I’m at Housing Works Thrift Shop sniffing around, hoping nothing major catches my eye, since last time I popped in, madam came home lugging a rocking chair.
There’s a little Latino fella transfixed by a red and white bike that’s out for sale.
He keeps rolling it back and forth, tenderly rubbing its seat like a woman he’s very fond of.
While perusing odd pieces of china, I watch him out of the corner of my eye.
He looks as if he’s about to leave.
I mosey over.
“Seems like you’re interested in that bike.”
He rubs his chin thoughtfully before saying, ‘Yaz, my fadder’ needs one, for hez’ store, but I dunno much so, could be too much.”
I peek at the price. 85.00 dollars. To me it looks like a good deal since it does seem in good shape. A guy comes in, on cue, in bike-racer regalia, so I call him over.
“What do you think of this bike?”
Without pause, he crouches, looking it over with a jeweler’s eye and says, “It’s great, but the front tire is pretty shot.”
The Latino guy is standing behind us listening.
“Is it worth 85 bucks ya think, even with a worn out tire?”
“Absolutely. Do you know what a bike like this costs new? It’s a Renegade.”
I turn to the Latino fella. “Well, it’s a good buy he says. Do you have the money to get it?’
“He looks down at his black, beat up Converse High Tops and says, “I have 100 doe’lers’ saved so, yaz’, I have.”
This is killing me. This poor guy wants to do something nice for his dad, spending all the money he has in the world, so I say, “I’m Susannah and I’d like to help. How bout I chip in.”
“Cheep’ in? No comprendo Senora.”
“I want to help so you’ll buy it.”
Just then the bike expert says, “That’s really great. You know what, I’ll chip in too.”
Then the girl behind the counter says, “I’ll give you the Super Tuesday’s 20% off discount even though it’s Thursday.”
Before we know it, the bike is now only going to cost this young fella $25.00, then the bike man says, he’d take him to the bike shop and help him get a new tire.
I am so moved by the generosity going around like a strain of sudden goodness, that I start to cry.
The soon to be new bike owner, hands me his folded handkerchief, the kind only real gentlemen carry and says, “No ca’di Senora. I should ca’di. Such kind people I nee’ver know.”
It made me think of that wall we’ve been hearing so much about, since Manuel, is his name, looks like a candidate for being on its other side.
It made the whole matter, matter so much more.
“Happy Valentine’s Day Amigo.”