During blustery and chilly days of bike touring sometimes you need to add a little cheer to your life. Such was the case for me while pedaling along VA hwy 360. I had stopped to refuel my snack supply at an isolated gas station and began chatting with the construction worker restriping the parking lot. The conversation began by running through the usual dialogue about where I was coming from/going to, sleeping arrangements and exclamations of surprise. Then he said, “Well, you must be pretty healthy then, huh? No drinking or smoking for you!”
I replied that I enjoyed an occasional adult beverage but didn’t smoke at all, ever. “My lungs are what keep me pedaling. I have to take care of my body.”
After a contemplative pause my new acquaintance looked up and said, “You know, usually I would have a cigarette right about now. But today? I’m not going to.”
I left him working diligently in that parking lot, perhaps contemplating quitting smoking and perhaps not. Either way, for at least that day there was one less lit cigarette in the world. This encounter was the exact motivation that I needed to put my head down and keep the pedals turning into the unrelenting headwind. Meeting this man reminded me that you never know who you will come across along the road or in life. Act positively, react with kindness and treat everyone with respect. Perhaps you will just change someone’s life.