A Penticton family is paying it forward after total strangers came together to replace their young children’s bikes that were stolen during a walk in the trails near Penticton Avenue on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1.
Dawn Jones and her husband were on their daily walk, up near the water treatment plant on Penticton Avenue when they met a distraught family who had just noticed their kids’ bikes stolen in the few minutes they walked away from them.
Originally, the kids, ages two and four, were on their bikes, a strider bike and mountain bike, while mom and dad walked. But the kids got tired of biking so they tucked the two small bikes behind a tree and walked for five to 10 minutes so the kids could play in the snow, said Jones.
When the family came back, the bikes were gone.
Jones and her husband walked up just as they discovered the bikes missing.
“The parents couldn’t believe it. They were gone from the bikes for only five minutes and they were stolen. How did someone walk by in that time, see the bikes and take them? My heart just goes out to the two little kids who probably got the bikes for Christmas and now they’re gone,” said Jones who took to the Facebook page Penticton locals helping locals.
Jones got their name and phone number and promised to call them if she heard anything or saw the bikes for sale on any online selling sites.
“This young couple didn’t ask for anything, they just looked so darn sad as all they were doing was taking their young kids out for some fresh air fun.”
What happened next is an example of the kind of caring community Penticton is. Donations came pouring in to replace the stolen bikes.
“Through the kindness of total strangers I was able to go to Canadian Tire and buy new bikes for these wee little kids,” Jones posted to Facebook.
“I honestly only posted the story to prevent someone from buying the stolen bikes,” said Jones. “I never thought it would turn out the way it did.”
Jones gave the bikes to the small children this weekend.
“Their happy little faces say it all,” she said about giving the kids new bikes.
The parents then took to Facebook to thank all the strangers who came together to help.
“To the generous people of Penticton who donated towards my children’s bikes, thank you. On New Year’s day my wife, four-year-old son and two-year-old daughter decided to go for a walk down memory lane in the area we had purchased our first home (at the Bridgewater subdivision),” the dad wrote in a Facebook post.
“We wanted to show the kids our first home and the waterfall at the end of the walking trail. On our way back from the falls we discovered our children’s bikes had been stolen. It was certainly heartbreaking as the bikes were gifts and meant a lot to us.
“We were not expecting new bikes for the kids the very next day but that’s exactly what happened. We are very grateful and appreciative. My kids have been riding the bikes around the house all evening. You all transformed a negative moment in our lives into a very positive one.”
But this feel-good story doesn’t end there.
The stolen bikes were found and turned into the police, Jones told the Western News.
“The mom emailed me today asking if I wanted the bikes back to return them to Canadian Tire or she could find a needy family to donate to,” said Jones.
“Lana (the mom) used to work with high-risk families so she knows a lot of needy children. I told her to please donate. It’s still Christmas time and there’s probably lots of needy children out there. She’s going to find a family and give them the bikes. So the kindness of Penticton will get paid forward.”