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Retired 05-23-10 07:42 PM

It all started with air
 
It all started when my wife told the kid next door I would put air in his tire. Needless to say it didn't end there. Before I knew it I had a bunch of kids asking me to put air in there tires. I have a lot of kids on my block; I do mean a lot (321 Tirck or Treaters at Halloween). Well next came patching tires, and then I had them bring over two and three bikes to swap parts to make one that worked. So far I have put 5 bikes back in service. The boy next door didn't have a bike so I gave him one I had picked up in a thrift store. It was an old 21 speed steel bike. The little girl acrossed the street didn't have one so I found one for $8.50 in a thrift store and fixed that one up and gave that to her.
The reason I did it was because the kids on my block are active. They are always out playing. They are riding there bikes, skate boards, jumping rope and playing soccer. The other reason is that they are so darned polite! These are the nicest bunch of kids I have ever seen. Most of there parents do not speak english so the kids are bi-lingual. What a bunch of nice kids. Now if I can only get there parents to get helmets for the kids I'd feel like I'm getting some place. Chalk it up to my fight against childhood obesity.

stringbreaker 05-23-10 07:53 PM

Good on ya brother for helping out. Hard to find polite kids these days. Perhaps the non english speakin parents are a bit more strict with the discipline when it comes to their kids. I would make sure though to not have the kids and you alone at any time unless there is another adult there, or be sure to be in plain sight of the houses in the neighborhood and the parents are aware they are welcom anytime to come over to help or just be there, that way no unseemly accusations can be made. Thats a hard thing to think about when you are trying to be a nice person and help the kids but it wouldn't be the first time someone was falsely accused of something if one of the kids felt slighted. Investigators sometimes can lead a kid to a certain line of questions and the next thing you know you are in jail and have to defend yourself.

Lauraspark 05-23-10 08:13 PM

Awesome! You are a wonderful mentor for the next generation! Thanks! :)

Retro Grouch 05-23-10 08:22 PM

I wouldn't mind doing some of that but none of the kids in our neighborhood ever come by. No trick-or-treaters either - at all. Do you suppose it's because I'm grouchy?

Dan Burkhart 05-23-10 08:48 PM

Good for you. What a great contribution you are making.
Our neighbourhood is full of active kids. We live on a crescent with very light traffic, so kids playing on the street is no problem. If I see a road hockey game set up on one end of the crescent if I'm driving home, I'll carry on to the other access so I don't have to interrupt the game.
I hear lots of talk about how today's kids have forgotten about outdoor activities, and are all parked in front of a computer or TV set getting fat. Wouldn't know it by the kids around here.
There is hope for the future.

doctor j 05-23-10 08:55 PM

Well done, Retired. In addition to providing bikes and repairs, you are, by example, teaching those kids to care for and help others in their community. They will, hopefully, remember this lesson as they get older.

Retired 05-23-10 08:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stringbreaker (Post 10855427)
Good on ya brother for helping out. Hard to find polite kids these days. Perhaps the non english speakin parents are a bit more strict with the discipline when it comes to their kids. I would make sure though to not have the kids and you alone at any time unless there is another adult there, or be sure to be in plain sight of the houses in the neighborhood and the parents are aware they are welcom anytime to come over to help or just be there, that way no unseemly accusations can be made. Thats a hard thing to think about when you are trying to be a nice person and help the kids but it wouldn't be the first time someone was falsely accused of something if one of the kids felt slighted. Investigators sometimes can lead a kid to a certain line of questions and the next thing you know you are in jail and have to defend yourself.


I'm well aware of that. That is why anytime I fix bikes for the kids I'm at the end of my driveway in full view of anyone on the street. Some of the parents come over with the kids. Good point.

Wanderer 05-23-10 09:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Retired (Post 10855747)
I'm well aware of that. That is why anytime I fix bikes for the kids I'm at the end of my driveway in full view of anyone on the street. Some of the parents come over with the kids. Good point.

Exactly what I do - make sure you are in plain sight, out on the driveway....... LOL

I do a lot of the same - I have one set of grandchildren right next door - and they bring all of their friends over - some moms even drop 'em off at my house if my daughter in law isn't home. Most of them even call me grandpa !! LOL

Sometimes, I have half a dozen bikes on the driveway, waiting for their turn in the rack..... Nobody goes home without good brakes, good used tires, and good shifting.

stapfam 05-24-10 11:24 AM

I look after the kids bikes in my street but some of them just are not worth working on. Just recently aquired 7 old Mixte bikes and made 3 decent bikes out of them. At least I managed to get rid of two "Wally Mart" bikes by giving them away. Still have one good bike waiting for a new owner and a pile of spares to repair the others with.

But I hate to say it- you have a job for life. May not pay well but the enjoyment on the kids faces is well worth it.

miss kenton 05-24-10 11:49 AM

:thumb: I think what you are doing is wonderful. You will surely be always remembered as a good man by the children you've helped! Great post!

Randy Bosma 05-25-10 03:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Retro Grouch (Post 10855544)
Do you suppose it's because I'm grouchy?

More likely your retro-ness. :D However, that's just a guess.

ahsposo 05-25-10 03:29 PM

:thumb:

Yeah!

coldfeet 05-25-10 07:38 PM

Great story, I would love to know what would happen if you got sick, ( Please don't let that happen now, I'd feel I'd cursed you or something ) I'd be willing to bet you'd have a procession of Mothers and Grandmothers at your door with food and remedies..

sjordan1959 05-26-10 05:58 AM

I know I am a softy, but this brought tears to my eyes. I teach high school and I see so many kids who don't have a caring adult in their lives. And you are teaching them by example which is one of the most powerful ways to learn. Yesterday was the day after we finished our finals and I read a children's story to my getting ready to graduate students. It was a story my kids had enjoyed when they were little. One student said "You read to your kids?" And I said "Every night before bed." And several kids were shocked. So I explained the bedtime ritual of bath and story. I guess what I am trying to say is hooray for the old school ways!

bikegeek57 05-26-10 06:41 AM

good for you retired. that's terrific.

dcmurf 05-26-10 11:10 AM

What a great story.

We had a gentleman who did the same thing in the neighborhood in which I grew up. Bill had a basement workshop full of old parts and could always be counted on to fix a flat or cobble together a repair. When he turned 70, my sister and a friend went around the neighborhood and collected money to buy him a gift. I have no idea how much they collected, but they were able to buy him a watch and presented it to him amid a large crowd of kids and adults. It was all the poor guy could do to keep from bawling like a baby in front of us. It is one of my favorite memories.

You're a good person, and a great ambassador for bicycling!

Retired 05-26-10 07:26 PM

Well the bike repair will have to wait for a while. I was cleaning the stove (something men shouldn't do) I guess I pressed a little to hard and popped the tip of my middle finger out of the joint. I popped it back in but now it hangs down a bit. I guess I tore up some ligaments or something. It's not swollen but it is a little sore.
I had three requests at my door this afternoon.
1) Paper clips
2) Paper cups
3) Bottle of water
This was for there Kool Aid stand.
Makes me wonder.
Oh don't worry I have plenty of scientific calculators (graphing and non-graphing). I'm gearing up for these kids.

NOS88 05-26-10 07:38 PM

Those kids are lucky to live in a neighborhood with you. Nicely done.

trackhub 05-26-10 08:09 PM

You deserve a medal, Sir. Or at least, a pizza.

Whiteknight 05-26-10 09:12 PM

Same deal with me in this neighborhood. I have become the Last Gringo.
Neighborhood kids saw me riding my bike around the neighborhood. We no longer have any real gas stations in this town. A few convenience stores have air pumps you feed quarters into. The kids may have to go several blocks to find one. So they started knocking at my door asking if I would "pump" their tires. Of course patching tubes came next and the fixing brakes.

A few watched and asked questions as I worked on their bikes. A good number picked up on what I was doing and started working on their own bikes and friends bikes. My neighbors laugh when a bunch of young kids roll down the street on their 20" bikes and all yell, "Hi Bill".

After 30 years of working in one of the worst polluter chemical plants in the state doing something useful for these kids gives me a feeling of doing something useful for a change. I also try to teach they to ride on the streets without getting hit by a car.


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