The Motorcyclist That Motivates Me

The reason I am opening a Motorcycle Riding Gear Shop is to provide greater access to Safety Gear and to increase Driver Awareness of Motorcyclists.
I grew up with older brothers that rode. I was about four years old the first time I went out on the road with them. I started riding in front of them holding onto the handlebars inside the grips. I loved it. I guess one of them should have told me not to talk to mom about watching the speedo hit seventy. She was not pleased. It was too late. I had the bug.
Much later in life I took a job in a motorcycle dealership. I was bothered by the non-stop stream of stories about this rider that was injured or that rider that died… I was working in parts and accessories sales, and it caused me to take a closer look at riding gear and do make an effort to help by pushing more Technical Apparel options to our catalogs.
Time passed and I moved on. I had been out of the business for a while, and missing it. I have thought about opening my own shop several times since I got out of the dealership. I’d work on my business plan some, and then sit it down for a few months. In February I was out grocery shopping when I met a man that reminded me of what I needed to be doing with myself.
This is a true story.
Grabbing something from the frozen cabinet at the grocery store and a guy shopping next to me commented about how great having a microwave is. I agreed. I told him that ours had died a few months ago and we went a few weeks without one. You don’t think much about how important your microwave is until you go without it.
He agreed and apologized for the fact that he was slow to form words and putting together phrases; he suffered a brain stem injury 38 years ago as a result of a motorcycle accident. He was 19 when it happened.
He rode 2 up on a Honda CB450 from Toledo to Florida. On their way home, in Tennessee, they encountered dense fog and ran into a chain reaction pileup. They hit the car in front of them, and both men were thrown from the bike. The gentleman telling me the story says his friend told him about it after the fact; he was lying in the road unconscious. His friend flagged down oncoming traffic before they ran him over; the car behind slammed into and flipped over the car that had stopped, and landed ON TOP of the man that was speaking to me.
He was in a coma for six weeks and spent many more months in the hospital. All of his medical expenses were covered – he had been working for Jeep for about 9 months at the time of the accident, and the union stood by him. When he was able, he went back to the plant and pushed a broom until he was able to do other tasks. He worked in the sanitation department at the old plant until they closed it. Said that he cleaned 17 restrooms a day. The worst part of the job was the people; they were rude and called him names, but he didn’t mind because the money was good.
He says that is his life story, and apologizes for going on and on. I told him that I sell motorcycle helmets and jackets and it is an honor to get to meet him and hear his story. Everything happens for a reason. He survived 2 motorcycle accidents within minutes of each other; either one should have killed the average man. He lived for a reason.
It was one of those strange right time and right place things. I don’t know how to explain it. I have told the abridged version of that story to a few people along the way to getting my shop open, and each time, I get Goosebumps.