Monday, May 7, 2007

Just because it feels good.

Geez,it's been almost a week since I last posted something. My apologies to my 11 fans out there who take the time to drop by my blog and read my ramblings. I've been down with a little bit of a cold which kept me home from work for a couple of days last week, so I've turned in some early nights lately which has kept me from doing much blogging.

Just before I came down with my little case of Bird Flu or whatever the hell I caught, I had the opportunity to initiate one of those little random acts of kindness that Oprah Winfrey and all those other humanitarian types seem to get so much press on. No, didn't build a school for underprivileged girls in Africa or anything like that, but I did give bikes to a couple of deserving neighbor kids.

Best friends Anthony, 9, and Amber, 7, are two awesome little kids in my neighborhood whom I've noticed had been riding these itty, bitty little bikes that were just WAY too small for them. Both of their parents were aware that they had outgrown their bikes and asked me what new ones would cost. With money being really tight for both of these families, the Moms sort of cringed a bit when I gave them a price and said one something about going to Wal-Mart for the $49.95 bike she saw last week. No way. No Wal-Mart bikes allowed in my 'hood.

I told the kids' parents to just hold off for a couple of days. When I returned to work on Monday, I checked our sample bike supply to see what we had on hand. Sample bikes are generally ordered to take photos of for our catalogs and then stripped down because they are pre-production. I was in luck this time...we had 2 little V24 24" wheel mountain bikes in the sample pile that hadn't been stripped of their parts in blue and silver for Anthony and the other in pink and silver for Amber. Perfect.

I loaded the little bikes up and took them home with me that night. I called Anthony and Amber's mothers and told them to meet me by my car. As the kids walked up to my car, Amber said, "Oh my gosh, look at that pink bike! Whose bike is that?" I took the bike off of my roof racks and joked that it was for Anthony. He blushed while Amber looked amused yet slightly dejected. When I put the front wheel on the bike and rolled it over to her, her eyes got as big as saucers. Then I handed Anthony his bike. After a few minor adjustments to seat height, they were off and riding.

If I had been a smart blogger, I would have snapped a few pictures, but hey, I'm still learning. It was such an awesome sight. They were so cute as they struggled with learning gears and hand brakes (both came off of coaster brake bikes). And Amber, her old bike was this little tiny 20" wheel sidewalk bike, was having some issues learning to turn a bike with wheels much larger than what she was used to. She practiced diligently with this cute little look of sheer determination on her face. It was priceless.

This past Saturday, there was a knock on my door. It was Anthony and Amber; they brought over some "thank you" goodies for me which included a beautiful bromeliad plant, a bottle of red wine, and nicely written thank-you cards. Amber made her card. I have to tell you what she wrote inside because it was so cute:

"Thenk you for the bick. I rilly lik it, it is so ckonterbl. I rily lik it. And it has my favorit coler it is pinck. And I allso love you as a friend. And God loves you to! Love, Amber" (signed with a little heart after her name.

How cute is that?

It felt great just to do something good for someone simply because I could. No, it didn't save a life or cure a disease, but it sure made a couple of little kids really happy. You can bet they will be riding bikes much more now that they have bikes that actually fit them and they aren't hitting their knees on the handlebars. I didn't do it because I expected anything in return; I just did it because it felt good.
We all need more "good" in our lives.



Mark Davidson said...

I guess I may be one of the 11 who subscribe to your blog in my rss reader.

I love hearing stories about bikes and kids. Getting more kids on bikes is the future of the sport (and the planet!). Kids really appreciate the gift.

I have seen and participated in kid/bike oriented programs like "Trips for Kids", "Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day" and "Turning Wheels for Kids" and they have a huge impact on creating a positive bike experience in the kids. Knowing that you made a difference in a kid's life is the biggest reward.

Keep up the great work!

wrw said...

'That a girl!"
My friend within the UK 'blogs' a marked reduction of children riding bicycles.
Parents, SPEND some money AND time to obtain a QUALITY bicycle, proper size with HELMET, for your offspring!
Troubled when viewing a local bicycling family wearing protective helmets excepting MOM?

Eric Stobin said...

wow, Jill. I am deeply touched by your gracious gesture and thank you for sharing! it just goes to show that one person CAN make a difference. the parents probably thought you were their little angel! this story coincides with one of my principles in life which is to give more and expect less. nowadays, people can isolate themselves from feeling connected to others by their ego, or thinking they are more important than others. this act of kindness is what will keep you in harmony and make you feel connected to your community and i am sure it rubbed off well on the kids and their parents. i looked at the bikes and they are terriffic! front suspension, baby! i applaud you for leading by example, rather than waiting for someone else to help them. i ride the burke gilman bike trail all the time in Seattle, and i constantly see kids without helmets, especially low-income saddens me. perhaps your story has inspired me to contact a local helmet manufacturer and ask for a quantity discount on 10 or 20 kid's helmets? I could stash one or two with me in my Breezer Panniers and hand them out along my ride. that would really turn a lot of heads! thanks for the inspiration and taking the time to write. perhaps you can meet up with the kids to provide their feedback to us in quotes about the bike and how it makes them feel and you can grab a picture or two as well? i'd like to see you in the middle flanked by the kids and their bikes on both sides!

this just goes to show that the bicycle is so powerful in its effect for social change and bringing people and communities together. nice to lead by example, DH Jill!

Priscilla said...

Aawww. That's awesome. That must have felt so great! Thanks for sharing. My husband is quite the handy man and often helps the neighbors and kids with thier bikes - he says it's the best feeling - being able to help people ride.

Howard said...

That's awesome! What a great thing to do.

Fritz said...

That's cool what you did.

Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

We DO need more good in our lives. You done good!

There really isn't much that is more exciting to me than a child with a bike. That taste of freedom and movement is so wonderful for kids. I know for me, growing up, my bike was my very best friend.

Your kind gesture will be remembered by those two for a very long time... I'm pretty confident of that.

Coelecanth said...

You didn't just make a couple of kids feel happy, you showed them that it's ok to give without expectation of reward. Can you imagine a world where everyone gets lessons like that repeatedly throughout their youth. I suspect there'd be less need for big projects like schools for underpriviged girls in Africa. Here's to you for tackling the problem at it's root rather than trying to fix it after the fact.

Donna T. said...

Jill - what a great thing you did for those kids. They may just end up being life long bike riders because of your kind gesture. Bravo!

jill hamilton said...

Thanks for all the great comments everyone! It really has been rewarding to do something good for someone for no other reason than because you can. Anthony and Amber both love their fact, Amber's mom took her to one of the local trails (Lake Hodges for you San Diego folks) last week!

Creating more cyclists, one kid at a time. :)