brief snapshots in time. memories and thoughts. disorganized and random.

Monday, July 18, 2005

the kindness of strangers

I mentioned the long walk/ride to the race from where we parked yesterday. and the kindness of the race participants to one another. I'm not sure if that only happens in this race, but it's part of why I wanted to race this one again.

besides the encouragement by other participants, there is also an abundance of kindness spread around by the volunteers and spectators. and yesterday, one of each, in particular.

the volunteers are great. they stand along the course cheering on each and every participant, and many of the spectators do the same thing. the amazing feeling of camaraderie continues past the finish line. into the post race celebration and beyond.

I finish packing my gear. I'm standing there, tired and a little grumpy, waiting for A& M. one of the race volunteers is standing nearby directing traffic, so that the people leaving don't interfere with the people still racing.

he starts chatting with me in between direction giving. he asks how the race went. if I had fun, etc. of course maybe he just found me sexy in my sweaty race gear, but I'm guessing he's just a nice guy asking a tired, impatient-looking racer how the day was out of kindness.

we start heading back to the car after A and M walk up. they had their guys to help carry gear. I just had myself. normally this wouldn't be a big deal. I carried it all into the race, afterall.

the problem is, I'm not really supposed to carry heavy things (doc's orders because of my back). and since the race was still going, the route they made us take back meant we had to carry our bikes up a steep hill and over fields dotted with cacti.

after the race I was physically and mentally exhausted. and as I'm struggling to carry my bike and bag, I joke with A and M that next season I'm finding me a burly man to carry my gear. they laugh as do two girls walking nearby.

and then the two very sweet girls offer their help. I told them I was fine. that's part of the deal, you carry your own gear. we talk for a little while. the girls were there to watch one of their sister's race. and one finally insisted that since I had raced, she could carry my bag.

and she did, nearly the entire mile or so between the race and the parking lot, even after I could easily walk my bike once we were past the prickly field. I thanked her profusely, but I wonder if she knows just how much I truly appreciated her kindness?

I wonder if anyone realizes the impact that a small act of kindness can have on a complete stranger?

7 comments:

Christie Jo said...

A few years ago, a saying found its way to a bumper sticker I noticed while sitting at a stoplight (one of the three in my town :o) ). It simply stated "Practice random acts of kindness.". Wouldn't it be awesome if the world could take that concept to heart? Great blog, by the way. I enjoy your writing :o)

Keith said...

I wonder too. It's the small things in life that often make this world a better place to live.

Sounded like fun, and if I was there, I've would've helped you as well. ;-)

Rainypete said...

I often pull off unsolicited niceness. The look of shocked happiness is typically worth it. It's amazing how people can ignore each other instead of simply offering their hand to help. Sad really.

The World Against Me said...

Scott Adams said, "Remember there is no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end."

The smallest thing we can offer to do often has a huge impact on others..

I think I need to work on lending a helping hand out more often. Thanks for the inspiration.

GlitterGlamGirl05 said...

The small things make the biggest differences sometimes!

Jen said...

I think that most people don't realize the strong effect of their kind actions.

Brian Lavery said...

Other than getting up at 4:00 am you had a great day! Hope you booked a massage appointment.