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Thursday, 23 March 2017

The Little Red Tricycle

From time to time I will recycle (pun intended) stories that I have used elsewhere.  The following is one that I presented at Toastmasters to fulfil a “Morals” story assignment. The listeners were given five “moral” choices to select from.  You’ll understand that it follows naturally from the “Run in with a car” event. 

                     A Dad Will Do Anything for his Daughter
                     Persistence Pays Off
                     A Father’s promise is Golden
                     All of the Above
                     Other (Size doesn’t matter.)

My father was small of stature but large of heart.

Fellow Toastmasters - sit back- relax. I’m about to tell you a true story that took place long, long ago - before the earth cooled, when I was a young 6 year old child.

This story has a moral and I want you to look at the choices I’ve displayed and at the end I’ll ask you which one you think fits.

The previous summer I had been involve in a bad car accident and sustained serious injuries to my left foot. The summer of the story I had been given a beautiful red tricycle which became my therapy of choice. I rode it all the time. Unfortunately, as much as I loved my trike - I was only six years old and careless at looking after it. I left it outside the row house we lived in - and you guessed it - my favourite toy was stolen. I was devastated.

I still couldn’t walk too well - but I could ride that bike like the wind. Or so I thought.

That evening my father came home from work to a very depressed child and a very concerned mother.

Funny how a young child looks to a father to solve problems. I know I did.

He didn’t disappoint me.

He wiped my tears and assured me that he would find my tricycle and bring it back to me.

I believed him!

Of course I had no concept of the impossibility of the task he had set for himself. London, England was always a crowded and over populated place and the 1930's were no exception. My bike had been snatched at midday - by evening it could have been miles away.

Dad applied his logic. He reasoned that taking the bike was a theft of opportunity made by a person walking by, either going to or from his/her home. With this mind he borrowed a bicycle from a neighbour and rode off in an effort to become my hero.

For an entire week - after work he rode up and down the local streets - stretching his search in ever widening circles. All to no avail!

Then one evening - BINGO - he spotted a young boy riding a red tricycle. Could this be the one? He checked the rear axle. Yes it definitely was. He knew because he recognised the repair he had fixed himself.

This is the part of the story where I should describe my father to you.

As I told you in the beginning - he was small of stature - I think he was about 5ft 5in tall. Slight of build. A working man in working man’s clothing. Let’s put it this way - when you looked at him the last thing you thought of was a London policeman. Keep that in mind as I continue.

Very carefully he approached the boy.

“Hello sonny - that’s a nice bike you have there.” He spoke to the child - not wanting to alarm him. “Do you live near here?”

Child points to house close by.

“O.K.” said my Dad, “Let’s go see your house.”

With that he knocked on the door. A man came out. From what I’ve been told a he was a pretty substantial looking man.

Now comes the stroke of genius.

“Evening guv. C.I.D.” Dad says, flashing a piece of paper from his pocket. For those of you not aware the C.I.D. are the top detective unit of Scotland Yard.

So now I ask you to imagine; a very rough area of London and there’s my little Dad, all 5 foot 5 holding onto his borrowed bicycle, and pointing to the little red tricycle. “That’s stolen property my man.” The man of the house was probably ready to punch him out and tell him to “you know what off”  But just then a real six foot two inch London Bobby happened to cycle by on his bike. My Dad waved to him a cheery: “Evening Bill, see you back at the station.” That was the clincher.

My dad convinced the thief that he would not press charges, merely release the stolen property and he would forget it.

So I got my bike back - Just as I knew I would.

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