Want ad leads to gift of motorcycle for P.E.I. man
'You never really expect the Oprah effect to happen to you'
Justin Doiron dreamed of getting back on a bike again.
A motorcycle that was at least road ready was all the man from Summerside, P.E.I., wanted. It had been years since he had his little 300cc he used to get him around town, he said.
"I kind of fell in love with the whole method of transportation, it was a fun thing to do," Doiron said.
I thought he was just pulling my chain. — Justin Doiron
It was time to get back on a motorcycle, but this time around he "just wanted something a little bigger."
So he posted an ad on Kijiji looking for something "just barely road worthy, but that was legal to get on the road."
"Something I could putt around on this summer."
It didn't take very long before he got a reply from New Minas, N.S., from Robert Durber. The two hit it off as they exchanged emails, and Doiron discovered the motorcycle he'd been offered seemed like a jewel compared to the beater he'd been looking for.
"It was a nice machine. It was a lot better than what I wanted," he said.
"We finally spoke on the phone and at the very end of the phone call I had to say 'OK, we talked all this time, obviously you have a lot more of a bike than what I'm looking for — how much do you want for this thing?'"
He couldn't have predicted the answer. Durber only asked for one thing: a litter box.
Doiron had had a litter box for sale months earlier and sold it, but had forgotten to take down the ad.
'Meant to be'
"Funnily enough," Durber recalls telling Doiron on the phone, "I saw your other ad and you had a litter box that you didn't use, and I have three cats."
Doiron had to break the news that the used litter box was gone already, but Durber replied it wasn't a problem — he'd just give Doiron the motorcycle for free.
"I didn't believe him — who would have believed that? I thought he was just pulling my chain," Doiron said.
"But as soon as we talked on the phone, I could tell that he was a genuine person."
I said "Do you know what? I'm just as excited to give it to you as you are to get it."— Robert Durber
Part of Durber's plan all along was to find the right person to give the bike for free. And Durber said he knew the moment they spoke on the phone that Doiron was the "family guy" he'd been looking for.
"He was so, so excited to get it, and not just because he was getting it for no cost," Durber said.
"I said 'Do you know what? I'm just as excited to give it to you as you are to get it.' And I really was. I really feel like I'm getting more out of the deal than you are.
"It was meant to be."
'It started like a dream'
Doiron went to Nova Scotia with a trailer, met Durber and trucked the motorcycle back to the Island.
"It started like a dream, it looked like it just came out of the showroom," Doiron said of the bike.
The two are keeping in touch and plan to share stories and pictures with one another of their motorcycle journeys when the riding season begins.
It's a "unexpected" and "humbling" gift Doiron said he will cherish — and that he's still wrapping his head around.
"It's really something that you read about ... but you never really expect it happening to you," Doiron said.
"I've had somebody ahead of me in the drive-thru at Tim Hortons buy me a coffee or that kind of thing happen before, but you never really expect the Oprah effect to happen to you."
But he said he plans to pay it back any way he can.
"I guess I kind of committed to at least buying coffee for the person behind me for the next 25, 30 years," Doiron said.