearest train station. When I picked up my bike that evening, I thanked him and we chatted a bit. He seemed very happy to have helped a stranger.

Last week I happened to be riding in that area again, so I stopped and bought food for lunch at that market. I didn’t see the manager, but I spoke with the lady at the service counter. I let her know that all was well and that my bike was back on the road.

That experience of being stranded with a broken bicycle was pretty hard, but it was also very rewarding to meet such good people.

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