Kindness of Strangers: Mad Map Edition

Kindness of Strangers: Mad Map Edition

Mad Map Northern CaliforniaWhen Kenny and I were heading south on California 96, we traded places with another group of riders along the route a few times. When we stopped in Weitchpec for gas, they were not long in pulling in behind us. An FJR came wheeling in to the lot and parked closest to us. The rider swung his leg over the bike, pulled off his helmet and… is that Donald Sutherland?

“Lee” was a kindly man. He had a gentle but enthusiastic demeanor and looked you in the eye as he spoke. He and his band of merry men were tearing up the backroads on the last leg of their yearly week-long sojourn. Like us, they were heading back to the Bay area.

He asked where we were from and what would bring us to of all places, tiny Weitchpec. So, I told him that we were from New York and that we were just kind of bumming around for the week. He gave me a big smile and a handshake and said, “Well… welcome to California.” He then said he had something for me and walked over to his motorcycle.

When he came back to me, he handed me a Mad Maps – Northern California map and said “Enjoy our state.” I thanked him with my whole heart and he waved it off with a smile saying, “Hey, we’re all scooter riders.”

After we went our separate ways, Lee stayed on my mind for the rest of the day. He didn’t have to give me his fancy map, or be kind or even say “Hello.” But, he did. Now and forever when I think of that day, that tiny gas station in the middle of nowhere; every time that I look at my new map – I will think of Lee.

I was taught a lesson in that exchange. A valuable one. What you do and what you say matters to people. Even if you never see them again.

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7 Replies to “Kindness of Strangers: Mad Map Edition”

  1. Very true. And, given the frequent transitory experiences we have on motorcycles, the opportunities for this happens often to us.

    I try never to miss a chance to say something nice, on the road or online.

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