His name was Tim.
I don’t remember Tim. I don’t remember this incident. What I remember is my mother’s retelling of this incident. She found it amusing. She found me amusing, if her stories are any indication.
Because the back drop for this story is Yakima, Washington, I must have been between my second and third birthdays.
My dad came home from work one day bearing a ‘new’ tricycle for me. Really, it had been my older sister’s, but he’d taken it to a friend’s house for repairs and repainting. I’m cool with that. I was so excited about that tricycle that I leaped aboard and took off for my first road trip without looking back. I’m told that I was out of earshot instantly; my tiny legs moving faster than those of the grown-ups in pursuit calling for me to come back. And come back NOW.
Legend has it that I took the first corner like a pro. I disappeared behind those annoying bushes that hung out over the curb. But things went downhill from there. Literally. And with the slope, my speed increased beyond my skill. I toppled off the little seat, rolled once, or twice, or three times, depending on who tells the story, and my shiny new trike continued down the hill without me.
Enter Tim. History records that Tim was standing on the side walk as the scene unfolded before him. In one giant bound my hero approached my wounded, limp, nearly lifeless form and said something akin to, “Little girl, are you OK?” Tim scooped me up, looked me over, carried me down the hill to retrieve my trike. My parents rounded the corner, nearly out of breath with a good case of parent panic as Tim and I were hiking back up the hill.
Later at home I asked my mother who the man was who rescued me. Tim. It was Tim who picked me up. Having an attitude of gratitude from an early age, Mother told me that for the next several days I tugged the shirt tails of everyone in town and said, “Tim picked me up.”
It became a chant. Whether at home, in the car, or drifting off to sleep, for days it was, “Tim picked me up, Tim picked me up, Tim picked me up.”
I’ve determined that it is because of Tim that I’m uber-willing to talk to strangers. After all, Tim picked me up. And to this day, many strangers have ”picked me up.” Some have let me down, but most have picked me up.