Dennis and I arrived in Nashville around 2 pm. As we were checking in to our hotel, Sean called. He had arrived the day before and was downtown considering doing a Segway tour. He asked if I would like to join and I politely declined, expressing my fear of falling. I wondered silently if he had considered the risk for himself...
We agreed to meet at 5:30 after his tour.
I was told my room would not be ready until 4 pm so I stashed my stuff in Dennis's room and decided to go out for a scouting bike ride and then ride downtown to check out Nashville and possibly run into Sean spinning around on a Segway.
First, I checked out the exit route to Russellville, Kentucky. The roads were rough and the neighborhoods, sketchy at best, but traffic was low and the route seemed reasonably safe. I then headed downtown and spotted a few Segways but no Sean. My phone then rang, and it was Sean. He informed me he had decided against the Segway after considering the possible risk of falling (phew!) and was at the hotel. So I maneuvered around pot holes, parked cars, opening doors and traffic and headed back.
Already missing the tranquility on the Natchez Trace
A brief break, riding across the Vanderbilt College campus
I cleaned up, and we called an Uber driver to pick us up (Sean, Dennis and me).
This is where the touching part of today starts.
Our driver started talking with us and soon we were talking about Sean's stroke and his inspiration to launch Heart Across America. He showed great interest and we gave him one of Don's HAA cards. He recommend that we try out Merchants, a good restaurant in the area and that we should tell the general manager Gil, that Ryan with Uber referred us.
I gave the message to the hostess. She didn't know Ryan and I assumed nothing would come of this. However as we were dining, Gil showed up and greeted us. He heard Ryan had sent us here and wanted to know more. We told him what we were doing and he was clearly moved by Sean's courage, our ride, and our loss of Don.
Next thing I know, our waiter Zach (sp?) who turned out to be a cyclist came back and wanted to know more about HAA. He listened and promised to spread the word at a local bike shop.
Then we find out that Gil has personally comped a bottle of wine to go with our dinner, and then Zach takes care of our dessert. Amazing.
If you are ever in the Nashville area and want to eat at a great restaurant that has a big heart, please check them out.
After dining, we called another Uber driver to get us back to our hotel.
Waiting for ride back to Hotel
We were picked up by our driver. Much as we did with Ryan, we started talking about HAA. Our driver shared her memories of her grandfather's series of strokes. We gave her one of Don's cards and pointed her to my blog and the HAA website where she can learn more about stroke prevention.
As I was getting out of her car, she handed me five, one dollar bills. I told her "No, no, please don't" . as I suspected this was a second job for her... But she replied: " In insist. I want to do this, really."
I was choked up. I promised her I would donate this to Don's fund raising page. She wished us well and prayed for our continued safety.
Mary: Her smile tells it all
I am learning a lot on this journey. People all around are kind, generous and loving. Rich, poor, big city, small city, it doesn't matter.