We’ve been back from France for a week now. Wednesday found me somewhat at odds with myself – not quite sure what to do with free-time that goes on endlessly. An unsettling luxury. I checked out French classes and sewing classes but settled on returning to t’ai chi.
A short outing Friday gave me some additional perspective.
I’d like to continue cycling into the fall, which meant I needed some gloves. Off I went to our longstanding Kanata sports store where I also bought my bike two years ago. I think sales staff are going to go crazy in a few years when more boomers have retired, because shopping is a whole new experience when you have lots of time on your hands, especially at the end of a season when stock is being cleared.
Sporting stores are special though because their staff are passionate. Find the staffer who shares your passion and you can really pass some serious time chatting. I see a lot of sports in my future! Suffice it to say that I found helpful people, learned that my head and the back of my neck might also benefit from some covering-up, and found a summer cycling shirt for half price (something that I really didn’t need, but somehow badly needed yesterday).
The shirt and gloves were at the sales counter and I was deep into conversation with a young girl about the merits of different head coverings when there was a sudden surge of people into the store. Thinking it was the after school crowd (which still would have been weird), I commented about it to her and she told me that it was because one of their staff members had just returned from taking part in the Rick Hansen Man in Motion, relay and his team and supporters were returning to the store to celebrate. There was lots of picture taking, champagne, and an enthusiastic buzz. I’m never a good bystander, so I was eager to make my purchase and be on my way. The young man behind the counter asked the manager if it would be OK for him to ring it in. He looked familiar to me and I suspect it was he who sold me my bike, or later on helped me decide on accessories, or perhaps he was the one who patiently explained why I was having trouble inflating my tires and gave me a demonstration on what I needed to do (that was just embarrassing).
This time though, he was in a wheel chair. An off-road cycling accident four months ago.
Purchases in hand, I lingered for a while longer. He wheeled out from behind the counter to thank people who had been such an important part of his life these past months. It couldn’t have been easy to be surrounded by a recent past of sporting equipment and colleagues, one so different from his present, or to be the centre of attention for reasons that aren’t of your own choosing and that really you wouldn’t wish on anyone. His employer, Kunstadt Sports, received special praise from him and that also started me thinking about small businesses and their important and often unique contributions to our communities.
As I was leaving the store someone else told me about how important meeting Rick Hansen and being invited to take part in the relay had been for this young man. I’ve never been a fan of big charitable fundraising “machines”, but a chance encounter yesterday changed that.
|may we never take our footprints for granted|