So Master Sean, his buddy Michael and myself got together for a little roll yesterday afternoon to introduce them to the joys and aromas of the L.A. River Bikeway as they continue to get acquainted with their new/tuned-up bikes and warm to the idea of participating in tonight’s Midnight Ridazz. Michael was repeatedly impressed that there was some semblance of an actual river to ride by, and Sean was thrilled to be working the new Gripshifters he’d gotten installed. On the way up we talked of Tony Pierce joining LAist to put “Los Angeles back on the map,” and on the way down I listened in as Sean and Michael geeked all over themselves about World of Warcraft while warning me away from such play.
In short, the ride was a nice sundowner cruise north from the Fletcher Avenue bridge up to the end/beginning of the path beside the 134 Freeway at Victory Boulevard and back, and on the return trip paralleling the northbound Golden State Freeway south of the Colorado Boulevard offramp we rolled up on a family evacuating what looked to be a solo spinout that had come to a stop pointed in the wrong direction blocking the third and fourth lanes. Fortunately it appeared there was nothing beyond the rattled nerves of some of the child passengers, but what’s stuck with me since is how grateful the mom was when we called out to see if everybody was OK or if a call to 911 was required.
We asked her while she was in the midst of trying to corral several obviously shaken kids out of traffic lanes and behind a stopped minivan on the shoulder of a busy-ass freeway, but even so occupied she turned appreciatively to us and repeatedly said “thank you for stopping and asking” and it got me wondering how many times no one has offered her assistance so that she felt the imperative to stop and make a point of praising us for doing so.
Why is it that the simple act of reaching out across whatever prevailing divide and offering assistance in whatever shape or form is such a tough extension to make? Is it because we assume help must already be on the way or because we intentionally leave it for someone else to do? Or is it because we just don’t give a shit? I don’t have the answers to such questions. Instead I answer with a question: Can I help you?