"Psssssssht."We'd barely pedalled five blocks away from the Winnipeg hostel and Michelle's panniered Dahon sprung a very sudden leak in the back tire. We were headed to the VIA Rail station to catch a train back to Jasper in a couple of hours, and the station was far away enough that pushing the fully loaded bike on its rims was not an option.
Other options? Catch a bus? No bike racks. Catch a cab? No cabs, it's Sunday. Hitchhike? Hmmm. Nearby, a City of Winnipeg employee was pulling a fat rubber pipe out of a street hole and loading it into ~ his van. I pulled off my helmet and approached him.
"Er, hello," I greeted him, "I wonder if I could ask a rather odd favour...?"
Ten minutes later I rolled up to the station. Michelle was already there and was loading her bike and gear onto a baggage cart. Gary had just dropped her off and was steering his van out of the intersection. I gave him a wave and he drove off to carry on with his work day.
"What a nice guy," I remarked. "Yeah," said Michelle, "He actually apologized because the van was greasy ~ he laid down a jacket over the pipes so the panniers wouldn't get dirty.
"Awww," I grinned, "Manitoba really is friendly."