‘Big Tom Luke’

by Jim Allair

When I was very young, my dad had a very special employee who was known to me as ‘Big Tom Luke’. Tom was a mountain of a man, I’m not sure where he was from, but I do know he did not fit well in society.

Every few weeks or so my dad would come back into town from being away at work and the first stop on a Friday night would be to the Bank of Nova Scotia so that the crew could have their paychecks cashed. Tom didn’t have any family as I recall, or a home when he was in town; he didn’t have anything or anyone to spend the money on.

One time as he waited by the truck outside the bank he noticed a boy admiring one of the bikes at Richardson’s Sporting Goods directly across the street. Before anyone noticed, Tom walked across the street and introduced himself to the boy and then went inside to pay the shopkeeper for the bike; the boy rode off on his gift from Tom.

On Monday mornings, when saying my goodbyes, as dad would leave for work with his employees, Tom would say “Jimmy, open your hands”. And with two hands the size of baseball mitts, Tom would reach into his pockets, grab all the change he had (what would be left of his paycheck) and pour it into mine.

I’m not sure how many bikes Tom bought for others (or what he had spent his hard earned money on) but clearly what was most important to him was seeing the pleasure in the eyes of those he touched.

I think of this story because tomorrow is ‘International Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day’ and there are events across the country all weekend long. If you have a chance to take your own children, a family member or a friend, do whatever you can to pass on the joy that is riding a bike by taking them to one of these events.

I can assure you the joy they experience will last a lifetime.

N.B. this is a guest post from one of the NMMFG minions – Jim Allair. It was originally posted on his Facebook wall, and I asked permission to post it here as the story is incredibly moving, and such a great example of how people can have a positive impact and change the lives of others.

You can connect with Jim at https://www.facebook.com/jim.allair

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