Broken Bike Chain

by Elizabeth Hopkins from Ottawa, ON
Aug 27, 16

It was the fall of 1962. I was a 12-year-old girl. I was riding my bike along a quiet West Vancouver street - and with every pedal I was escaping the sadness and pain of my father’s death. He had died the preceding month. But that afternoon the wind was blowing in my hair and the sun was beating down on my shoulders, and for one moment the world seemed to be a wondrous place. Then the chain on my bike broke and my world shattered. Without my father to fix my bike, and little money available for a much needed bike tune-up, my freedom was to be curtailed. The pain was too much to bear. I sat on the curb and I began to cry. Tears flowed unchecked down my cheeks.

Suddenly I heard a noise on the driveway beside me. When I looked up I saw a man dressed in what even a child could recognize as his “Sunday best” – a crisp white shirt and a well fitted black suit. He asked me what was wrong. All I could do was point to the broken bike chain lying below my bike. He attempted to reassure me. 

Your father can fix that he said. I stared up at him and my tears flowed even harder. 

I finally was able to explain that my father had just died. 

To my utter amazement, the man took off his suit jacket, rolled up the sleeves of his white shirt, fetched some tools and repaired my chain before my eyes. 

As the bike was restored, so was my freedom and faith.

That was over fifty years ago now, but I still think of that man often. I wish I could tell him how important that moment was for me. The important moments in life are so often found in the whispers of strangers - have faith and hope and you will move forward to better times.