He stopped his bike in the middle of the road.
Traffic was at a halt in front of a park just two blocks from home. The park isn't much – some fields, kiddie playground and a basketball court – but hey, we're in the middle of town and happy to have it.
As I neared the park I realized the guy in front of me had stopped his bike – he was riding a Harley. There was someone in front of him and the cars in the next lane were stopped too.
A normally busy artery running through the center of town not moving.
Then the biker turned off his ride, dropped the kickstand, leaned over and got off.
Things looked really interesting now.
Seconds later he'd run to the front of our lanes and waving energetically made on-coming traffic stop as well.
Then he waved to the sidewalk and two small kids – maybe 8 years old – began to cross the street. Safely. The biker watched out for them all the way.
There's a crosswalk and signal where we were stopped. People are aware of and courteous to riders and walkers here. Lights go on, we stop.
But the lights weren't on. Maybe they weren't working, or the kids couldn't reach the button. Or didn't know where it was.
Doesn't matter – they were stuck.
The experience brought out two things
First, think of the optics. Big biker riding a Harley. Turns off his bike and dismounts in the middle of the street. Uh-oh. Trouble.
Yep: he took the trouble to help a couple of little kids – strangers – get safely across the road.
Stereotypes can really get in way
Next was the simple act of kind cooperation by so many. The biker was behind another car. He wasn't the first one at the crossing. Someone else had to take the first step. By stopping.
Someone in the adjacent lane had to also realize there was a problem and stop too.
On-coming traffic stopped as the biker waved them down. No one honked (we don't honk down here – if you do, we'll know you're from out of town), no one yelled out of their car window. No one raced their engine in impatience on a Friday afternoon anxious to get the weekend started.
Someone took the first step and everyone involved played their part responsibly. And two small kids got home safely after crossing a major street with a little help.
When you get the opportunity, you can take a step too.
Watch the community come together as you do.
Remember to look twice for bikes and ride safely.