Free gum for roadside assistance?
Whenever I see a cyclist stopped on the side of the road, or walking their bike, or bending down around some imperceptible thing on their chain, or really doing anything at all that seems like it might portend something bad for the rest of their commute, I always stop and ask if they’re okay.
Usually, it’ll turn out to be someone at the tail end of fixing a flat tire, or maybe someone who was just checking something out. Usually, the response I get is “I’m fine, but thanks!” Even though it turns out that most people I ask don’t need anything, they generally seem pleased that I stopped to make sure, and I usually get some form of “thanks for asking.”
Tonight, I was thinking about that after I passed a guy on the Hawthorne bridge–he was one of those bent-over-his-bike kind of fellows, and I thought I’d make sure all was well. “I’m fine,” he said. “Thanks!”
I biked off thinking about how smiley people get when you make time to check in on them. I was thinking about how happy it makes me for people to look up and say “thanks!” like I totally made their day. And then I ran into another guy stopped on the side of the road as I was turning off onto Division Street.
Just to be clear, two people in the span of 5 minutes is not a normal ratio of people who may potentially need roadside assistance. But regardless, I slowed down, and when he looked up at me, asked if he needed any help.
“No,” he said. “But want some gum?”
It wasn’t a thank you, nor did I really feel like I’d helped on the ambassador front, but it totally made my day:)