Mo­tor­cy­cle Wash-out

A fam­ily ex­cur­sion has an un­fore­seen out­come

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Kindness Of Strangers - BY ERIC REEVES Eric Reeves from Como in New South Wales is a semi-re­tired, self-em­ployed plumber. Now aged 75, he came to Aus­tralia in 1969 as a ten­pound Pom and is en­joy­ing his new hobby: writ­ing.

I WAS RAISED in Birm­ing­ham, Eng­land, and can clearly re­call one sum­mer evening in 1954 when my fa­ther, who owned a mo­tor­cy­cle and side­car, sug­gested we take a trip to the sea­side. On Satur­day morn­ing, with our sand­wiches and ther­mos flask ready, we ex­cit­edly set south for Devon.

Our mother sat in the side­car with my five-year-old brother on her lap while my eight-year-old sis­ter was perched in the small seat di­rectly be­hind them. The hood was low­ered over them to pro­tect them from the weather and I rode pil­lion be­hind my fa­ther.

As we headed out, the weather was sunny and we were all in good spir­its for the ride south. Just out of Bris­tol we pulled into a lay-by to eat our sand­wiches and drink our flask of tea. We then con­tin­ued through Som­er­set. As we rode along a quiet coastal road near the town of Mine­head, black clouds came over the once blue sky. Un­for­tu­nately the clouds set in, and it got darker and started to rain. It was as though day had turned to night, so we stopped to put our rain­coats on and then de­cided to turn back home.

Even with our rain­coats on, my fa­ther and I were soaked right through. As we drove over a hump­back bridge, the wet, shiny road ahead of us turned out to be a deep lake

of wa­ter and we ploughed right into it. The wa­ter foun­tained over us and the en­gine stopped dead. De­spite Dad’s best ef­forts to kick-start the en­gine, it was im­pos­si­ble to dry off the wet points needed to start the ig­ni­tion. What we needed was a dry cloth, such as a hand­ker­chief, and ours were com­pletely soak­ing wet. We had no idea where we were; fields sur­rounded us and there wasn’t a house in sight.

For­tu­nately, not long af­ter, a car pulled up along­side us. The lady in the pas­sen­ger’s seat wound down the win­dow and called out, ask­ing what she and her hus­band could do to help. My fa­ther ex­plained our predica­ment and this lovely cou­ple of­fered to give us a lift to the near­est train sta­tion. We pushed the mo­tor­cy­cle well off the road and all five of us climbed into the back seat of their car – the cou­ple in­sist­ing that they didn’t mind that we were sat­u­rated.

We drove on for about 30 min­utes but with no sign of a sta­tion, the cou­ple an­nounced that they would drive us home. My par­ents protested, say­ing that it was at least two hours out of their way, but it was no use. We were de­liv­ered to our door.

As we shook hands to thank them farewell I thought about what Good Sa­mar­i­tans they were.

Won­der­ing what hap­pened to my fa­ther’s mo­tor­cy­cle? On Sun­day morn­ing, my fa­ther got out a map, stud­ied it and worked out roughly where we had left it: near the town of Thorn­bury on the A38.

He found he could get there by train and that’s ex­actly what he did the fol­low­ing Mon­day morn­ing. He went to the near­est po­lice sta­tion and ex­plained how he’d been forced to aban­don his mo­tor­cy­cle. An of­fi­cer on duty kindly of­fered to drive Dad to where we’d left the mo­tor­cy­cle – a fair dis­tance on foot, es­pe­cially so since my fa­ther was an am­putee with an ar­ti­fi­cial right leg. Once the car­bu­ret­tor was primed, Dad gave the bike one kick with his left foot and it started straight away.

Share your story about a small act of kind­ness that made a huge im­pact. Turn to page 4 for de­tails on how to con­trib­ute and earn cash.

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