Good Neighbors

August 11, 2008

Those of you who have been a regular in the Perkins overpass area over the past 15-20 years might recognize Ronny, a mentally challenged guy who has earned his keep and charmed customers at area businesses forever.

Ronnie's bike was recently stolen. Within a couple of days, the customers and employees of Troy's barber shop and Zippy's had collected enough to buy this replacement for him, $10 here, $20 there.

Ronnie and his new bike

I lived right there for about four years, but to be honest, I don't remember him. Sharples called me one night last week with the story, and I could tell it was really important to him. This surprised me, and it's difficult for me to articulate why that should be. It's not that he isn't a nice guy. I know that if some good would come to me if I could convince a friend to eat a dog turd, he'd do it for me in a second. But I guess I've never known him to take up a cause.

Anyway, he collected contributions and met Ronny down at the bicycle shop. He had it picked out, and the staff was already adding his basket, adjusting the seat, and giving it its once-over. Ronnie's people were dragging him out to make an appointment somewhere or other, and Sharples volunteered to wait for the bike and deliver it to his house.

"OK, because I need it by five," Ronnie instructed.