Sunday, October 6, 2013

Kindness and generosity

'What goes around, comes around', 'pay it forward', 'do unto others...', 'random acts of kindness' are all phrases that encourage us to be generous and kind.

When you see people going places on two wheels, kindness and generosity are not the first sentiments that come to mind.

More often than not, the rider we see is solitary, the glimpse we get is fleeting.  There's not much time to form any impression.  If I think about this, trying to put myself back into the shoes I wore before I started riding, the impression that comes to mind more than any other is solitude.  The solitary rider.  Other impressions I imagine as I think about it some more, are somewhat unfavourable, often associated with loud pipes, sport bikers bent on breaking a land speed record, or even outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Because non-riders outnumber riders by a huge, huge proportion, I imagine that kindness and generosity are the furthest things from most people's minds when it comes to riding, and riders.

From my relatively new vantage point as a rider, the strongest impressions I have of riders are of generosity and kindness.

I won't name names, because no one is looking for praise or recognition, far from it.  But I can cite incredible acts of kindness and generosity I have witnessed, and personally benefited from.  I will admit to having performed some of those acts myself.  The truth is that it would be very difficult for me to balance the account by giving as much as I have received.  As some of you know, I have tried.  But it seems an impossible task.

So I do the best I can, with my modest means.  I did a nice turn recently for a rider I've never met, who lives in a far-off place.  I hope some day to visit, and to connect the face, the voice and the presence needed to complete our acquaintance, and our mutual acts of kindness and generosity.

This is just one of the ways riding has brought me happiness.

Me ka ha`aha`a,



The City Mouse in the Country said...

Yes, that is the beauty of riding. This brother (and sister!)hood. :D

Canajun said...

Well said David.

David Masse said...

Thanks for the kind words guys. This post was written well before the recent New York City madness that sets a new lower standard for collective behaviour in a 'civilized' society.

SonjaM said...

David, I strongly believe in Karma, and like you I hope to be able to return or forward the kindness I received. Good things happen to those traveling on a bike ;-)

David Masse said...

Sonja, that's what makes the New York incident all the more shocking. I believe however that it has nothing to do with riding, and everything to do with mob rule. Mobs are ugly, no matter what the venue is.

Unknown said...


it was probably just luck that we all managed to find each other. Physically meeting is the next natural progression

Riding the Wet Coast

len@RE-GLAZE-IT said...

David ,
You guys in this ever growing, wide spread circle of truly nice folk are great .

David picture this .. Your going down a road on the gts and there's a broken down cage .... Do you stop?

Next ....Your going down a road on the gts and there's a broken down vespa .... Do you stop?

Do we favour our "friends" more?


Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

My impressions have been that as people, once we break into subset groups, we tend to do a better job of reaching out among ourselves, offering to our groups that which we could just as well offer to the entire population. So, bigger groups?? Maybe we already have one big one?

Trobairitz said...

Well said David. One of the reasons we started a local forum was to get to know those other riders we tend to wave at while out riding but do not know.

The interweb does a great thing in bringing riders together from different areas.

Being kind to others is just a natural thing to do for most people, I hope.

David Masse said...

True, but there is something compelling about meeting a fellow moto blogger. There is just so much shared experience that, for me at least, it is worth the effort to make it happen.

Luck does enter the picture in terms of being able to make the trip or spare the time.

David Masse said...

Len there is no doubt we favour our friends, as we should.

It's a good question. I'd like to think that I would stop to assist a person in need.

I once came across a young guy visibly intimidating a young woman just a short way down an alley downtown. I remained on the sidewalk, and called to the man to let the woman leave. I took the precaution of dialing 911 on my phone and told him so. The girl was able to leave, and I left once she was in the clear. I told the 911 operator that the situation had been resolved only after I left the scene. I was two blocks from the office and I kept a vigilant eye out behind me.

So yes, based on that experience, I do believe I'd stop. I wouldn't though if I was certain the situation was covered (for instance a stall on the shoulder of an urban expressway). The authorities have eyes and ears, and just about everyone has a cell phone. If the stall is in the lane, I have in the past called 911 to make the situation known to police due to the risk of collision.

David Masse said...

Coop, I think you're right. It's easier to relate to folks in our social circle, who share our interest, be it in a religious community, social club, etc.

We'd all be much better off to the extent we expand those circles.

David Masse said...

Trobairitz I share your hope.

When people suffer it's often because they have been objectified in a way that makes it easier for us to consider them not to be one of "us". Like street people. It's human nature, but a shame nevertheless.

Steve Williams said...

Like you I've met many fine people on the road -- riders and drivers alike. There is a compassion that exists.

I wondered whether you were a helmet provider. You sprang to mind when I read the story because you have that kind of empathy...

David Masse said...

Steve, I can't afford to be that generous. There are some very wealthy folks on MV, plus dealers. I'm touched that you thought it might be me.

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