From a Creighton Student's Perspective
October 3, 2011
Senior, Biology Major, Spanish Minor
I recently went to Memphis for an interview. The interview was on Friday and I did not leave town until Sunday morning, so I decided to rent a bike and ride from where I was staying to downtown, about three miles away, so I could see a little bit of the city. Maybe it was because I did not really know where I was going or what the best way to get to downtown was, but my path there was treacherous. Holes riddled the sidewalk and large ruts gave me a very bumpy ride. My back tire went out of alignment and after about five minutes of staring at it I was able to get it straight again. Soon afterwards I was peddling up a hill, and as I shifted to a lower gear, the chain fell off the gears. Another quick fix and I was off once more. By this time I was pretty close to downtown; I could see the buildings and smell the barbeque. And about this time I noticed that my back tire was completely flat. Great. Just great. Since I was so close to downtown I decided to walk with my bike the rest of the way to Beale Street and get something to eat. I tried not to think about how I would ever find a bike shop in a city I knew nothing about and instead just took things one step at a time.
So I was walking in Memphis, walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale (quite literally, in fact). About half way down the block, I hear a voice from behind me, “Hey, do you need to go to a bike shop?” Why yes, yes I do, in fact. A man named Richard (everyone calls him Shorty) informed me that there was a nice bike shop about five blocks away, and said he would walk there with me. We walked and chatted and when we arrived at the bike shop I said my thanks and we said goodbye (I was also able to get my bike fixed).
Who was my neighbor? Granted, I was not stranded on the side of the road with scores of people ignoring me as they walked by, but I did pass a couple dozen people who were busy seeing the sights and running into restaurants. I recently heard someone say that in the story of the Good Samaritan, while the priest and the Levite merely saw the man on the side of the road, the Samaritan saw with compassion. Compassion is the difference between seeing something and letting it be, and seeing something in such a way that is moving and forces one into action. I don’t know if anyone I passed noticed I had a flat tire, but Shorty was not only able to see this but see it with compassion and reach out to help me. In a city where I knew nobody, his compassion made us neighbors.
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