Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Bicycle Canibalization..

Last Thursday night we out to dinner with a couple from Peru and their son, Fabrizio. My wife works in the same building as the husband, Johnny (Juan), and a week or two ago she saw him walking in the cold and offered him a ride.

He doesn't speak much english, but my wife has a degree in spanish and so they are able to communicate well.

As it turns out, he has no vehicle, and has to walk to and from work each day, regardless of the weather, as well as to shop, do laundry, go to the post office, or whatever else needs to be done.... all on foot. Everywhere. Every day.

His wife and child speak no english whatsoever.

They are incredibly nice people, and we had a nice time with them when we went out to dinner. At the end of the evening, Johnny insisted on paying the tab for everybody's dinner. We know that he can't possibly be making enough money to be able to afford this... but he still insisted. We could only get him to agree to allow us to pay the tab the next time we went out to dinner together.

After we dropped them off at their house, Elysia and I were discussing the evening, and discussing Johnny and his family. It bothered me that they were in a new country, didn't speak the language all that well, and to top it off, had no form of transportation whatsoever. I know that he cannot afford to obtain and maintain a motor vehicle... I suspect he cannot afford to put gas in a motor vehicle at this point... so I wondered out loud whether we could come up with a bicycle for him to ride to and from work. Elysia thought that this was a fantastic idea, and we began to put out feelers.

One of the guys that I work with agreed to give us two mountain bikes that he no longer uses, and Elysia's Dad gave us a woman's English racer, and a cable and lock with two keys to lock the bikes up with.

We picked the bikes up on Saturday, and worked on them on Sunday, canibalizing one mountain bike to get the other one fixed and serviceable.

Once we had two working bicycles, we loaded them in the truck and headed over to Johnny's house.

When we arrived, we unloaded the bikes and wheeled them over to the front door. Elysia knocked on the door, and presented Johnny and his wife Theresa with the bicycles when they answered. They were thrilled!! These bikes weren't brand new, they weren't perfect, but they are an option for getting around. At least now Johnny can save an hour or two a day that can be spent with his family.

Johnny kissed and hugged Elysia, and I got a hug, too.

Having lived in many foreign countries, I know what it is to at least have a friend there... it can make a world of difference. Hopefully, he realizes that if they ever had an emergency, or ran into difficulties, they could call us, and we would be there to help. We're all in this together, after all...

In any case, they were happy.... and that made us happy!

That's something to be thankful for.

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