Amanda Gotham was devastated after her only means of transportation to work was stolen, the thief only leaving behind the bike’s lock and front wheel.
Instead of complaining about her missing bike or even calling the police — because there really wasn’t much they could do — Gotham decided to leave a note.
Well, an eight-foot cardboard sign to be exact with a message to the thief written across in yellow paint.
Her sign read: “To the person who stole my bike I hope you need it more than me. It was $200 used and I need it to get to work. I can’t afford another one. Next time, steal a hipsters Peugeot. Or not steal! P.S. bring it back!”
“I felt a little foolish writing the sign. After all, if I had spent nearly as much time double securing my bicycle, I may not be in the situation,” Gotham wrote on her blog. “But I knew other people who had bicycles stolen in the neighborhood, and the least I could do was acknowledge what had happened. I left it up for seven days.”
No matter how foolish she felt at the time, Gotham was not prepared for what happened next in response to her sign.
She received the first knock on her door a few days later, and she opened it to two young African-American men standing outside. “One of them was carrying a blue teenage-boy sized mountain bicycle,” Gotham wrote.
“Are you the one who got your bike stolen?” one of the boys, Michael, asked. “I had that happen to me as well, and I had this bike lying around, so I figured you might be able to use it.”
Gotham said that she was “flustered by the offer” and didn’t know if she could use the bike no matter how much she appreciated the kindness.
“What was clear, however, was that it wasn’t about the bicycle, it was about their honest desire to help,” she wrote. “I accepted, touched by the humanity of the gesture.”
A few days later, a middle-aged Hispanic woman appeared on Gotham’s doorstep to ask what kind of bike she needed. Gotham at that point had signed up for the CitiBike program which she could use for now.
“I told her what mattered most was that she stopped. I thanked her again,” Gotham wrote, to which the woman responded with a hug.
As she was walking back up her stairs, Gotham’s doorbell rang again. The man at the door asked about her sign and said that he felt that he should do something to help. She told him about the bike and hug and “what mattered most was that people cared.”
“Well I posted a picture on Instagram, and a few of us started talking, and I was wondering if I could buy the sign off of you for $200?” the man asked. He explained that he is an art dealer and saw craftsmanship in her sign.
Gotham sold him the sign and took the blue bike to a local bicycle store called Court Cycles where the owner, JoAnne Nicolosi, helped her fix up the bike and they set it up outside her shop to help find it a good home at the end of March.
“Any local who needs a bike should share a good deed they’ve done or been inspired by with #KarmaCycle and they’ll be in the running.”
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