Don’t Judge a Book (or a Biker)

Last week I wrote about a tough-looking guy who spoke really sweetly to me. On this same theme, I’d like to talk about a friend of mine we’ll call Rocky. His real name doesn’t actually sound all that hardened, but I’ve picked Rocky (other contenders were Conan and Thor) to go with the image he believes he projects to the world.

I say “believes,” because personally I’ve never known this guy to be intimidating. Let’s be clear: This is a soft-hearted, middle-aged man who has fixed a leaking water pipe in our basement, helped us with a broken table and gone out of his way to give me a ride to the train station. Rocky is one of those guys who’s constantly on-call for any friend who needs a hand, ever.

But he does ride a motorcycle. He has tattoos. He is neither short in stature, nor a beanpole in build. His email handle is “Blue Harley” (and he uses said email account to circulate some rather racy jokes). Sometimes, he is judged harshly.

Still, he writes eloquently. So when, last Friday, he had a disappointing encounter with a woman and her daughter in the coffee-shop parking lot, Rocky was moved to share the story with his friends. It’s touching, and with Rocky’s permission, I reproduce it here:

“To the family in the red SUV at Tim Horton’s today. Yes, I am a big, 230-pound guy with motorcycles and full of tattoos. I am loud, I drink Coke … and I look like I would eat your soul if you stare at me wrong.

“What you don’t know is that I have been happily married and my 30-year-old kids call me Dad. I am a college graduate, my mother is proud of me and tells everyone how lucky she is to have such a wonderful son.

“My nieces and nephews are always happy to see their Uncle Rocky. When my boys broke their bones, I cried more than they did.

“I read books, I help people, I go out of my way to thank war veterans and I even cried at Armageddon and Schindler’s List.

“So next time I smile and say hi to your little girl and you grab her and tell her ‘No, no, dear, we don’t talk to dirty bikers,’ remember that even though you hurt my feelings, this ‘dirty biker’ would be the first person to run into your burning house to save your little girl – and her goldfish, so she wouldn’t be sad!!!!”

Rocky adds at the end:

“By the way, I’m a plumber… and the fellow I was riding with was a police officer.”

Tats? Yes. Tough? Not on your life.

Tats? Yes. Tough? Not on your life.

6 responses to “Don’t Judge a Book (or a Biker)

  1. While on a trip to a meeting to Sault Ste Marie, our group of people with disabilities were treated to a motorcycle ride by a group of pretty tough looking men, many with full tattoos, on Harleys. They rode under the name of BRO – Bikers’ Rights Organization and were the nicest fellows. One even duct taped a chair backwards to the back of his bike so a woman who couldn’t straddle the saddle could ride. Never assume. Looks
    don’t mean a thing.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Linda! Sounds like a great bunch of guys… softies, just like my friend.

  3. For most it’s easy to make a quick judgment….it’s harder to take the time to talk to some one. Good post my friend.

  4. Thank you, Scott. I think every one of us probably feels we’ve been wrongly judged at some point… personally, I like to keep ’em guessing!

  5. Excellent post, Lisa. Good for Rocky for writing that letter–and letting you share it!

  6. Thanks, Christine! Rocky is reading this… I’m sure he’ll be flattered by your comment.

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