As I wrote about in my column today, which you can read HERE, my Sunday morning bike ride was interrupted early when I happened upon another cyclist who had just crashed on the Roanoke River Greenway.
I wasn’t the first person to stop to offer assistance to Sam Butler, a 52-year-old physician from Roanoke. Melissa Ivy and her boyfriend, Ismael, were already there. They stayed the whole time, and even took Sam and his wife, Helen’s, bikes so Helen could ride in the ambulance with Sam. They returned the bikes the Butlers later that evening.
I’ve started carrying my cell phone when I ride, in case of emergencies. This is the first time I’ve needed it. I called 911.
A number of other folks stopped and asked if we needed help or to borrow a phone. One guy didn’t ask. He just stopped his van, got out and approached Sam.
“My name is Steve and I’m a paramedic in Roanoke County,” he said, then added that he was going to help Sam out while he waited for the on-duty squad.
When the ambulance got there, Steve briefed them and then was on his way before I could get his last name. (Full disclosure: I didn’t get Melissa’s last name either, but Helen had it.)
Today I found out his full name was Steve Simon, a division chief with Roanoke County Fire and Rescue. He and his 5-year-old son had just finished a bike ride. In an e-mail, Steve thanked me for the column — which focused on the importance of bike helmets. He wrote that the Butlers had tracked him down to thank him for his help. He was glad to hear from them.
“It made my day,” he wrote.
Seeing how a bunch of strangers can come together to help somebody in trouble made my day Sunday.