An act of pointless heroism
May 18, 2017 8:05am CST
I wrote earlier about my colleague who lost some money at an airport and was lucky enough to find on her return to the terminal that it had been handed in. It reminded me of possibly one of the stupidest bits of pointless heroism that I have engaged in. I was a research student in Manchester and, as students did back then and quite possibly still do, I was very much dependent on my bicycled for getting around. One evening I was leaving the department and I saw three teenagers messing about with somebody's bike which was locked to the railings. It was one of those bikes with a quick release wheel and the owner had foolishly not locked the removable wheel to the railings. The boys saw me and took off down the road. I popped back inside to tell the bemused security guy (not a very good one, apparently) what I was about to do, and then took off after them. I pursued them for about 15 minutes, asking passers-by "Did you see three lads with a bicycle wheel" until I tracked them down - without the wheel. It's fair to point out that the late 1980s were perhaps times when kids were slightly more respectful of slightly older people than they are now but it was still a rather rough part of the city. I stomped up to the tallest of the three boys and demanded to know where the wheel was. He denied all knowledge. I told him I knew they had taken it and demanded his name - which oddly I remember to this day. He was called Jason Singh. I told him that he might hate students but that they didn't have it easy and that they'd just taken a wheel that meant somebody would lose their transport and that he and his friends might get just pennies for it second hand. I added that if he brought the wheel back to the security guard, we'd say no more about it and if he didn't I'd track down his school and report the boys for the theft. Quite what three young and rather tough teenagers in a down-at-heel part of Manchester thought of getting a dressing down from a 24 year old 'southern' (i.e. in their eyes posh) white girl I'll never know. Today they'd probably have just pulled a knife and I'd have been a statistic. But sure enough, the next day the wheel was in the security guy's office, as young Jason had promised. Sad thing was that the wheel's owner never came back to collect it. See what I mean about pointless heroism. The sad thing is that I'd probably do it again today if I saw something happening.
17 people like this
At least you tried. My pointless act of Heroism happened In a London Hostel, in the middle of the night I was woken by a women`s screams,,leaving my strapping sons in the room I rushed out with the only thing at hand a can of deodorant ,and came face to face with a man holding a women down, I yelled stop or I will spray, the man ran off,and security then arrived, Half an hour later it all started again this time the woman was attacking the man, turned out they were both drunk and it was the woman all along that was the aggressor, would I do it again, probably but I would make sure I was not judgemental and immediately blaming the man and I would not say something so stupid like stop or I will spray.
In my opinion you did the right thing. You knew that you would have been lost without your bicycle and thought it would have been the same for the not so smart guy who attached his own to the railings. I would not do this in our days, may be not even here in Switzerland.
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
You did the right thing. It's too bad the owner of the bike never found out his wheel was returned. I'm sure those three boys learned a lesson from you getting in their face, especially as they returned the wheel.