Thursday, December 29, 2016
“If you're not making someone else's life better, then you're wasting your time. Your life will become better by making other lives better.” ― Will Smith
It was September of 2004. I knew that the next year I would be moving to East Africa, and I thought it would be a good idea to have a good off-road motorcycle to take with me. I hadn’t thought any farther than that. I hadn’t thought about the cost of the bike, the cost of shipping it there, how to get parts if it got broken, what the laws over there required—you know, the stuff I really should have been thinking about. No, what I was thinking about was getting a test ride on a really good off-road motorcycle, so I drove up to the BMW motorcycle dealer in Bentonville, Arkansas, and had a good look at a new F650 (see picture at the right). The dealer suggested I take it for a test ride. I needed no more encouragement as I had my helmet with me. It was like riding an eagle, fast, easy to turn, powerful, and me and that bike were one with the dirt road I was on. I had no idea where I was, just took the first bumpy, dirt road I came to and went flying down it. I came to a jump and lifted off as I had on many bikes before. What hadn’t ever happened on any bikes before was that while the bike and I were in the air, my implanted defibrillator fired. If you’ve seen the guy on the gurney while they shock him with the paddles, yelling “Clear” as his body jumps, then you know what happened to me while I was in the air with that big bike under me. What happened next, I’m not really sure. I was lying in a ditch with water under my back and the bike on top of me, still running. While I was lying there, the defibrillator fired again to get my attention. I was able to work my cell phone out of my pocket and called 911, but when she asked where I was, all I could say was that I could see sky and feel water under my back. While I was on the phone, a hand reached down and pulled the phone away. I heard a man’s voice say, “He’s 1.6 miles down Old Foxy road just off the highway. I’ll be standing here to guide you in.” This unknown man reaches down and turns off the bike and then lifts it off of me (it’s a heavy bike—he was strong). Then he put a rock under my head to get it out of the water and took off his shirt, rolled it up and put it like a pillow under my head. With his shirt off, he would have had all the women in the audience at Ellen’s show screaming. He told me to lay still. When the paramedics arrived (very quickly, I might add), they put me on a stiff board and lifted me into the ambulance. The man who had helped me told me as they were closing the ambulance door not to worry about the motorcycle, he would get it back to the dealer. I didn’t see anything but the ceiling of the ambulance and then hospital ceilings. After a couple of days, the doctor cleared me to go back home. I knew I had damaged that BMW pretty badly, so a few days later I drove back up to the dealership. There was the bike looking like it was brand new, not a dent in sight. I asked about the damage, and the dealer said, “What damage? This is the way the guy brought it back to us.” What guy, I wanted to know, did they know his name? “No, he just brought it in, told us you were in the hospital and left. Never left his name or phone number or anything.” I drove back home in a very thoughtful mood. Something about this just wasn’t right. When I got home, Karen asked me if I found out the name of the Good Samaritan who helped me? “Yep,” I said, “turns out his name was Jesus.” True story. You can check with the BMW dealer for proof even though I didn’t buy the bike. I think there was a message there for me, one that wasn’t hard to figure out. God wanted me in Africa, but He didn’t want me there on a motorcycle. Message received.