A bike ride. A Stranger. And a Bird.

It was a beautiful morning in San Antonio – and even though I had a busy day, I found some time for me. It isn’t every year we get an 80 degree day in February (ok – we might – I really have no idea).

In any case, I took off for a couple hours during the day – before the winds picked up in the afternoon. It’s been a few weeks since I had any ride at all, and longer since I did a decent length ride.

Today I headed west – unlike my usual treks north to the Hill Country. I have lived in San Antonio for over 25 years on and off, and I had never been to Medina Lake.

It was a great ride – 81 degrees, the wind was only about 8 MPH at the time, and the roads were pretty clear.

I rode for about 45 minutes, and stopped to get gas. I needed gas.

I pulled up to the pump and put the $6.88 it took to fill my tank (I bought this bike in 2003, and until the last six months I never spent even $3.00 to fill it up!).

I washed my windshield, my mirrors, the headlight and turn signals – then finally my face-shield. Finally I went in to pay.

It wasn’t until I selected a water and some chocolate and waited my turn at the counter that I realized I didn’t have my wallet. Not a problem – it must be in my jacket out on my bike.

I was wrong.

I now owed someone 11.70 something odd cents and I had no cash, and no identification.

I walked back inside, hoping to trade the “holding” of my cell-phone until I could drive an hour back to San Antonio and get some cash.

There was another line when I got back inside, so I waited again. There was a fairly large African Gray Parrot in the cage by the counter. It has a sign that said “House bird, not for sale” on the cage.

I kept hoping nobody would come in after me so they wouldn’t hear me explain to the attendant that I couldn’t pay for my gas.

Personally, I think he realized that when there were still four people in front of me in the line.

So I am standing and waiting as someone is paying their $38 electric bill by buying a $0.89 money order that they would then need to mail, or take to yet another place to actually pay the bill.

And there are roasted green peanuts on the counter. I pick one up, and hand it to the bird. The bird shook it’s head after I gave it the peanut, and it laughed. So did I.

I got the the counter and started to explain that I forgot my wallet and was from out of town, but would leave my phone… The attendant told me, “You are good with the bird, you are good with the people. You will send me the money?

And it was that simple. He wrote the amount I owed on the back of the store’s business card. Of course I sent the money as soon as I got back into town – barely in time for a customer call.

You can’t underestimate people – or not appreciate them.