Saturday, July 26, 2008

Barbecue - that's what smelled so good!

Back before the Coast to the Coast and the WWP's Soldier Ride Lone Star State Challenge, I was talking up the trip to the owners of The City Cyclist bike shop on McCart Avenue in Fort Worth, to see if they would put up a poster for us in their shop. They agreed to do that, then took me to the back of the shop and showed me a Freedom Ryder handcycle that they had agreed to fix up and try to sell for one of their neighbors, another local businessman. The trike was in really nice shape and when I asked what they thought it would go for, they said they thought it was around $2000.00 when it was new, but that it was 5 or 6 years old now. I filed that away with the idea of maybe doing some fundraising and buying the bike. Ultimately I hoped to get one or two handcycles to take down and donate to the Physical Therapy department at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

Jump ahead in time to about three weeks ago, when I wandered back into the City Cyclist and discovered the trike still hanging in their shop. I guess $4.00 per gallon gas was taking its toll-the shop was packed with new bikes, and it occurred to me that the handcycle was taking up a lot of room. I asked if they'd be willing to ask the owner what would be the least amount he would take for the trike if he knew I was buying it to hand over to battle-wounded veterans. A moment later I was being escorted next door to what has long been my family's favorite barbecue restaurant, Cousin's Barbecue.

The owner of the Freedom Ryder was Calvin Payne, who also owns several Cousin's restaurants around the DFW area. He wasn't in at the time, but his son took my information and told me he'd pass it to his mother and dad.

A few days later, I got a phone call from Calvin's wife Beverly asking for more information about my ideas for the bike. I told her about the Coast to the Coast and Rollaid and the Wounded Warrior Project. We talked about the guys down at BAMC and how glad some of them had been to get out of the hospital or the barracks for the day to go for a ride in the sun.

Beverly asked how much I had in mind to buy the bike for. I told her that any amount we agreed on, I'd have to raise, but that in consideration for a discounted price on the bike, I could offer space to print Cousin's logo on the upcoming Rollaid jerseys, as well as talk them up here on the blog. Beverly said she'd talk to Calvin and get back with me.

My phone rang a few minutes later and I spoke to Calvin himself. I gave him a shorter version of what I'd said to Beverly. I was gobsmacked a moment later when Calvin allowed that he'd be willing to donate the bike completely to Rollaid to take down to BAMC. Truly, I couldn't believe it. This guy had never met me, and here he was offering an expensive ride based on my say-so alone. I'm still in awe of the generosity of some people.

I made arrangements to pick up the bike at The City Cyclist on the following Monday. Calvin agreed to meet me beforehand at Cousin's to have a cup of coffee and chat. When I got there, Calvin and Beverly and a friend of theirs sat with me and chatted for over an hour. Walking in and meeting these complete strangers and talking with them felt exactly like walking into the house of your favorite aunt and uncle and sitting down at their kitchen table. I gave them a detailed description of our ride to Corpus Christi, including all the barbecue we'd eaten along the way (there was a lot) and talked about old times and old friends until it was time to go and get the bike. By then , they felt like old, dear friends.

Calvin agreed to have a picture taken with me and Mike from City Cyclist there in front of the shops - that's Calvin on the right, me in the middle and Mike on the left.

I think there might be another handbike in Rollaid's future, as well - maybe the guys at Brooke will be able to ride and train together instead of having to go out on their own.


peace said...

Not just the smell of barbecue, but the sweet smell of compassion and generosity in action! Nice work Truman and thanks to Mike for making the connections and to Calvin and Beverly for the bike! Next time I am in Fort Worth, I agree to buy something from The City Cyclist right after I've washed the Cousin's BBQ sauce from my hands, but not before giving a big ole BBQ hug to Truman!
It's nice to see good things and good people at work.

Tate said...

Cool, Great job and idea taking it to bamc. I'll get ya a bumber as soon as we find a production shop and can start making them.

c_m_shooter said...

Wow, that's amazing. The more important question now, is one of us going to tow this handbike behind or are we going to have Joe Dirt ride it to San Antone for us?

barlows said...

Dude, you absolutely rock!!

That looks like a sweet ride indeed! Well done, and thanks so much to everyone involved in making that happen. There really are some great people left in this world. We're going to have to get creative in our quest to get this to BAMC, but I'm sure it will happen.

I know we talked about getting a banner made and getting a bunch of signatures on the way down. I wonder if it would work out so that we could put together a scrap book also of folks that have made donations like this. I know they didn't to it for the kudos, but that doesn't mean we can't help get them some anyway. A couple pics and your wording from this post would be pure gold.


David "Truman" Hill said...

I've spoken to an officer in the Occupational Therapy department at BAMC.

There's a possibility that somebody from there will be up here for the Patriot Ride in Southlake and that we could present the handbike(s) there instead of hauling them down. More as that develops.