A Good Samaritan, Chicago-Style

Divvy Bike

Note that we used our own bikes, not Divvy bikes. But we saw so many on the trail, it seemed like a good picture to use.

Yesterday, the Art Institute had a family program tied into its new exhibit, Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity. The Art Institute’s family programs are inevitably excellent, so we decided to bike down, look at the exhibit, and then let the kids make the related art. The museum’s about 6.5 miles from us on the Lakefront Trail and, even though there and back would be the longest ride my oldest had ever taken, we figured she could make it.

So we loaded up, the oldest on her bike, the next on a tagalong behind me and the youngest on a bike seat on my wife’s bike. 6.5 miles turns out, though, to be a lot for a young child and, since I had to be back home to take our car to be serviced in the early afternoon, we decided on the Children’s Museum at Navy Pier instead. At 5.5 miles, it cut off two miles round-trip.

We spent a couple hours playing at the Children’s Museum and, at 1:00, headed back to our bikes. As I was unlocking them, my second pointed to my rear tire, which was completely flat. I pumped it up quickly and we started to rush home, but a quarter mile later, it was clearly not going to hold enough air. So we stopped in some grass, let the girls play, I held my wife’s bike, and my wife started to remove my back tire.

I had a pump and a patch kit (and, of course, a diaper bag and four bottles of water) in my backpack, but hadn’t brought an extra inner-tube. After maybe ten minutes, while my wife and older man with a snowy white beard stopped. He set his bike down and asked if we had a spare inner-tube. (We did, at home.) He had two, he said, and pulled one out. He then proceeded to show and instruct us, step-by-step, on how we should be replace the tire.

After it was on, he felt all of our tires. None of them had the air pressure they needed; we pumped most of them up, but he pulled out his pump and did one. We offered to pay for the inner-tube. He said no. He then rode away, as we packed the kids up and got back on the path.

7 comments for “A Good Samaritan, Chicago-Style

  1. When saw we thee with a flat tire and gave unto thee an innertube?

    My bike chain came off and got seriously jammed when I was a missionary in Toulouse. I wrestled with it by the side of a very busy road. A man pulled out f heavy traffic, worked my chain out of its knot and got it back in place, and jumped back in his car an left, all without saying a word. He probably forgot it two days later, but I never will.

    Thanks for a great start to the weekend.

  2. Thanks, Ardis; that’s a great story. I love the general generosity people can display.

  3. Good stories Sam and Ardis!

    One of the habits I developed years ago was to always ask, “Is there anything I can do for you?” whenever I talk to someone. Usually the answer is no, but at times a sweet opportunity to serve comes. They are almost always something that I can do quite easily but that was a huge burden to the other person, like fixing a tire or chain for someone. If you don’t currently do it, I highly recommend making that simple sentence a habit in your conversations.

  4. Simple awareness of those around us and their needs, followed by simple kindness – how beautiful it is!

    I am reminded of a couplet from one of my grandmother’s poems:

    “If every man relieved the pain he saw,
    We’d need no glory; Heaven would be here.”

  5. Not the ever darkening world then?

    2 years ago we had a house flood. 10,000 other houses flooded in our city. The day after the water went down there were 100,000 volunteers offering their services for the initial clean up. None of these were Mormons, the mormons were waiting for their P’hood leaders to organise them into helping hands, which happened a couple of weeks later, when most of the initial clean up was complete.

    Most of the people out there in the world are wonderful people who are at least as good as us, as you found out.

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