The other day I accosted a guy on a Harley. Well that's not entirely accurate, I pulled up beside him at a gas station so I could tell him a story. See his backseat lady had been reading a big hardback book while he drove. She did so by using his back as a wind blocker slash book stand and it absolutely melted my heart.
When I was a girl my dad used to take me fishing on the back of his motorcycle, the gear and tackle strapped down somehow. We would cruise on the highway and rather than take in the sights, the freedom of the open road, I hunched behind him with a book.
Every so often I would lose my grip and the book would go skidding down the asphalt. So my motorcycle dad would pull over, walk down the side of the road and retrieve it for me. Never told me to put the damn book away, or wondered why he had such a weird daughter, just chuckled and gave it back. We would fish, and then return home the same way.
So I pulled over to tell this motorcycle driving guy and his girl that story and that it made me smile to see them driving the same way. We laughed and joked for a few minutes and then wished each other a great day and I pulled away. The kids were incredulous that I would talk to a stranger, let alone a big guy with a bandanna and a beard on a motorcycle. "How did you know he wanted to talk to you?", son asked.
I didn't. But I do believe in the power of a great story. I hedged my bets that a guy with gray in his beard would appreciate one about a daughter digging her dad. And I love when people make each other feel good with no obligation to do so. A big smile from a fellow walker or runner as you pass them by. An offered wet wipe from a mom you don't know when your kid is flipping a biscuit over their sticky hands.
I love to offer that and I love to receive it. That's why I told them that story I said. They stared at me, blinked a few times and then wanted to know if we could buy corn dogs at the store later. I said yes, as long as you promise not to talk to strangers until you're a 38 year old mom in a minivan prone to philosophy. They agreed. We ate corn dogs dipped in ketchup for dinner.