I have a two-step process to get to my classes. First I drive to a Kroger north of campus, then I pull my bike out of the back of my car and bike the rest of the way, either on the trail or the main street. It’s rough at 7am in winter. One wintery day I got out of my 8am class, headed to my bike, only to see that someone else had locked their bike to the same bike rack, but simultaneously locked my bike with theirs. I waited around for about half an hour to see if they would be coming back anytime soon. After no sign of the bike’s owner, I called the campus police because I didn’t know what else to do. The campus policeman came and tried to cut the lock with a bolt cutter, but to no avail. I think his masculinity was a little offended. The attempt to cut the lock went on for about 15 minutes, various people gathering around adding their two-sense and trying to help. Finally, the policeman was just like “screw this” and offered me a ride to wherever I was going. I explained to him my process of getting to school and, being the self-sufficient independent woman I am, politely told him I’d just take the bus back to my car. But he insisted that he give me a ride since he couldn’t cut the lock. I’d never ridden in a police car before, so after a mini-debate in my mind, I decided to take him up on the offer. It was actually pretty cool, he explained what all the little buttons were for and how the doors were bullet-proof. We had an interesting conversation and I learned a lot about an otherwise anonymous face. He dropped me off at my car and said I should check back on my bike later in the day and hopefully the person would have unlocked their bike from mine. He even gave me his business card and said to call if I needed anything else. Not gonna lie, I felt pretty cool. I mean how often is it that you get a ride from a policeman that’s not taking you to jail! This story reminds me of a fabulous quote: “One of the greatest barriers to connection is the cultural importance we place on “going it alone.” Somehow we’ve come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we’re very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It’s as if we’ve divided the world into “those who offer help” and “those who need help.” The truth is that we are both.”― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection. I came across this quote quite a while after my incident with the bike, but it really stuck with me. I don’t know about you, but this quote sliced right through my “I can do it myself” façade. And yes, a lot of things I can do by myself, however, what I realized was that accepting other’s help can be an unexpected adventure and may even result in making a friend and a free ride in a police car.
P.S I went back later that evening and my bike was unlocked. I still ride it to school to this day.