How Small Businesses Help The Community

Jessica at Convoy Auto Repair with her new bike Small businesses are often touted as being a boon to local communities, doing things larger companies never think to do. This is the story of how one San Diego business reached out to a fellow resident and bicyclist, directly helping his neighbor and community. Those in San Diego, as well as many other cities around the world, may know of an event known as Critical Mass. Started loosely as a protest in San Francisco in the early 1990s, Critical Mass is a massive community bike ride around town. Hundreds and sometimes more than a thousand residents gather on their bicycles to take a ride through the city. San Diego's route, which is the last Friday of the month at 8pm, goes from Balboa Park, through South Park to the Gaslamp,  to the airport, and then back to Broadway Street and Seaport Village, where riders are free to go where they choose. However, last month a rider without a helmet crashed going down B Street (which isn't all that uncommon). A fellow rider, an RN named Jessica, and her friend Reymund, saw the crash and immediately dropped their own bikes to help him. He had crashed head first and was knocked unconscious, breaking his own bike in two pieces. Jessica called 911 and stayed with the injured rider until paramedics arrived. The rider had regained consciousness by then, and Jessica went back to where she left her new bike. In its place was someone else's old beach cruiser. David Ely, the owner of Convoy Auto Repair, sometimes participates in Critical Mass, as do some of his employees. Last month was his wife's first time riding and David was concerned about the dangers of B Street. They took the easier route, down Park Boulevard, instead. Neither of them saw the crash, Jessica, or the theft. The next day they saw the post on Critical Mass' Facebook Page announcing the theft. They were both crushed that someone would do such a thing to someone doing such a good deed. Fortunately, the Critical Mass community was already organizing a fundraising effort for Jessica, suggesting riders use PayPal or mail in $1 or more each. David and his wife Linda were touched that the community would reach out and try to make it better, but who knows how long that would take? They immediately decided to help her and replace the bike she lost. Critical Mass, if it ever had a real purpose, has seemingly devolved into just a fun bike ride. The immense participation (1,000+ bicyclists through already crowded city streets) inevitably means there will be some wackos in the bunch, as last month's ride indicated. Stealing someone's bike just because it's nice and accessible, especially when that someone was helping an injured rider, was reprehensible. Many Critical Mass participants were outraged that someone would do such a thing. It's enough to make some lose a little of their faith in humanity. But if that's the case, the generosity of others can restore it. Jessica met with David at Convoy Auto Repair the next week to pick up her brand new bike. David could instantly tell she was a deserving person. After learning that Jessica had graduated with a nursing degree and was working at the San Diego Blood Bank while looking for a nursing career, he said, "I thought, 'What a perfect person to have in that field; caring, considerate, and happy.'" David and his family are happy that they were in a position to help someone in their community. He was so pleased with the whole experience, saying, "She brought us in flowers and, best of all, cupcakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes! Jessica is the star here. She, by her actions, is the person we need to thank. She is truly the Good Samaritan here." With her new bike, David encouraged Jessica to ride again. She says she's looking forward to it and that she still hopes others will stop to help those in need.

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