Cast of Characters

I was riding along carefree on my bicycle, when suddenly an expansion joint caused by a tree root appeared. Next thing I knew, I was catapulted in the air and came crashing down on gravel. I couldn’t move. Eric and Justin, two college kids who witnessed the incident, came to my rescue. They scooped me up, and put me and my mangled bike into a woman’s van. Gigi, the woman, drove me to an urgent care facility nearby and signed me in. The nurse tended to the bloody road rash that covered the right side of my body from shoulder to knee. She gave me a shot for pain, cleaned me up, put my right arm in a brace, gave me a list of orthopedic doctors to contact, and turned me over to my friend and emergency contact Jenny.

Eric and Justin sent a joint text. “Good luck, Kimberly! Eric and Justin are here for you. We’ll be thinking of you and hope you get well soon!”

Gigi sent a text also. “Stay strong and cycle on (once you can!).” When I told her that I had broken a bone, she said she wasn’t surprised because she saw that my arm was maimed, but she didn’t want to freak me out and tell me since I was in shock at the time.

I was very fortunate to come across amazing strangers with big hearts. I will never forget their acts of kindness. Gigi even texted me the following day and offered to drive me to my doctor appointments. Truly remarkable people!

The next afternoon I went to an orthopedist at Reston Hospital, had X-rays taken and after the July 4 holiday had a CAT scan. All the results conclusively confirmed that I broke off the corner of my right wrist! The nurse wrapped my wrist and lower arm in a waterproof cast (I chose Wonder Woman red of course).

My friend Melissa asked if she could sign my cast in an effort to cheer me up. At that point, the cast graffiti tour began! Members of my community all got in on it — from my friends, to the local Starbucks crew, employees at my favorite bank branch, running group buddies and more.

Here are some of the fun messages that people wrote:

  • Oops. – Melissa (*this one will always be extra special to me because it’s the first signature on my first, and hopefully last, cast)
  • Chewy on the inside. – Brett
  • Love the fashion statement. – Arthur
  • Feel better – Starbucks family (the morning crew at my neighborhood Starbucks)
  • APC (the initials of my 83-years-young Starbucks bud Art)
  • Get better soon! + latte cup drawing – Cheryl
  • Feel better – Mehreen (my fav lead teller at CapitalOne)
  • 💛 – Jhanira (branch manager at my CapitalOne)
  • You’re hard core! – Erika (from my Pacers fun run crew)
  • #foreveryrun (guy from my Pacers fun run crew)
  • Heal fast! – Loretta (from my Pacers fun run crew)
  • Get well Spartan. – KB aka Katrena
  • 🙂 – Marcia
  • Love ya – Jane
  • More burpees – Leia
  • Get well soon! – Michael
  • Love ya – Jenny (one of my BFFs)
  • Stay strong! – Colin (my trainer)

I am having surgery tomorrow to get six screws and a metal plate attached to my right wrist to properly repair it. Whenever I start to feel nervous about the procedure, I look at the messages and drawings on the cast. They bring me comfort that everything is going to be alright.

Starbucks Morning Motley Crew

 

Mike and I

Mike and I (I am now a proud honorary motley crew member!)

My office shut down this week due to the Blizzard of ’16 and I’ve been walking to Starbucks every morning to hang out. My friends tease that I should have gotten a job there to support my latte habit. During my mornings at Starbucks, I befriended a group led by seasoned gentlemen who meet there daily Monday through Friday in the range of 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Art, the founder and eldest member of the group, is 83 years young and has been coming to this Starbucks every morning for more than 10 years since his wife passed away. He spent 20 years serving in the army, retired as a colonel and moved on to a second career working as a procurement officer at a bank where he then also retired. Art was married for 50 years and hails from a generation he said that is “modest”, which is why he asked to not be photographed. He feels that the values of the younger generations are lost. Back in the day Art said, when you needed work done, you could count on someone to give you a fair price and a handshake was your word of honor. Not the case today, he said, where multiple bids are placed and endless contract pages are drafted, reviewed and signed for a job to be done. The things that bring Art the most enjoyment every day are doing The Washington Post Daily Crossword and reading the trivia blurbs in the corner pages of USA TODAY.

Mike has been a member of the crew for eight years. He’s a very busy man, as part owner of 28 Popeyes in the VA/MD/DC area. He has lived in Northern Virginia his entire life and witnessed a lot of changes. Mike shared a story of when he was little and there was a similar blizzard. In addition to the snow removal problem, he said heating the school so kids could return was a big challenge. They had coal fed radiators at the time, which was a lot of work for the janitors. He said that school in Centreville still exists today, but has been modernized and is now a school for troubled teens. Mike also shared that the coolest job he ever had was before the Bicentennial when the company he worked for was tasked with installing air conditioning in the Washington Monument. During the job, he and one of his buddies wrote their names and the date inside the peak of the monument. Mike said it cost $1 million to do the renovation work at that time in 1976. He said he’ll never forget the 898 steps because him and his crew had to remove each step to sandblast them clean, as an insurance man sat in his car every day monitoring the work being done.

Craig, a sweet and soft-spoken man, wears a signature blue plaid jacket and enjoys a tall coffee straight-up while sitting reserved on the side.

Other members of the Starbucks morning motley crew include: Tom and Connie, a couple, who are both retired police officers; Bob, a friendly car salesman; and Sharon, a real estate professional in her late 30s, who joins the group on Fridays and is the youngest of the bunch.

It’s been a privilege getting to know everyone. I’m happy that with the winter storm also came new friendships. I’m back to work at my office and miss those entertaining mornings with the crew. As Art poetically stated … “When one comes, one has to go.”