By LARRY VAUGHT
My grandson wanted to rent a bike to ride Friday at Tybee Island, which seemed simple enough. However, the bike rental shops closest to where he was staying didn’t have one the right size for an 8-year-old boy.
A quick Google search brought up another business — Tybee Island Bike Rentals. Not only did it have the bikes my grandson and son needed, but the owner said he would deliver to where I was staying, bring a helmet for my grandson (and son if he had wanted one) along with a lock set to whatever combination they wanted.
If that wasn’t enough, his rental race was lower than the two downtown rental businesses.
Just that service would have made for a nice travel story, but it gets better. The owner, David Rulon, and his wife got to our rental property about 15 minutes after my phone call. Rulon immediately noticed my son’s UK hat and mentioned he had a friend who had a son playing football at Kentucky.
“He has not played a lot yet, so you probably won’t know him,” Rulon said. “His name is Fitzgerald.”
I immediately knew it had to be 6-6, 285-pound junior defensive lineman Abule Abadi-Fitzgerald from Lakeland, Fla. I asked Rulon if he meant Steve Fitzgerald’s son and Rulon couldn’t believe I knew his friend.
“My dad coached basketball for 20 years at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Ga., and his dad was on the faculty there at the same time,” Steve Fitzgerald said. “They were best friends and have stayed that way. Me and David grew up together on Lookout Mountain.
“He is a decent amount younger than me but we are like family in many ways. He’s not yet been to Kentucky to see Abule play but I imagine this year if all goes well his father will for sure come up and maybe David.
Steve Fitzgerald has not been to Tybee Island yet.
“I have been wanting to come. David is always posting some beautiful pictures but with our family getting everybody together is not easy,” Steve Fitzgerald said.
That’s because Abule has seven brothers and sisters — and Steve is the high school coach at Victory Christian.
“I didn’t schedule a post Christmas tournament this season so I can get to the bowl game. I had to miss the last one but that won’t be the case this year,” Steve Fitzgerald said.
But what are the odds of a Kentucky sportswriter renting a bicycle on Tybee Island from a man who happens to be friends with the father of a UK defensive lineman?
“What a small world,” Steve Fitzgerald said.