The Power Of Making People Feel Welcome
Do you believe in happenstance? Being in the right place, at the right time, about to meet someone or do something that you will learn something from. What if we all entered every conversation with the belief that we have something to learn from the other? What if, instead of being defensive or trying to prove why we are right, we instead entered a conversation to learn something from the other person? What if our desires were simply that pure every time we engaged with another human? How would that change things?
In a difficult world, kindness has amazing power.
It was a Wednesday morning and I happened to run downtown for my usual morning coffee at the Savanna Marketplace. Upon arriving I see a beautiful vintage Harley-Davidson with a sidecar parked along Main Street. Me being a rider myself, I had to go take a look and admire this historic motorcycle. That's when happenstance happened, there as Christophe and Anais standing nearby ready to tell me all about the motorcycles story.
Both from France, they are riding their 100 year old motorcycle across the United States to honor the end of World War I - 100 years ago on Nov. 11. Christophe says that, "The trip is to say thank you and the mission is to travel the US in this American Soldier Motorcycle, the Veteran is not there but the life of the motorcycle still lives on." He then goes on to say that he doesn't want to see Bony, the name of the motorcycle, in a museum. His dream is in 100 years for another person to tour the bike around America.
Bony comes from the name of a little village in France where 1844 American Soldiers died in WWI in 1918. Christophe tells me a story about an American Soldier rescuing his ancestor from the Trenches during the war. They decided to name the motorcycle in their honor, wanting to see America through the eyes on Bony.
"America is much more then what the media is showing. The welcome and kindest and politeness and the way people are. We haven’t stopped for more then 5 minutes on the side of the road without being stopped." says Christophe, "We have seen generosity in America."
"It's not only a beautiful country, it's beautiful because of the people. It can have the best landscape but if the people aren’t brilliant then there is no need."
They were welcomed into Savanna late the night before with a meal and place to stay from a local business owner. They were fascinated with Historic downtown Savanna and we spent the afternoon touring the haunted Pulford Opera House thanks to 2 AM Paranormal, admiring the historic buildings, chatting over coffee, and going to the scenic overlook at the Palisades State Park. They went on to gush over Savanna being one of their most scenic and welcoming stops on the tour thus far and plan on re-visiting after their journey.
They both start laughing and tell me how Bony is like a person, "She decides where we start. She has good and bad moods. She has a lot of character. She's a grandmother bike who doesn't seem to like the AM when it's cold out. She runs better on hot weather." They are on their way to California and then ending their journey with a celebration in Las Vegas near the end of August.
"Bony will always be on the road meeting people, telling her story." Christophe tells me, "We live in a world that goes by very fast and we forget the memory of the past, but we build the future with these memories. We will be spending the rest of our lives telling everyone to visit America."
"Part of the history of a motorcycle is what you do with it. Bony now has a new story to tell 100 years later."
Thank you Christophe and Anais for the reminder that kindness is powerful. Come back and visit us soon! You can follow their journey at: https://www.facebook.com/operationtwinlinks/