Thursday, November 3, 2016

Ripples all the way to France

Late last December six young adults signed up for one of my indoor cycling classes. I admit that I was somewhat dismayed to have such a large group join the classes at once. It takes a lot of time to give that many people a good bike fit and I knew that my regulars might be impatient at the delay in the start of class. I should not have worried. The new people were unbelievably charming, quick studies, extraordinarily coachable, and very enthusiastic. In the course of an hour they endeared themselves to me and to everyone else in the room.

It turned out that they were part of an extended family who travel from all over Canada to meet at one house for Christmas celebrations. This year they were visiting someone in my community. Over the next ten days their participation in my classes grew to include their elders and eventually their hosts appeared for two classes. I have stayed in touch with some of the family by email and was sorry that their schedule didn't fit mine when the group reconvened here in October for a family wedding.

This morning the staff at the front desk of the centre where I teach handed over a bag which had a largish gift wrapped package and a card. Here's the text of that card:

We wanted to thank you for introducing us to the Tour de France. While we were in France we were lucky enough to see the finish and start of the race in Montpelier. It was so much fun being part of the collective vibe that envelops the Tour de France community, and especially thrilling when we lucked into seats across from the podium and halfway between the finish line and the press. 'Exciting' does not even begin to describe our experience. Only having been vaguely aware of the Tour before we left, we have to thank you for your enthusiastic and passionate introduction to the Tour from our bike seats at the Centre. 
Needless to say, your name was mentioned many times, and although you were not with us in Montpelier we wanted to bring you back a little souvenir and say thank you once again. Thank you not only for you your classes but also for the memories we have of the Centre and of France as a result of them.

The note was signed by the local couple who hosted the family last Christmas. The package contained a TdF tote bag and a newspaper with a photo of Peter Sagan and Chris Froome on the front page.

I don't do what I do for gifts or even thank you notes but I was touched nonetheless. And I will forever remember the lesson to put aside prejudice and fatigue and meet every student with a smile and an open heart.

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