Some time ago, I had watched an old foreign film called, “The Bicycle Thief”. This Italian film, made just after World War II, was about a poor man living in a difficult time who managed toacquire a bicycle that he needed to work. He understandably treasured his bicycle. While working, someone stole his bike.
He spent the entire film chasing the thief and in the process he began to unravel. He began to abuse other people, including his son that was with him. Finally, in desperation, he himself became that which he abhorred -a bicycle thief.
He had lost not just his bicycle; he had lost his character and the respect of his son.
In an effort to spend quality time with one of my sons, he and I made a return trip to Washington DC. Due to health issues that make walking long distances difficult for me, I knew bringing our bicycles would be the only way I could handle this trip.
We brought our own bikes and had them chained to a lamppost in front of the National Archives. As we exited the building and rounded the corner, I looked at the lamppost and froze. Recognizing my son’s bike and seeing no other, I was momentarily confused. I walked over and realized that my bicycle had been stolen. Standing there with the cut chain in my hand, anger began rising up in me—
Here? All of these people walking back and forth and someone had the audacity to cut the chain and just ride away?
My son instantly looked concerned. “Are we going to have to go home now?” he asked. “Can we find who stole it?” He knew my difficulty walking long distances and with the loss of my bike he presumed that would require our leaving. Disappointment flooded his face. In response to his questions, I looked down and, hesitating for a moment, the long narrative of the movie flashed through my mind...
Some time ago I had watched an old foreign film called “The Bicycle Thief”. This was an Italian film made just after World War II about a poor man living in a difficult time who managed to acquire a bicycle that he needed to work. He understandably treasured his bicycle. While working someone stole his bike.
He understandably treasured his bicycle. While working someone stole his bike.He spent the entire film chasing the thief and in the process he began to unravel. He began to abuse other people,began to abuse his only son that was with him and finally indesperation he himself became that which he abhorred, a bicycle thief.He had lost not just his bicycle he had lost his character and the respect of his son.
My momentary hesitation now past, I looked up at my son and said, “No, Ben, that hurts, but it is just a bike. We can take turns walking and riding."
We then proceeded to spend the remainder of the afternoon enjoying our time together smiling and laughing.
Bicycle gone, but this time at least, character and son maintained.