• Dr. Stuart P. Stofferahn

Days 4, 5, 6

Day #4

Since my support system (Heather, spouse) was not working, we had full range of vehicle flexibility, so we took advantage, loaded up the bikes, and put on about 30 miles through Pioneer and Wilderness park.

Day #5

Again, support system allowed for full use of carting here and there, but at no time was I behind the wheel!

Day #6

Back to the grind.

Admittedly, it was tougher to get going this morning. Stormy night, didn’t sleep well, kinda cranky . . .

I checked the weather, prepped the backpack, and began planning when my departure would be. I’m getting into a groove. The trip from my house to 56th and Pine Lake would take about 70 minutes when all said and done. I take the 41 (Havelock), and it turns into the 53 (South Pointe). I don’t even need to disembark. If I wanted to, I could use the time reading a book, answering e-mails, or just meditating on the day. Today, the ride was very quiet. Not a lot of conversation – I got a sense that Monday had fully taken over.

I had a little time to kill when I arrived at my first destination, so I stopped to get a bottle of water. When I was checking out, a title on a magazine cover caught my eye.

“The World Needs Who You Were Made To Be.”

Joan and Karla, and the caption that caught my eye.

Huh. Pretty much exactly why we are doing what we are doing – so the world can experience who our students were made to be. Worth $25 bucks for you to find out with me?

Made my way to the coffee house where I was meeting my appointment for the morning. My small cup of coffee cost $2.85 this morning.

$2.85. Two DOLLARS and EIGHTY-FIVE CENTS. For a SMALL cup of coffee. S-M-A-L-L.

I can ride all across the city, including a transfer for $1.75. I can ride anywhere I want – unlimited for 31 consecutive days – for $17.00. That’s equivalent to just under six S-M-A-L-L cups of coffee. SIX!

This was the first real time I stopped to think about how much I was spending on a cup of coffee – and how EASILY it would be to donate 8.8 cups of coffee to NTC ($25). Like, REALLY easily . . .(power of suggestion).

I met Avelina today – she has driven the bus here in Lincoln for seven years and before that, ten years in Vegas. She has four kids – one of whom was riding with us for a while. After I loaded my bike and began to step on the bus, she said with a chuckle, “I have GOT to know where you are headed with a green bow tie.”

“Just wait until I get my red, velvet sport jacket on,” was my response. Of course, this led to the story of our fundraiser and curriculum design for our students to ride the bus, which led to more conversation, and I made a brand-new friend who I am looking forward to seeing again soon.

A little down the road, my first bus friend Don boarded. It was 1:00, and he had already mowed three lawns and was on his way to the next three. It was good to see him again. I got to learn more about him – today is his anniversary (his fiancée works at the hospital, and the storm kept her very busy), and his weekend was busy with work (his mom gets him to any job sites on Sundays, since the bus doesn’t run). Don welcomed the familiar and unfamiliar passengers on the bus all the way to the hub downtown.

Havelock is where I begin and end all my days. My friend, Don.

One passenger was a young lady who was blind and using a cane. She couldn’t have been more than 14 years old. At one point, it looked like she was getting anxious, and she quickly asked if she missed her stop downtown. Of course, it was Don who calmed her.

“No – you didn’t miss it. I will make sure you know,” he said.

You should really all meet this guy. We need a lot more Dons in the world. I know where he gets on and what time, so I will make it a point to see him again – hopefully many times.

Lessons Learned:

1. If you miss a bus – even by a second or two – you can’t run it down with a bike. Not even if you won the Tour de France. Let it go and get comfortable.

2. If something falls through on your end of a scheduled appointment, suggesting a new time that same day is nearly impossible unless there are wide windows of time. For example, busses leaving Gold’s around 3:00 and around 4:30 are completely different animals. Be patient; we’ll find another time to meet (thankfully, everyone so far).

3. Coffee is ridiculously expensive, but we spend like crazy on it. Consider instead spending $25 on programming for our students. When they have full times jobs, you will receive $175 back on your investment.

Nebraska Transition College is a non-profit dedicated to helping individuals with a disability find a pathway to independence. But we can’t do it without a large donor network. If this blog brings you meaning in any way, please consider giving a maximum gift of $25 during our “I’ve Got a Ticket to Ride!” May campaign.

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