Broken Bikes and Helping Hands

I’ve been struggling with my bike all summer. First of all, it took me ages to find a bike because Walmart only had two choices and I didn’t particularly like either of them. I spent hours online looking at different websites and at various brands. I finally ordered one and got it shipped to me, which was very exciting. The only catch was that I had to set it up myself. Thankfully, Sean is prepared for everything and had a toolbox lying around in his car. It took me a decent part of an afternoon to set it up, and I must tell you, it was a struggle. At one point I ended up bleeding all over my bike. I had cut myself during the fight to get the wheel attached to the metal frame.

It was such a fantastic feeling when I finally completed the construction of my bike. The bike saved me so much time whenever I had to go to work. However, I apparently didn’t put it together very well. As I was riding back home from my ESL class one day, my handlebars started shifting and then the seat from under me also began to twist. There was no way I was able to continue to ride it back to the house so I had to get off and walk. Fortunately, I was able to fix the problem with a simple tightening of the bolts.

This, however, was not the end of my problems. A few weeks later my pedals shifted so that they were off center. They were not lined up with the bike and some of the washers had come loose so my bike jingled whenever I attempted to use it. I had to resort to my own two legs for a while to get me to and from all the places I needed to go. I had to figure out some sort of way to fix it.

I showed up to my ESL class one Thursday and a student asked me how I had gotten there because he noticed that my bike was not sitting outside like usual. I told him that it was temporarily broken and that I had walked. He told me that he could take a look at my bike if I brought it to the next class. I ended up doing just that, because I had no idea what else to do. The next Tuesday he loaded up my bike into the back of his pickup truck in order to take it to a bike shop. I kept thanking him profusely. I don’t think he realized how much my bike has meant to me this summer. When I thanked him he said that it made him sad that his teacher (me) had to walk to class. I thought that was nice of him to say. When I thanked him for the fifth time he said that he would never forget what I was doing for him. He would always remember how I have helped him learn English. He wanted to help his teacher out by fixing my broken bike. I was just so appreciative of him going out of his way to help me. He really didn’t need to help fix it, but he did anyway.
It made me feel really good when he said that he would always remember how I have helped teach him. Not that many students show up to class each week. I only get about 3 or 4 students on average each class. Even though there aren’t many students, it’s good to know that the students that do come really appreciate the classes.

Sarah Beth Watson ’16
Gettysburg

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