my two new friends, Aly and Elise.

My good friend, Sean and I often go on bike rides around Melbourne.  Visiting Cafe’s, random locations and just cruising around.

Last Saturday was one of these rides.

On this particular ride, we met a couple of new people.

This is a story of those two people and just how easy it is to make a difference in the world.

The first, a backpacker named, Elise.

Sean and I were shooting some photography (one of Sean’s new passions) for my new be nice. shirt range.

We were at Docklands and it was one of Melbourne’s hottest days.  41degrees Celsius to be exact.  It was HOT.

As we stopped to take a picture, we saw a young girl (guessed, mid 20’s?) with a map looking lost.  this girl was very tanned and I was pretty sure she was European judging from her complexion and the fact she had a map.

She looked confused and quite hot.  So I walked over and asked her if she was lost or needed a hand finding something..?

As a fellow traveler, I know the feeling of being lost in a foreign country.  It’s hard enough with the culture shock, but then to have 41 degrees, and also be unsure where you are, can be a horrible experience.

She responded to my question in a European accent. “Do you know where I can find a supermarket for some water??”.  I pulled out my phone and performed a google search to see where the closest super market was.

….6km, Google said!

Fortunately, Sean knew the area and there was a small I.G.A (grocer) around the corner. He explained we could take her there.

Along the way, we officially introduced ourselves and continued chatting.

Elise is a Belgium back packer who has been in Australia for 4 months exploring and investigating this beautiful country.  First up was Sydney, then the Gold Coast and now Melbourne.

I have to admit, I really admire her courage.  She was traveling alone and even though we thought she was young, she was very confident and friendly.  We asked if she liked traveling alone and she immediately stated she loved it.  “I feel so free, and independent.  No-one can tell me what I can or cannot do…and of course, the interesting people I meet”.

We got to the I.G.A, and said what we thought was goodbye.  I went in and grabbed a couple of waters for Sean and I.  We sat there drinking them, before then Elise came back out.

I asked her to sit and speak with us.  I also wanted to get a photo for this blog to explain just how easy it is to help people, and that all you have to do is reach out.

She was more than happy to jump in the photo and was intrigued by my ‘be nice.’ blog, so Sean snapped a picture of Elise and I.

We sat there together for around 20 minutes chatting.  She explained she wants to experience as much as she can in Melbourne, before heading back to Belgium at the end of the year.  The SkyDeck, The Melbourne Star (monster size Ferris Wheel), The Zoo and many more topics came up.

At the end of our chat I said we should become friends on Facebook and if she is up for it, we can all hangout and do some of these great activities.

After adding her and saying goodbye (again), Sean and I continued on our ride.  What a nice experience. (but that wasn’t over just yet as you will see later on in this story).

As we continued, around 30 minutes later, we pulled up at the traffic lights next to a fellow bike rider.  Like Elise, she looked mid 20’s.  I asked her if she would like to race?  She politely stated she didn’t know if she could keep up, as my bike looked quite quick!

After sharing some laughs the light turned green and I was off.  My over the top victory provided more laughs.  I shot my hands into the air like I had just won the green sprinters guernsey on the Tour de France and started waving to an imaginary crowd.  After I had my moment, I slowed down to congratulate her on her second place.

Which is when we started chatting.  Her name was Aly and she was just finishing work.  She works at a Japanese home wares store in the city to help make ends meet.  She doesn’t overly love her job but understands it’s a means to an end to help propel her into her passionate work of Art, which she is recently qualified from Uni in.

I explained to her that I am a writer and creator of the be nice. movement.  We continued chatting and riding for 20 minutes before departing ways.  Even though our interaction was short, all it took to connect with her was simply asking if she wanted to race.  it’s that easy.

that small interaction not only brightened my day, but Aly also had a good laugh.

as we again continued along our way, I couldn’t help but think about our first friend, Elise.  I knew she wasn’t in Melbourne for long, but I wanted to make a difference in her trip.  Help her experience the most from her short stay.

Given we were Facebook friends now, I shot her a quick message asking what she was doing for dinner.  Sean and I had planned to get some italian woodfire pizza and just relax.  Plus, after riding all day we were HUNGRY.  She responded and said she would indeed like to grab some pizza with us.

I explained we would come and pick her up.

We grabbed some pizza on the way from my good friends Ilir’s Italian restaurant (delicious pizza from “The Pheonix” for those playing at home) and went back to my house.

Once we got back to my house, Sean’s girlfriend also came over and we all just sat there and enjoyed the company.

Over the course of the evening, Elise provided many stories from her travels.  Plus, and after seeing her Instagram picture with a microphone and her signing we asked if she could sing.

and she could!

Song of choice? Adele – Rolling in the Deep.

What a beautiful voice.  Anyone who knows me well, knows I love female vocals and the three of us sat there listening to her belt out the tune.
What I really loved though, was her bravery to perform in front of 3 people.  That’s true courage.

The evening came to a close and I dropped her back at her hotel.  But before she left, I had a gift for her.  She had mentioned during the night she has trouble making decisions.  I knew of a great book on my bookshelf which helped people make better decisions.

I grabbed it, wrote a little note inside the front cover and gave it to her.

What a wondering human.  Thank-you for sharing pizza with us, Elise, and good luck with the rest of your travels!

So next time you, the reader, is out and about, take the time to look for new and exciting opportunities to brighten someone’s day, or offer assistance.

You never know where it can lead.


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