The most enjoyable option

FullSizeRender
Amsterdam, April 2015: Monday evening, late for a meeting at 6.30pm. I ran from my office at Rockstart to my bike parked at Waterlooplein, only to find I lost my keys on the way there – they must’ve fallen out of my pocket. I could shoot myself for losing something small from this jacket yet again [the fifth bankcard since the beginning of 2014 just came in] and wondered if I’d ever learn, while unpacking my bag for a second time to make sure I hadn’t put the keys in there. Nowhere to be found.
 
The first solution that came to mind was renting a bike, as the meeting was in a remote place and using public transport would take me too long to get there.There happened to be a MacBike around the corner. Unfortunately, when I walked up at 6.45pm they had closed 15 minutes ago and the guy behind the counter wouldn’t budge.
Frustrated, I weighed my options; I could cancel the meeting, request an Uber, or find a stranger that would lend out his or her bike. The last seemed most enjoyable ;)
 
Ten minutes were spent finding this kind stranger. I figured people working around Waterlooplein that had traveled to work by bike would be my best bet and I tried the cafe next to the MacBike store and the huge Albert Heijn supermarket. No luck. The only other store that was open, was the Gall & Gall liquor store next to the supermarket.
 
I came in and there were two young people that greeted me; a boy and girl, both wearing their Gall&Gall t-shirts, happily interacting with a male customer. After the customer had paid, I came right out and said I had a situation and would like some help. Upon mentioning that I’d lost my bicycle keys, the girl grabbed a box from the counter and started looking in it.
“No, I am actually hoping I can borrow your bike from you, if you’re working until later today.”
“Oh.” She excused herself, and said she hadn’t come by bike. I turned to him.
“I realize it’s an odd request but I promise to be back before your shift ends.”
“Well.. I am staying until 9pm and I do have a bike.”
“Great! Could I borrow it?” 
“Well, I don’t normally do this, but then again.. no one ever really asks me.” Brief pauze. “Yes – I would like to be of help to you.”
“So cool. You really are.”
His name was Chevran. He got his set of keys, took the bike-key off, gave it to me and pointed to his mountainbike, which was leaning against the window of the shop. I unlocked it, got on and drove off – smiling to myself and realizing a potentially frustrating situation had turned into a happy one thanks to his awesome boy. The mountainbike brought me to the meeting super quickly – its wheels just squeaked heavily and it had come without any lights. I figured this would make for a nice thank you gift, to be bought on the way back a few hours later.
 

Around 8.30pm, I cycled back to Waterlooplein and stopped by a supermarket to get the gifts. A homeless guy sat in front and -eager to make someone else happy by being generous as well-, I asked what he’d like from inside.

“I prefer change.”
“I don’t have any cash, would you like something to drink or eat?”
“A beer?”
“Something healthy?”
He grinned and insisted: “A beer?”
I did the same: “Something healthy?”
“Ok then, a fruit juice.”
The supermarket didn’t sell lights unfortunately so I picked up flowers instead, and an apple & banana smoothie.
I drove on arrived at the liquor store just before 9pm.
“Hey!” Chevran said, upon seeing me come in.
I offered the flowers, and extensive thank-you’s, to both of them.  He was visibly happy.
“You know what I told her when you left?” he said, and pointed at his colleague. “I told her: nowadays, you can hardly trust people right, but I don’t know.. there was something in your face that kept me from asking for something to hold on to from you. I just gave you the key and knew you’d come back. I’m really happy I could be of help.”
Ah. This guy made my night twice, in less than three hours.
Helpfulness rocks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *