Senior Scooter Ride, Judgement Error

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Are you perfect? Ever make a mistake? Here’s a big one I made on a scooter ride. Luckily for me, it had a happy ending.

Every scooter ride’s different, even on a trail I’ve ridden dozens of times before. It’s like what the Greek philosopher Herodotus said, “No one of all the days of our lives is like any other in that which it brings us.”

It started as a usual scooter ride until….

One hot afternoon last summer, I set out on my usual 5.2 mile round trip ride on the Lario Park Trail in Irwindale, up the San Gabriel River bike trail, 2.6 miles up, 2.6 miles back.

I like this trail because while there are short rises in the ascent, I gain it all back on the descent, which takes half as many scoots.

This section of the trail is isolated… you’re riding up and down the east side of the broad San Gabriel River bed, with desert landscape on both sides, no houses, just occasional tents of homeless people, and a usually inactive conveyor belt carrying rocks down from the quarry on the west side, across the river, down to the stoneworks next to the entrance to the trailhead.

This scooter ride was missing something very important, WATER!

On this day, the temperature was 95°. I’d foolishly brought no water. I was OK on the ascent, but on the descent, even though I had only half as many scoots to make with the declining elevation, in the heat I was sweating profusely, and felt extremely thirsty, if not light-headed. No shade anywhere.

A set-up for a fall

I stopped to rest for two minutes about half way back, then resumed my ride. Nobody in sight.

A mile and a half from the trailhead, I had to stop, unable to continue scooting. Should I keep going, on foot? Just a few yards off the trail, I saw a homeless person’s tent… a blue tarpaulin, something white over his entry, junk bicycles and other trash scattered about.

I saw him standing in the opening of his tent, and I called out, “I’m sorry, but might you have any water you could spare?”

He nodded, went into his tent, and came right out with a 2 gallon bottle of spring water, and a paper cup for me.

Ron. He saved my life!

I gave him a few dollars, thanked him, and continued my ride the last hundred or so scoots to the parking lot, with Ron’s encouraging comment that it was all downhill from his place.

Now, when I go back to that trail, I see Ron from time to time. He’s lived there for ten years. I ask him if he needs anything, and he says if there’s one thing, it would be a few bucks so he could buy supplies. So I usually take care of him when I see him. Today it was a jar of peanut butter.

I remind him always that he saved my life

Ron, the man who saved my life.
Ron, the man who saved my life.

He says with a grin, “No, it was nothing,” but that isn’t so. He really did save my life. Call this experience what you will. The hand of God. The Universe, sheltering me. An interaction with a caring human being with a heart. Ron taught me indelibly how we should treat each other, always.

Don’t forget to check out Jonathan’s website at

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Jonathan Kelley
Jonathan Kelley, 80, was born in Boston, and educated at Exeter and Princeton, then Harvard Medical School, after a year teaching English in Cali, Colombia. He was a Navy anesthesiologist during Viet Nam. He spent the middle decades of his life working in a community hospital in Northern California. Besides his career in medicine, he’s a chef, pianist, and actor in his artistic life. In the kitchen, he specializes in croissants and cooking with coconuts. At the piano, it’s boogie woogie and Joplin rags. As an actor, he’s done fourteen seasons in a Mexican Christmas play in Los Angeles, plus the occasional movie role, as in the soon-to-be-released feature film “Amor en 266 Millas,” where he plays the hippie patriarch of a desert commune in the Antelope Valley. He has two books available on Amazon, “Counting Backwards from 100: My Life as an Anesthesiologist,” and “Short Stories by Jonathan Kelley.” Searching for improved balance and leg strength at age 77, Jonathan came by chance upon a Xootr scooter. Jonathan’s wife is the lovely Puerto Rican actress Gloria Laino. Their mix is like Puerto Rican arroz con gandules served next to New England style cranberry sauce.


    • Jonathan Kelley is definitely an author, and an awesome one at that. Thank you for the kind comment because we totally agree with you that this is a great story, and we’re so proud to feature it.

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