Saturday, March 24, 2007

As The World Turns - Here's the Scoop

Robyn McMaster always seems to light a spark. And when she kicks her post off with a link to Liz Strauss - who invites the "grabbing" of a graphic from Sandy Renshaw (that's her great work on the right) the spark turns into a brain flame. Her post from a couple days ago on changing the world resonated with me. Aside from the fact she uses one of my favorite newspaper terms - scoop - her story attests to the value of encouraging people. Catching them by surprise when they show their talents is sure to make them feel good! And who among us doesn't want to feel good? Or even great! This post turns her thoughts 180 degrees and causes reflection on those who encourage us. My feeling is changing the world involves a get and a give. Lets call it "reciprocating encouragement".

Last spring I decided it was time to get a new bicycle. There is a shop just a mile or so from my house - WheelSport. I walked in and one of the kids (isn't everyone a kid anymore? :) comes up to me and asks:
"Are you looking for a bike?"
"I was thinking about it. Do you work here?"
"I sure do - what kind are you looking for?"
(Let me break here for a moment - much as I'd like to scream down a rock strewn hill with dirt and dust flying all around me - my bones aren't as strong as once they were. Plus my health provider frowns on too many visits - something about preventive care. In addition, there is a certain value to every bit of skin and flesh I can save. So I tried a mountain bike but determined a more sensible style would be - well - more sensible :)
"ummmm - you have something built for comfort rather than speed?"
"What do you think of this one - what did you say your name was?"
"I'm Bob - How old are you, Jimmy?"
"Almost 16, Bob"
"You own this store?"
"Naw - I just work on the bikes."
By now I'm really enjoying this little adventure. Part of the joy in a purchase is the give and get from the salesperson. Jimmy doesn't know it yet but he's a winner! We got to yak-yakking back and forth and he hands me off to his co-worker, Josh. Josh fits me for the bike - which I really like, btw - and we get it ordered. "It should be here later this week and remember we can take care of anything you need - minor tune-ups are free!" My ears lit up, the smile broad on my mug. These guys are good! As last riding season wore on I had a few minor problems. Most of them had to do with blown out tires - 3 in a week - but thats another story. My bike guys really encouraged me to spend more time in the saddle.

Today was the 3rd day of their 4-day sale. Everything is 15% off and as you can imagine - its a frantic time of year for a bike store. Though it was raining today, the weather is breaking and soon the days scream for riding. I wanted to get a few items and today I met Jason. Jason is another teenager who works on the bikes in the shop. He fit me for a helmet, suggested a small tool to carry in my pack and advised me on some new road tires. (Some of you know, I'm planning to ride RAGBRAI this July. Let me take this opportunity - it won't be the last - to invite any of you IOWANS to meet up with me along the way - or even share the ride.) Then handed me off to Josh. We finished our transaction in the mayhem of people rushing in and out of the store. All I could do was shake my head and say "You guys are amazing - this place is a madhouse and you take it all in stride. I am blown away every time I come in here." Josh says -

"That's what we do, Bob - it's more fun when its busy and we have customers. The more people ride the better we feel"

Simple statements are the best. These bike guys are "encouragers". They thrive when people come back. They are fulfilled. My point is this - and I think Robyn's - when people are feeling good about what they do it shows. We get a true physical sensation when it happens. The point is to recognize and encourage one another with our actions and comments. Do it and we change the world! Its but one aspect of blog life we must remember to appreciate.


Robyn McMaster said...

Hi Bob, great to see you spell out the "give" and "take" on encouragement as you live it.

Here's a suggestion to bring even more encouragement to these young men -- see if they have a web site and provide a link to WheelSport. Let's see if we can direct some business their way.

And, you go get 'em in July.

You're practicing great ways to keep your brain running at it's peak -- the way you jump in to try new activities and keep the challenges coming!

ME Strauss said...

Hey Bob!
Those guys are so cool. I bet they'll be telling stories about "the place where they sold bikes" to their grandkids. How cool is that!??!!

BobG said...

Thanks Robyn - what an encouraging comment on my brain building :) I added WheelSport link though its a pretty weak site. My guess is that these crazies are too busy riding to keep a website current :)

Liz - your thought on future thinking is terrific. No grandkids but I still talk about my first job at the DQ. 60 cents an hour and all the Buster Bars I could eat :) - these guys will likely carry their "busted" knuckle scars from the wrenches that slip from the wheel hubs. They really are a cool bunch!

Gavin said...

Just make sure you ride safely, Bob!

BobG said...

Amen to that, first -