From Total Stranger to Friend in mere moments

The following was a comment that Ron made on one of my posts. I know as a comment not everybody will go back and see it. It touched me deeply and being, yet again, a perspective from somebody else, I thought some followers might like to read it.

The walker mentioned has seen many miles in the house since I bailed out of the hospital. And Ron continues to support and encourage me on FB. Add to the list of my new MN friends, Ron from ABATE.

Prior to Friday night, July 19th, I knew nothing about the BROAD, Ursula’s Riding Buddies, the DREAM or even Ursula herself – my ABATE chapter in the Twin Cities had been contacted by ABATE members (friends of Ursula’s) in Illinois via Facebook – they wanted someone local to check up on her condition and to report back – since I am the closest of my chapter members to the area where Region’s hospital is located, I agreed to see what I could find out – I called the hospital and asked if anyone was with Ursula at the present time – I was told that her son from Illinois was with her – I left my phone number and asked if Ursula’s son Nate could give me a call when it was convenient – a little later Nate called me back (using a borrowed cell phone) – I explained my connection and the reason for my concern and got some information that I was able to share with Ursula’s friends in Illinois later on Friday night – just for shits and giggles, I decided to “Google” Ursula’s name and was amazed at what I discovered – I spent much of Friday night reading what I found on the internet about Ursula – it became obvious to me that she was a person who had invested a lot of time doing things for others in the biker community – she was an organizer, a mover and a shaker, she was a friend to those that needed a friend and she was everyone’s friend – I learned about the B.R.O.A.D. and her attempt to live out her dream – by Sunday night, I was able to convince myself that Ursula was a once-in-a-lifetime person to meet – but getting up the courage to actually go see her took some doing – I normally don’t stick my nose where it does not belong – I protect my privacy and respect the privacy of others – just driving to the hospital and introducing myself was way out of my comfort zone – but I felt compelled to ‘just do it’ – I arrived at Regions Hospital about 15 minutes before visitor’s hours were over, found out that she was in ICU and made my way up to her floor and room armed only with a couple of issues of RoadNoise, the official publication of ABATE of MN – I used the pretense that the purpose of my visit was to let her (or whoever was with her) know that there are several lawyers who specialize in helping motorcyclists who have been injured in motorcycle accidents – I explained the reason for my visit to the nurse at the front desk of the ICU – she wanted to know if I was a relative (answer = NO) or friend (once again, answer = NO) – all I could come up with was I was a complete stranger who was concerned for her health and well-being – I must have been convincing because the nurse said that she would go to ask if Ursula would see me – she soon returned and said “Go on in” – this is how I met Ursula – by accident – Ursula was alone in her room (her son and sister had left for the night) – I was more nervous than a school boy trying to ask a girl at a sock hop if she would like to dance, anticipating and half-expecting to be rejected – but to my surprise, Ursula was open and welcoming – she reached out to me, told me to come closer to her and took my hand with hers – I explained the reason for my visit, told her about the lawyers that advertised in RoadNoise that might be some help to her and asked if there was anything that I could do for her – she asked if I would be interested in trying to get copies of her accident reports for her – in March of this year, I had my right hip replaced, so I tried to explain that I kind of knew what she had been going through in the hospital for the past 4-1/2 days – as Ursula has explained in her blog, she was still quite heavily medicated at this point, so I said my ‘Good Bye’s’ and told her I would return in a day or two when I was able to find out something about the accident reports – I only spent about 10 minutes with her that Sunday night but dammit, she ‘hooked me’ – like a insect, I had become entangled in her spider web that draws people to like her the moment they meet her – I spent the better part of Monday morning trying to run down accident reports – I didn’t really know where the accident happened – it might have been on Highway 8 or on Highway 95 (I suspected Highway 95 because someone had told me she was headed south when the accident occurred) – this is an area where Washington and Chisago counties meet up – and I didn’t know which law enforcement agency was the lead agency for the report – it could have been a local police department, a sheriff’s department or the State Patrol – eventually, I came up with what I was told were accident report numbers for both Chisago county and the MN State Patrol – but since I didn’t have legal authority to receive a copy of what was in each report, I returned to the ICU on Monday night to share my findings – at his point, Nate and Ursula’s sister had already left and her aunt, mothers and father had not yet arrived – once again, I requested permission to see Ursula and once again I was told that she would see me – as I entered her room in the ICU on Monday night, I was able to tell that there was a 100% improvement visible in her condition just in the past 24 hours – she once again reached out for my hand and I shared with her what I was able to find out about her accident reports – we exchanged some small talk and as I was saying “Good bye” for the night she squeezed my hand tighter and started to cry – “they are going to amputate my leg on Wednesday” she told me – I never was very good around crying women and this was no exception – she soon regained a bit of composure and explained that it was going to be a 2-part operation – that they were going to remove her foot but reattach it elsewhere so that they could i alive in an attempt to use the skin on her heel as the skin graft for the bottom end of her eventual stump (forgive me for using terms that might not be medically accurate) – I asked if It would be okay if I stopped back to see her on Tuesday night before her surgery and she said “Yes” – at this point, I knew that her son and sister had left for home and that other family members were on their way from Georgia and South Carolina – if these family members hadn’t arrived prior to the amputation on Wednesday, I was prepared to ask Ursula if she would like me to sit in the waiting room on her behalf while she was in surgery – when I arrived at the hospital on Tuesday night, I went up to the ICU and was told that Ursula had been transferred to the Surgery Trauma center on the 11th floor of the central building in the hospital complex – now I had a new set of nurses to try and explain why a non-family member (recently upgraded from total stranger) was there to see her just hours before the most important surgery up to this point in her life – but once again, I must have had an honest looking face and once again, I was let in to see her – I was relieved to see that there were other people in the room with her – I was introduced to Ursula’s aunt and mother – I explained my reason for visiting, we talked a little and I left on Tuesday night knowing that Ursula had been able to assemble a team of family supporters to be with her during and following surgery – I was also surprised to once again see the marked improvement in her condition in just another 24 hours – if Sunday to Monday was a 100% improvement, then Monday to Tuesday was another 100% improvement (or a 400% improvement between Sunday and Tuesday) – during the next 4 days I followed her progress via Facebook and the internet – I learned information from Larry’s GoFundMe project – like many of you I learned that following the surgery, Ursula was in a lot of pain and was placed in a medically-induced coma for a while – then late one night (either Thursday or Friday) I found a video made about 1:30 a.m. that Ursula had filmed and posted from her hospital bed saying that she was “back in town and getting ready to go home soon” – on Saturday, I was at a pre-Sturgis hog roast at the Joint/Cabooze on Minneapolis’s West Bank and I learned on Facebook that the women of the Wild Cougars made a surprise visit to see Ursula on Saturday afternoon – on Sunday, several of the Wild Cougars stopped by my place while out on a Chapter ride with Metro ABATE members for lunch and after I talked to them, I decided to resume my in-person visits at Regions Hospital – I went back on Sunday night and found out that Ursula had once again been moved – this time to the Burn Unit – her aunt was getting ready to return home the next day but her mothers and father were going to continue to stay until Ursula was discharged – on Sunday night, I gave Ursula a top that was donated by the Joint ( a good place to meet shady people) – I asked her if she might have some use for my nearly-new, hardly-used walker that I had purchased following my hip replacement surgery in March of this year – she eagerly took me up on the offer and I agreed to bring it to her on Monday night – on Monday night, Ursula was alone in her room (her mothers and father has already returned to their hotel for the night) – I gave her the walker and a couple of other tops that bike shops had donated – the walker was even outfitted with a leather H-D handlebar tool bag to double as a fanny-pack/purse for cell phone, keys, money and identification – before I left I asked if her mothers and father might be interested in seeing a little bit of Minneapolis and St. Paul and to to a real restaurant before they returned home – she said that she would check with them on Tuesday – I called on Tuesday morning and found out that I had scored a date with her mother Nancy on Tuesday night – on Tuesday night, I stopped by Ursula’s room in the Burn Unit to pick up her mother for dinner – I took her on a motor tour of Minneapolis and St. Paul and she was fascinated by all of the tall buildings – she said it was very different from her home city of Charleston, South Carolina – we eventually had dinner at the restaurant Ward 6 (located oddly enough in the Sixth Ward of St. Paul) – we had a nice conversation and I had Nancy back to her hotel a little before 10 p.m. – I had planned on saying my final “good bye” to Ursula and Nancy in person on Wednesday but when I arrived at the hospital a little after noon, I learned that Ursula has already been discharged and that they were on their way to the airport and would be home in Georgia in time for dinner – as quickly as Ursula had entered my life, she was now gone – but only in the physical sense – I follow her progress daily on the internet – as an eye-witness, I was able to see first hand the miraculous recovery that Ursula made in just 2 weeks – but having met her in person, I understand how her personality, energy and charisma created that miracle – she has a long way to go and the journey will include some successes and some disappointments along the way but I am convinced that Ursula will emerge a stronger person overall following her accident in Minnesota


BROAD Website     –     The Write Hand Website     –     BROAD YouTube    –    BROAD Facebook    –    Ursula on LinkedIn    –    Pinterest    –    Twitter


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24 Responses to From Total Stranger to Friend in mere moments

  1. Ron is a very special person. I have had the privilege of knowing him for several years thru ABATE, but Ron also puts untold hours and dollars over the last 23 years into MN Motorcycle Dial A Ride, a service that will pick up riders & their bike (with trailer) that may have drank to much or are incapacitated and give them & bike a ride home for free, saving countless motorcyclists lives. I help Ron as much as I can because he is such a unique individual! Ursula you two were destined to be friends,
    My club (Wild Cougars MC) wish you the speediest recovery & you are in our constant prayers, we would abosolutely be honored to see you again!
    Renee SAA,
    Original 5,

    • The BROAD says:

      Thank you so much Renee. Ron has really been a blessing. And the Wild Cougars as well. So many have helped me in all aspects of this journey. The blessings are countless…

      • Renee Burns says:

        I feel honored just to know you Ursula!
        Renee SAA,
        Original 5,

      • The BROAD says:

        I am the one honored actually. I was so pleased and tickled to see all these biker chicks coming into the hospital from nothing but pure sisterhood among riders. “I” am honored to be a part of that sisterhood with you.

  2. Steve says:

    Ya know, I have been trying to come up with a real definition of what it is you do to people!! Ron said it so well, you do spin a web and draw people in! I guess that is why the ULRB has the web in it’s graphic ey? That describes what you do to a T. That is how you have developed such a BROAD variety of people into following you and what you do! I have said it before and I will say it again, you have a gift, and your gift is bringing people together. Not to mention a gift off gab and writing talent! But you seem to have met yet another who writes a good story in Ron. I found myself seeing his whole experience through his writing, and Ron, Thanks for bringing back the memory of that shy butterfly feeling that so many of us felt back in the day when we had to ask girls out face to face! Hell nowdays all they have to do is text! And Ron thank you for giving of yourself and your time to a very worthy woman. I see how much it meant to her, and in doing so you have created a place in all of our hearts. You will be welcome here in Chicago anytime you wish to visit. And if I come to St Paul or Minneapolis anytime in the near future, I will seek you out to shake your hand.

    God Bless both of you and keep on being the great people you both are. It gives me hope that there is still sincere goodness in the human race.

    • The BROAD says:

      Thank you so much for sticking along on the detour Steve. I always enjoy hearing from you. You’re always very positive and encouraging for me. And yes Ron is an awesome cool dude. I can’t wait to seen him again.

  3. Judy Kaenel says:

    I am so thankful that ABATE of MN acted on my call. Now you too may be a part of her life. Thanks Ron and all your members in the great state of Minnesota!!

    • The BROAD says:

      And thank you Judy for having my back. It’s really been amazing to see the hands that were seemingly just waving hello in the distance that actually reached out from hundreds and even thousands of miles to hold me up. I am so grateful for so many people ( known and unknown).

  4. Andy Metzka says:

    Ron- Thanks for checking on her!!
    Andy in Illinois

    • The BROAD says:

      Hi Andy – I miss your good morning texts and pretty pictures of where you’re riding. Just thought I’d mention that. If that plane of yours can make it just little southeast of ATL, maybe you can drop in and say hello. Hugs!!

  5. Ron my friend and ABATE brother, I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done for Ursula and her family. I was at an event today representing my ABATE Chapter and signed a new couple membership based ONLY on what you and ABATE of Minnesota have done for her. That my friend is the impact the YOU have on people here. Ursula is a special person to a whole lot of people here in Illinois as I think you are now understanding. Thank you again.

  6. Pamela says:

    I’m sitting on my patio with my coffee and toast reading this. It’s the first cool morning I have experienced all Summer where sitting outside can be tolerated. The wind is blowing, the birds are chirping the sun is shining. Life is beautiful. What makes it even more beautiful are people like Ron. Now I want to meet him!!

    • The BROAD says:

      Hey Pamela, I don’t drink coffee but can I bring my chocolate milk??? I can give ya Ron’s phone number!! HeHeHe

      I had no idea he was that timid about the whole thing until he wrote it. He seemed a bit shy to us, but very courteous, caring, and genuine.

      I am glad to have you following along and I am glad that Ron came into my life.

      Peace, U

  7. Sytze Nauta says:

    You’re a good guy Ron thanks for the article!

  8. Big Tom Stephenson says:

    Yea she had that same effect on me when I met her before the accident in florida during the start of her journey. I have followed her since the day she left on her journey through another great biker I met during Sturgis 2012 David Roe. What an inspiration she is and I believe it to be her calling in life. I know I have been a part of the biker lifestyle since birth (mother and father were bikers) and have met some truly inspiring people in my life but Ursula ranks right up there at the top.

    • The BROAD says:

      Oh Stop it Tom – you just like the bikinis…. hehehe – Love ya brother and thanks for the awesome support! I just love people and I love to yap! That’s my calling is to talk people’s ears off so they don’t have time to worry about anything else…. Big Hugs Big Tom

  9. Karen says:

    Very poignant recount of events. You are truly blessed, Ursula. Ron is an angel who walks among us.

    • The BROAD says:

      I am very blessed Karen and I do not for an instant take that for granted. Ron will always be special to me and whether I see him once again in life or once a year for life, or whatever – I will always be thankful for his kindness and help.

  10. Lynn says:

    yep, leaky eyes. What a wonderful way with words. Oh and the word “Miraculous” was used.This gentleman sure has you pegged. love ya!! Ron, thanks for being there for our girl:)

    • The BROAD says:

      You really gotta do something about those leaky eyes, it seems to be contagious lately. Just pulling your leg… all 6’2″ of ’em. Love ya baby – love ya lots.

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