Back in September, we wrote a story detailing how the pandemic led to a bike boom in cities all across America as people looked for safer ways to get around. Such was the case in Potomac, Maryland, home to avid cyclist and retired mathematician Ric Jackson.
When Jackson’s neighbor was looking for someone to fix the brakes on his daughter’s bicycle, he decided to lend a hand. “I fixed it up. He took it back. And she was thrilled and he was thrilled,” Jackson said. “And it’s just mushroomed.”
Since that act of neighborly love, Jackson has gone on to fix more than 650 bikes for friends, neighbors, and random strangers. His fee? Not a single cent. Jackson says he already gets a lot in return from his free labor, especially when he sees the look on children’s faces when they see their old bikes transformed.
“If you clean off the dirt from the tires, put new handgrips on,” he said, “before you know it, it will be … something that will just delight the heart of some little girl someplace.”
Jackson shared with CBS News one particular message he received from a father. It said: “Thank you for the wonderful gift today. We had a great daddy-daughter bike ride and she was all smiles.”
“That’s the kind of thing that makes my day,” Jackson said. “That’s my reward.”
For those of us at The Optimist Daily, it’s stories like this that help restore our faith in humanity and remind us of the power of goodwill. If you can help someone in your own community, go for it: you might be surprised about how good you both feel afterwards.
Image source: Chip Reid