I was locking up my bike next to a tree by my friend’s apartment when a man walked by with a little dog. As his dog was sniffing the ground, the man turned around to tell me that there’s a bike rack on the other side of the building with lights and a camera pointed at it, making it a safer place to leave my bike. I thanked him for his advice, but was kind of confused. I was down by the Seawall and in front of a “nice” building. I wasn’t really concerned about theft or safety. Maybe having my bike tied to a tree in front of the building was somehow taking away from its visual appeal? That’s kind of weird. So I asked the man, politely, what his reason for stopping to tell me about the bike rack was. After I clarify that I’m actually, genuinely wondering, the man tells me that if I leave my bike where it is right now, it’s dark and easy to steal. If I take my bike around, there’ll be cameras and a well-lit area. It’ll be safer for my bike. Hmmmm. Seems like he’s genuinely concerned about a stranger’s bike.
I think we’ve all heard the saying, “be the change you want to see in the world.” Agreed. But I also think that it’s important to support and validate the change you want to see in the world. It was nice of this guy to care enough to stop and tell me that there’s a “safer” place to lock up my bike. I don’t necessarily agree that my bike is not safe. Moreover, I’m late for the party I’ve just arrived to, which means I don’t exactly feel like taking the time to move my bike. At the same time though, if I’m already late, I’m actually on time for my lateness, no matter what I do. A few more minutes won’t kill me. Recognize and validate the kindness you like to see in the world. This random act of kindness is definitely something I want to support and show gratitude for. So I unlock my bike, thank the man for caring about its safety, and proceed to bring it around to the other side. Strangers caring about each other. How freaking nice!!!!