the pink bike

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the pink bike

Post by cymbalta on Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:00 pm

My heart was in my throat. As mom and I entered the store, I had only one
thought in my mind; I hope my pretty pink bike is still there. It would be
my first bike ever. But since it was about a week before Christmas and the
stores were in total chaos, Mom gently reminded me that it was possible that
the bike I wanted would be sold out.

I could feel the excitement in my stomach and my hands were jittery. I was
so anxious to get it. I crossed my fingers as we came around the corner to
the bike section. My stomach did somersaults when I finally spotted it near
the end of a long row. There it was, my big, shiny pink bike! I thought it
was too clean and pretty to touch so I stuck my hands in my pockets to keep
from smudging it.

The week went by really slowly. The only thing besides school letting out
that we were looking forward to was a charity drive that our school was
doing for a homeless children's shelter. We had made little toys for the
kids that were living there. I was surprised to see how many were on the
list ? so many that wouldn't have a real home where they could spend
Christmas.

Still, I didn't think as much about helping them as I was thinking about my
bike. I couldn't wait for winter break to get over so that I could ride my
bike to school for everyone to see. I would be the cool kid for once.

While we waited in the classroom for the bus to come and take us to the
children's shelter to deliver our presents, I sat at my desk writing my mom
a thank you letter. I explained how I had never wanted anything as badly as
I did that bike. Just as I finished, the bus driver came into our room to
let us start getting on the bus. I ended up sitting next to a guy who was
getting a skateboard for Christmas. We talked about how excited we were
about our big gifts.

We chatted all the way there and were still talking as we came though the
shelter doors. Suddenly, my mouth dropped and I stopped in mid-sentence. I
was in shock seeing kids wearing torn-up and worn-down ragged clothes. I
felt sad as I looked around the place.

Our teacher encouraged us to find a kid that was staying in the shelter and
visit with them. I noticed a little girl sitting in a corner by herself.
When I walked up, it seemed like she didn't want to say "hi" or anything,
but I felt like I should say something to her.

So I started out by asking her if she was excited about Christmas coming. I
told her about how I was getting a bike. Suddenly, her eyes lit up and a
huge smile came across her face. She told me that she would be the happiest
kid in the world if she could ever get one.

Then she explained to me what her life had been like. To say the least, she
didn't have a normal childhood. She had never known what it was like to
live in a real home of her own with pets and everything. Her parents had
been alcoholics and constantly had money problems. They moved around
constantly because they either couldn't pay the rent or would be thrown out
for some reason. Things got so bad with them that they finally abandoned
her and she ended up in this shelter.

She no longer had anyone to call family.

I realized that her getting a bike anytime soon was out of the question. I
mean, who would buy it? Her parents were gone and she was alone in the
world, other than for the people that ran the shelter. My heart just ached
for her.

We got so involved in our conversation that my teacher had to come and tap
me on the shoulder to tell me that it was time to leave. I grabbed my bag
and told her that I hoped she'd have a merry Christmas and that she would
get everything she wanted. Before leaving the room I looked back and gave
her a little smile.

Later that night, I lay in bed remembering what the girl had told me about
what it was like to live at the shelter. I thought about her life and about
mine as well. All I do is want and want and think that I never get enough.
Now I'd met a girl my age that had barely enough to get by and who took
nothing for granted. I never understood when people would tell me how lucky
I was. Now I finally understood.

Over the next three days, I kept thinking about ways that I could help make
this girl's life better. Then, on Christmas Eve while sitting in church
listening to the preacher speak, it dawned on me. I wanted to give her my
new bike (which I had not yet received!).

When I explained everything to my mom, she gave me a smile that I could
never fully describe ? one like I have never seen before. My mom found the
paper that told what children's shelter I had gone to, and on Christmas
morning, we headed for the shelter with my new bike in the trunk of my mom's
car.

I walked in feeling somewhat sorry that I would not be the one getting the
bike, but I also felt really good inside. When I finally found her, she was
sitting in the corner where I had first met her. Her head was down and she
seemed to be sad. I walked over and said, "Merry Christmas." Then I told
her that I had something for her.

Her face brightened and she smiled as she looked up at me. She looked
happier than I have ever seen a kid look before. I grabbed her hand and
walked her over to the door. Parked outside was my bright pink bike with a
big red bow on it. I was expecting a bigger smile than what I had seen
moments before, but instead I saw a tear running down her cheek. She was so
happy she felt like crying. She thanked me over and over again. I knew
then that what I had done was a good thing. I knew I made a difference in
her life.

What I didn't know was how giving away the only bike I'd ever had would make
a difference in my life, too. But it changed the way I thought about
things, and over time, I found that I wasn't as greedy as I was before.

I now realized that receiving a great gift gives you a good feeling, but
giving from the heart means more and feels even better. I also realized
that things aren't always what they seem. There is always someone else who
might need something more than you do.

I didn't get to enjoy having that bike, but my mom was proud of me and so
was everybody else. In the long run, that meant more to me than the bike
ever could have.

cymbalta
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