Last Friday, 19 May, was National Bike to Work Day. On my return ride home, as I was transitioning from the Capital Crescent Trail to Water St under Whitehurst Freeway, I passed a girl who was walking her racing bike. I slowed as I passed her and I saw that her rear tire was flat. I slowed down and asked if she needed help. She said she was going to walk her bike to Georgetown and go to a bike shop. I offered assistance and after a second offer, she accepted, but acknowledged she had no idea how to change a tire tube and that she had no tools.
I told Kate that I had everything necessary and that I would be willing to help and show her how to change the tube. We took off her wheel, removed the tire, removed the damage tube, installed a new tube, replaced the tire, inflated the tube, and put the wheel back on the bike. She was as good as new. Kate was happy to be back on her new bike, which she had purchased the day before for triathlons. “Can I Venmo you the cost of the tube?”
“No,” I replied. “Just pay it forward if you see someone who needs a new tube and you have an extra.”
“I’ll pay it forward,” she responded.
On Tuesday, 23 May, I went to the Labyrinth game store in Washington, DC. I was trading in some Magic: The Gathering cards I owned for some store credit. Additionally, I brought nine complete decks of Magic cards that I owned and put together. I went up to the clerk behind the counter. “I put together nine decks that I’d like to give to you for free, so you can give them to kids who are interested in playing and need some cards to get started.”
“Seriously?” the clerk responded.
The clerk checked the cards and looked at the desks. “There are some really good cards in here!”
“Yes, there are,” I responded. “I figured the kids could use some good stuff. It might get them more enticed to play more.”
“This is really nice of you,” the clerk said. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. My only request is to let me know when you give them out. I’d like to know that the decks went to some good kids.”
I enjoy doing random acts of kindness. It makes me feel like I’m part of a community and gives me hope that if I were in the same situation, that’s how I’d want someone to treat me.
Maybe you don’t know how to change a tube on a bicycle wheel or have extra Magic: The Gathering cards laying around, but you might have something nice you could do for someone at some random time. Consider it.