What I’m about to share is real. Names have not been changed so that proper praise may be given.
I sent my motorcycle away to “paint camp” in early March. It was very eager to go and with the cold weather, I was eager to send it. As expected, March eventually shifted into April. The weather began to warm up and April zoomed into May. Then my itch started with day after day of dry, pleasant, sometimes even hot, weather. Man, I started to miss my bike. So, I made a phone call to the “paint camp counselor” to see how the little buckaroo was doing. With a good report it would be only a matter of days before I would see my ride once again!
A week passed and it was excruciatingly painful as I “enjoyed” my breakfast at the Lebanon Deli, a wonderful little shop along Main Street, Lebanon, NJ. The clock ticked and ticked and ticked but not fast enough! The dealership didn’t open for another 30 minutes. I had my jacket, helmet, gloves and glasses. I was ready to roll, baby! I’d been searching for a painter to lay down a custom graphic on my bike for nearly three years. I finally found one at the shop where I take my bike, Rollin’ Fast Motor Sports, a Victory and Indian dealership. Both John and Greg have been fantastic over the years with the products and service they provide. I don’t go anywhere else.
With an eager, but not too eager as if I’m a child on Christmas morning stride, I made my way to the shop. There it was in all its glossy glory! A paint scheme I hadn’t seen anywhere else in all my adventures at bike rallies and rides. No cliché skulls or eagles (sorry Harley). No flames or demons. Just a very well painted graphic that holds personal significance to me, airbrushed from fender to fender.
I greeted the guys, paid my bill and saddled up for the first and long-awaited ride of my season. Taking highways and winding roads, I took the long way to get home. And, as usual, I waited for the fuel light to come on – one of the few signals, other than an ice cream stand, that forces me off of my bike. I eventually rolled into a QuickCheck store at the intersection of Routes 46 and 519 in White Township, NJ to get fuel. I popped the gas cap and reached for my wallet… reached for my wallet… looked in the saddlebag for my wallet… checked my pocket for my wallet….
“How ya doing today?” came a voice from behind the pump. “Uh, not so great…,” I replied, “I can’t find my wallet.” “Do you have enough to get home?” the mild-faced young man asked with a look of concern. “I don’t think so.” I said. Then I heard the strangest thing I’d heard in a while. It took me a moment to digest what he said, and it was amazing.
“I can give you a couple of dollars of fuel and you can come back and pay me later.”
"Come back and pay me later." Huh? Did he just actually say that? Is this 1940? Can he do that? Is this a joke? Will he get fired? All these things raced through my mind as I processed the amazing kindness that had just been offered to me. No wallet. No money. He doesn’t know me from Adam. I looked at him with a bit of stunned amazement and thankfulness and I accepted his offer.
“I didn’t set the pump, so be careful.” He handed me the nozzle and walked away. I pumped in $2 worth of fuel, not wanting to be greedy and being very careful to honor his kindness. With the half-a-gallon of new fuel in the tank, I moved my bike out of the lane and called the bike shop. I’d left my wallet way back in Lebanon. Ugh! “Too far to go on that little amount of gas,” I thought to myself. So, I took off with a thankful grin on my face pondering what my next move would be. The pipes roared as I made my way to a local bank to get some cash with just my face and a memorized account number. Thank you, Baker Federal Credit Union! You guys rock!
When I returned to QuickCheck, my fuel light was again glowing. I happily handed Jason a bill that more than covered the $2 he had fronted me. I fueled up with the newly-acquired cash, but I was a penny short! Ugh! “Will I ever get this right?”, I thought to myself with exaggerated exasperation. I searched the pavement for a forlorn penny to top off my $10.01 purchase. Finding none, Jason laughed and said he’d cover me on the penny.
What a day! What a lesson! What a wonderful wandering adventure! It gave me hope. It showed me kindness. It helped me see what I’ve long known but often forget – that a simple, seemingly insignificant act can make a huge difference in a person’s life.
My prayer is that more of us will be like Jason. How about making a difference in someone's day with a little act of kindness. Heck, filler 'er up with kindness! - that's the way we should live! Well done, Jason, well done!
PS: I openly and enthusiastically invite you to meet Jason at QuickCheck and encourage him in his kindness. Also, please patronize the businesses mentioned in this post. They're good people!