As I walked up the sidewalk toward the university, I noticed a lone bike rider struggling up the steep grade. Suddenly, the chain slipped and the rider lost momentum and began to roll backwards. She caught herself in time to avoid a spill and I watched her climb off and slump down next to the bike. As I got closer, I could tell that she was crying. “Tough break,” I thought as I glanced at my watch and noticed that I only had five minutes until my first class. I quickly picked up my pace and started up that same hill.
As I walked, I remembered the time as a kid when I was trying to fix my first flat tire on my bike. Even though he was in a suit and leaving for work, my neighbor saw me and came over to help me fix the tire.
After a few more steps, I turned and walked back toward the woman who was now struggling to wipe away her tears. “Can I help?” I asked as I approached. “Know anything about stupid bikes?” she replied. I looked the situation over and was quickly able to return the chain to its proper position. “Looks like this was tangled in the sprocket,” I said holding up the greasy remains of a weed. A slight smile cracked through her tear-streaked face. “Thanks for helping me,” she said as her smile began to grow. “No problem,” I replied as I turned and started back up the hill.
Even with grease on my hands, the uphill walk seemed easier with the joy of actually helping to make someone’s day a little brighter. It was worth being a few minutes late.
"The values we live by are worth more when we pass them on...."