Recently, James and I visited my cousin on the East Coast of Florida and enjoyed a day at the South Florida Fair. When I was a child, my parents had steered my focus toward the animals and educational aspects at the fair, so James decided I needed an introduction to the midway rides.
We enjoyed over half a dozen rides, but seriously, why do they all have to SPIN?
As we waited in line for the ferris wheel (much more my speed than some other rides), the attendant refused a little girl at the front. She slipped back through the line with her head down.
“He won’t let her go because she’s a single rider,” James said. “Here, why don’t I wait this one out so she can ride with you?” (Yes, my husband really is that nice.)
I spotted the girl as she walked up to a lady in a wheelchair and called out, “Excuse me, would she like to ride with my cousin and me?”
The woman smiled. “That would be wonderful. I can’t go on the ride, and they won’t let her ride alone.”
I waved the girl, who was maybe ten or eleven, back in line next to my cousin and me, and without a word, the attendant let her join us.
Responding to the “No Single Riders” Rule
I did an internet search on the “no single riders rule” at fairs, and honestly, couldn’t find much information about it. My hunch is that people cite it for “safety” reasons, but to that, I would point them to the single rider line at theme parks which seems to be a popular option.
Regardless, I’m not here to advocate against policies that a leadership team decided was in the best interest of guests. What I am suggesting is how each of us can make a difference one person at a time.
- See other people. We often get so absorbed in ourselves that we miss what’s going on in the lives of people around us. This ability to see others is something that attracted me to my husband. If we were at an event, he was the first to welcome the newcomer or the person standing by himself. That’s an example I want to follow.
- Empathize. There is a point in all our lives when we’re single riders. Whether we’re young adults, single, or newly single due to life circumstances, all of us have been that single rider at some point. Don’t forget what being alone feels like.
- Foster community. Whether at a state fair or in any other life setting, invite that single rider to join you.
I was a single rider for a long time and have many amazing friends who still are. My experience is that when you welcome the single rider, they’re going to bless you so much more in return. They have wisdom and experience you need. They can offer a more flexible schedule than you can. They can love others in incredible ways.
To My Single Rider Friends
If you’re a single rider right now, don’t let anyone make you feel that your status is a stigma. It’s an opportunity for you and for others to build community with all the different people who are riding this journey of life. My challenge to you today is to let others tug you into their circles.
Sometimes, it’s easy to develop a loner mentality, but whether we think we can sustain our own island or not, the truth is that we need others.
When I moved away from home to help some friends start their own business, I remember feeling very isolated. Each weekend, I tried church after church, looking for a place that had a young singles ministry. Time and time again, I was rebuffed. “We have a growing young marrieds class,” I was told. (Thanks, not helpful right now.) Or, “Our college ministry is booming.” (That’s great, but I’m not in college anymore.)
Feeling like I didn’t fit in could have made me withdraw, but instead, I became more determined. I did internet searches for a singles Bible study, and sure enough, I found one. It was led by three married couples who loved on us and invested in our lives, while also having a rich singles-led ministry team.
While married couples and families have a responsibility to welcome singles in need of community, single riders also have a responsibility to seek out and embrace relationships with others.
We need each other. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul craved time with his church families. He writes in his epistle to the Romans, “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Romans 1:11-12 ESV)
Whether Paul was single or married at one point in his life doesn’t matter. (Scholars disagree.) The point is that Christian community is essential to growing in one’s faith and encouraging one another.
When singles and marrieds both do their part, we’re all better for it.
If you’re a single rider right now, don’t let anyone make you feel that your status is a stigma. It’s an opportunity for you and for others.Tweet