November 12, 2013

Replacement Bikes Come to S/he Who Swears (or Is Cute)

First I heard about Olgi Freyre. The 19-year-old Chicagoan had her $700 KHS Flite 223 stolen from outside the art supply store where she works 40 hours a week while going to DePaul University part-time. More as an outlet for rage than an appeal for sympathy, Freyre penned what the Huffington Post dubbed a "profanity-laced" note to the thief and posted it at the scene. "To the piece of shit that stole my bike from this bike rack," it began. (HuffPo carried an uncensored photograph of the note. Give it a read.)

Freyre's note went viral, and many who heard her story wanted to help. A man named Bob Curry met Freyre at a bike shop—he brought his daughter along—and bought her a new set of wheels.

Then, just as I was gearing up to do a post about Freyre, I learned that Atticus Seng, subject of a mid-October post, has also been the recipient of a replacement ride. As shown below, when Fresno high schoolers heard that the 9-year-old had had his bike stolen for a second time, they went classroom to classroom collecting money to buy him a new one. Seng was moved by the gesture: "I almost cried," he admits on camera. "I really did."
You can see why communities rallied around Seng and Freyre, an innocent, twice-wronged kid and a, to quote Freyre's note, "person who dedicates her time to making her life better rather than going around stealing shit." We're not all so irresistibly sympathetic, though, we victims of bike theft. And relying on Good Samaritans to replace stolen bikes is no way to address the root of the problem.

It's worth noting that in both of the cases discussed here the recipients of the replacement bikes plan to repay the kindness with good deeds of their own. Freyre hopes to organize a fundraiser or bike drive and the Sengs have expressed their intent to donate a sum of money equal to the price of Atticus's bike to Off the Front, a charity that works to provide underprivileged children in Fresno with bicycles.   

No comments:

Post a Comment