I was biking to the yoga studio after work last night along Bloor Street when the chain on my bike slipped off the cassette in the back (hope I am referring to the right thing) and got wedged between that and a part of the frame. I got off my bike and tried to pull the chain out and although I was able to get a part of it to release, a major chunk was stuck and I could not get it unwedged. After about two or three minutes of trying I was ready to give up and resign to the idea of having to a) walk my bike home and b) miss my yoga class when a very kind gentleman stopped to ask if I needed help. I explained what happened and right away he figured out what to do and I was back on the road in a matter of seconds (after thanking him profusely).
As a side note I can explain what he did, which in retrospect…duuuuh, but it may come in handy to one of you in the future. He changed the gears so that both were in the lowest position and then picked up the back tire and spun the peddles. This forced the chain to be pulled out and back onto the cassette. Super simple and way better than trying to pull on the chain as I was trying to do!
What really struck me, and is still swirling around in my head, is why I was so so so grateful for him stopping to help. I actually thought of walking with him to a Starbucks and buying him a coffee or something. All for less than a minute of his help! Part of me wonders if it is because I didn’t expect anyone to stop so I was so surprised by his small gesture, which is kind of sad when you think about it, but a larger part of me thinks that it just goes back to that idea of the “little things.” The little acts or words of kindness that come from an altruistic place and require nothing in return are sadly somewhat hard to come by, but that is what makes them so wonderful when they do happen, especially when they come from complete strangers.
I am not going to say that he renewed my faith in humanity, because first, that would just be cheesy, and secondly, although it is tested, my faith remains quite high most of the time, but I will say that it gave a little boost to my day through the feeling of gratitude. Seriously, that whole idea of listing off all the things that rock in your life when you are feeling down is one of the simplest and most effective ways to uplift your spirits, so when I biked away thinking about how awesome it was of this man to stop to help I definitely felt pretty great about life and everything. I also immediately started thinking of how I can pay it forward.
So here’s to the little things in life that can make a big difference in the most wonderful and simple ways!
This has been circulating around for a while now but just in case you haven’t seen it, here are some acts of kindness caught in Russia through car dashboard cameras.