Most people have had something stolen at one point or another. You feel violated, angry and sometimes maybe a little annoyed that you weren’t more careful. When Brooklynite Amanda Needham’s bike was stolen she decided to channel that anger—in the form of a very large cardboard sign.
She recently wrote about this experience in an essay for the Washington Post (which you should definitely go read).
She says she crafted an 8-by-3 foot sign using yellow paint that read:
“To the person who stole my bicycle. I hope you need it more than I do. It was $200 used, and I need it to get to work. I can’t afford another one. Next time, steal a hipster’s Peugeot. Or not steal! PS: Bring it back.”
The original bike never came back. But what followed was a testament to universal human kindness, regardless of race, age or gender. In a time where we’re always reading bad news, it’s nice that Needham was able to share a truly good news story with us all!
A few days after she hung the sign, two young African-American men appeared at her door with a blue bike made for a teenager. The man said he had a bike stolen once so he wanted to give her his spare bike. It didn’t quite fit her but she kept it, touched by their willingness to reach out to a total stranger.
Her husband suggested taking the sign down, but Needham insisted on leaving it up for a week. A few days later, a middle-aged Hispanic woman stopped by to ask her what kind of bike it was. Though the woman didn’t know much about bikes, she told Needham if she found one she would bring it to her.
A few minutes later, an older gentleman rang the bell. He was an art dealer by the name of Steve Powers. He offered to buy the sign for the exact price of $200. Powers had posted a photo of the sign on Instagram and soon enough a British antiques dealer named Robert Young offered to buy the sign and split the cost with Powers.
She gladly accepted the offer. There was only one thing still bugging her: she still had the blue teen bike. She posted a photo of it on Instagram, calling it #karmacycle and handed it over to local bike shop Court Bikes so they could spruce it up and give it to someone who actually needs it.
“I was also part of a wave of goodness that felt beautiful and real and inspiring. I realized I didn’t want it to just stop with me,” Needham wrote in the Washington Post.