Around mid-day yesterday my pager activated, for the ambulance to respond to Fairgrounds Road near Dutchtown Road for a male with chest pains. Knowing I was less than a minute from the scene I responded on my own to assist the scheduled ambulance crew. I got there right away to find a middle-aged fellow walking his bike up the steep hill, appearing to be in distress. Not seeing anyone else, I thought this must be the guy.
I turned the car around to catch up to him, and drove up right behind him on the road. He kept walking. I figured he must not have noticed that a car just stopped 5 feet behind him. So I put the car back in first gear and pulled right back up to him. He kept walking – not in an ‘I need to get away from this creepy stranger’ way, but more of a he-didn’t-even-notice-me kind of way. Realizing I was not going to win this game, I hopped out of my car and ran to catch up to him. Indeed, he was the one, having severe chest pains. He was trying to walk another half mile up the hill to the store despite the fact that the ambulance was heading to a completely different location AND he was probably having a heart attack! So – long story short, man on a bicycle having a possible heart attack.
The ambulance arrived quickly, and the EMT determined that he needed to go to the hospital now. No waiting, no making arrangements or anything. So what about the bike? The man was pretty clear that the bike was important to him, and that no harm must come to it. So rather than waiting for the police, I offered to take the bike and keep it safely for him while he was (presumably for several days) in the hospital.
“I’m the pastor right up there at the Church of the Nazarene, I’ll take good care of it, and I’ll get it back to you when you’re out”.
So I took the bike home, and went about my day figuring I wouldn’t hear from this guy for several days at least. Later that night my phone rang – didn’t recognize the number. To my surprise it was bicycle man, out of the hospital already and doing fine.
“It was just muscle spasms” he said, “how ’bout that! But I really need my bike back, can you bring it out?”
He lives in Shamokin, a small city about 15 miles away. Wanting nothing to do with going to Shamokin after dark to meet up with a complete stranger, “sure, I’ll bring it out tonight.”
So after dark, I took a ride to Shamokin in an old church van with a stranger’s bicycle. Thankfully he was waiting for me and waved me down from the porch in such a way that it was unmistakable that I’d found the right place.
I’m not sure how ‘legit’ it looked, parking the old van in the middle of the street, meeting up with a complete stranger, unloading an expensive bike with a hand shake, and driving off all within a total of 30 seconds. But I’m happy it all worked out in the end.
Anyone in the fire and EMS service will tell you, you just can’t make this stuff up.