Those Giving Souls We So Often Meet Out On The Road
I have created a monster, a monster of negativity that was an unintended consequence of a letter I wrote to a stranger in the Yosemite Valley who critiqued my moto-lifestyle, then walked away.
After publishing the letter on Road Dirt, text messages from RD editor-in-chief Rob Brooks popped up in rapid succession on my phone.
“You touched a nerve, man,” he said. “So many on social media are saying, ‘This is everything I’ve ever wanted to say to those – – – holes, but didn’t.’ ”
Social media can be a fertile petri dish of negativity and I just added more agar, not my intention. I shy away from social media partly because the likes I care about come from my family and friends but also because of the negativity. I have added to the negativity and made things worse. My soul says ‘whoa’.
It’s time to do something.
Yosemite Valley stranger’s interaction stood out since it was rare, a blip on my travel radar because overwhelmingly I find the American spirit of kindness to strangers permeates every place I visit. I could write stories ad infinitum (kind of my job here at Road Dirt) about total strangers who have waved hello, offered a kind word, given me food, welcomed me into their homes, granted access to their garage to repair my bike, given me shelter in a storm, let me spend the night on their couch, became close friends or even adopted me into their family as their own son. This is the rule. Yosemite Valley man, you are the exception.
A few years back I ran into the Collier family, literally. I pitched a tent next to their trailer, then pissed off Matt. Now Hutch (far right), his wife Dawn and sons Currie (next to me, second from left) and Matt (not pictured) are close friends. Dawn is my track mom when I ride to Laguna Seca and they treat me like family. Currie was almost the death of me, but that is another story.
I need your help to turn this around. I want to hear your stories, your tales of kindness from the road. When did a stranger greet you with a smile, say a kind word, strike up a conversation or go out of their way to help you out? I know those stories are out there and this time, instead of reading mine, I want to read yours. We do our best to respond to every comment from our readers because at Road Dirt, as in our sport, everything is about relationships.
Our group ran into Rocky Shultz while we party crashed a quilt show. She snuck us beer and we have been good friends ever since. Her hospitality and the stellar roads means we are frequent visitors to her slice of heaven in southern Washington. She is the model of kindness to strangers. Here, she shows Rob the lay of the land while photographer Aaron Whiteman captures the moment.
I know those stories exist and we at Road Dirt want to read them. Share your stories below or yes, even on our social media pages. We can’t wait to hear from you.