Letter: I've been there. How can I help?

Posted
To the editor:



On a Sunday motorcycle trip through the gorgeous Green Mountains of Vermont I found new faith in humanity. While broke down in North Bennington on my motorcycle I was amazed at the perfect strangers offering assistance. There was the lady in the white truck who stopped first at the corner of Hawks, Buckley and Greenwich. She knew Jim who stopped second and gave me a pair of needle nose vice grips suggesting I could try clamping my broken cable to the lever to make it home. I still have your pliers Jim.

We managed to get out of the intersection and down to the safety of a parking lot at Paulin's Convenience Store/laundromat. There we met Wendy-Kate who worked at the store and offered her car keys for me to go buy a tool while she covered her shift at Paulin's. I did get a tool and a cable crimp with the help from the plumber/electrician guy at Home Depot. I proceeded to attempt a repair when Garth pulled up on a nice old Honda and lent a hand also digging through his tool kit for anything that could be useful.

This was no operation like Apollo 13 and mostly we were safe and sound the entire time. My roadside repair worked for a while but ultimately we were stranded again.

The thing that struck me was that most everyone that helped said "they had been there" and haven't we all? Not on a motorcycle per se but in general. We have all faced struggles and challenges. We have all "been there" at one point or another. From finishing school to finding a job and a place to live and trying make ends meet, haven't we all endured something?

The specifics are different but the challenges are no less trying. If there is a common thread that runs among us it is struggle. Whether we struggle with school, work, family, loss of a loved one, illness, addiction or any myriad of things. There is another common thread that unites us. That thread is compassion. It can be difficult to find empathy or generosity to help another while managing our own lives and I am as guilty as anyone at times being selfish, judgmental or unconcerned. I want to say thank you to all those that helped.

To the people mentioned above and to Scott and Jen who mobilized ready to hook up a trailer and come get me. To Mike and Candice who did haul out with a trailer and delivered me and my bike home when I expected to leave it in a parking lot. And thank you Tracy who helped me understand being a biker is less about riding fast or looking cool and more about how you behave when the kickstand is down. If you have ever struggled, if you have ever "been there" give this post a share. I hope it gets back to the people in North Bennington Vermont so they know I'm thinking about them. So many of them told me they'd be thinking of me and hoping I make it home. I did, thanks to all of you.

My name is Tim and I've been there. How can I help?

— Tim Wojcik

Amsterdam. N.Y.

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