“Behind every grey cloud, there is a silver lining.”
As I sit here typing on my computer while the weather churns and Osaka prepares for the typhoon later this evening, I have to tell you last week was not a great week. My cherished bicycle was stolen. It was locked in the bike parking lot of my apartment. Early Friday night, I had ridden up the long hill, parked my bike, locked it and turned my secret code (09 11 [my birthday backwards] ) to other numbers so it would read 1911. Nobody could ever unlock this bike I thought as I entered the building.
So I went to bed. At 4 am, I heard a group of people talking loudly below my window (I live on the 2nd floor of a 6-story condominium). I thought: “How rude to be so loud so late in a residential area!” Little did I know, someone in that group was probably a thief. In the morning, I woke up and as the double glass doors slid open, I glanced to my left to look at my lovely bike (I’ll call it “Ms. Hailey” for Luis). The bike was not there. I immediately knew it was gone.
Later that day, I texted my wife. Did I get sympathy? No. I was asked if I had locked it to a pole. I sheepishly replied “No”. I felt a disappointed sigh on the other end of the line. She told Hannah. Hannah knows I love bikes and she knew the favorite one was my new gold bike with new pedals I had just put on. I came in the door and she asked me,
“Papa, did someone take your bike?”
I said “Yes”.
“Bad people stole your bike?”she inquired.
“Yes” I repeated.
“Are you sad?” Hannah said slowly.
I said “No,…you’re ok, mama’s ok, I’m ok so everything is ok. My bike is replaceable” I thought out loud.
She immediately said “Papa! I have money.” She ran to her tall 3-story dollhouse and took down her cat – piggy bank. She twisted the top and reached in and gave me a Hong kong 5-cent piece.
She asked me, “Is this enough to buy a new bike?”
I said, “Yes, I think so.”
Then Hannah dug into the cat container and said “I don’t think it’s enough and gave me 3 more coins; 2 – 1 yen coins, and a 10 yen was added to the HK 5 pence piece she had given me.
“Do you think that’s enough?” She asked.
“Sure, that’s definitely enough” I lied.
I was touched. She knew I was sad and wanted to be a part of my healing. A few months ago she cried when we gave her a spoon of Pepto Bismol to help her get over an upset stomach. She looked up with tears in her eyes and said “I can’t believe you (mama and papa) love me so much!”
In my six years of raising my daughter, this incident, the bike incident, touched me the most. I’ve lost alot of bikes. As I’ve always known, Japan is one of safest places in the world but… umbrellas and bikes? Watch your back.
I’ll remember the day my bike was stolen. It was the day my wagamama baby turned into a caring, selfless daughter.