A few weeks ago, my 9-year-old son had his bike stolen from school. It was a Trek that he had received from his grandparents for Christmas.
He was heartbroken ... well, once it sunk in.
Bless his heart, he didn't even realize it had been stolen. He walked himself home from school carrying his helmet. When I asked him where his bike was, he just looked dumbfounded and explained that he went outside to the bike rack where he'd locked it up and only found his helmet. He wasn't sure what had happened and asked if I had come and gotten it or someone had borrowed it.
I looked at him and said, "Buddy! I think someone stole it."
He was just in shock after that.
I packed everyone in the car and drove over to the school. I looked around the bike racks and found nothing. There are no outside cameras, I checked with the school, and so there would be no video of what happened. I went back to the car and asked if he was sure he'd locked it up. It was one of those cheaper locks where you pick a four digit number code, but then again I didn't think I needed to buy a heavy duty lock while my kids were in grade school and parking their bikes on school property. He said that he had locked it, though, and even told me what he had changed the numbers to. I'm not sure it mattered, because either way it was stolen.
I called the police and filed a report. They wanted to come and get a statement from us so we waited for an officer in our van parked outside the school and next to the bike racks. My son pulled his knees up to his face and sobbed.
It finally sunk in.
I felt the rage well up inside me. It's one thing to know that bad things happen, to even have them happen to you, but it's another to see bad things happen to your kids or any kids for that matter.
I reassured him that he did everything right and that, sadly, sometimes things like this just happen.
We gave our statement to the police officer and handed over the bike's serial number. The officer was great and told us to check back, because sometimes bikes just turn up. But with the bike description and the facts on how it had been stolen, it became apparent it would be less likely to find this one.
I sent out a Facebook post with all the details of the bike in hopes that people would be on the look out. Everyone was amazing. So many people reached out to us. I shared all the condolences and responses with my son, who was also touched. We had so many people offer to buy him a new bike or donate money - people who didn't even know us. It was truly amazing. We didn't need a new bike, though, we just wanted our bike to not be stolen.
I think it resonated with so many people because we've all been there. Almost everyone has experienced having something stolen and how that feels. When it happens to kids, it becomes more of a violation because, well, kids shouldn't have to see the world how we see it. Broken and sad.
I want my son to continue to live in a world where when something goes missing, he immediately thinks someone just borrowed it because no one would take something that doesn't belong to them. That's just crazy!
Anyway, thank you to everyone who reached out and for all of the offers. You are all amazing and your generosity served its purpose: To help us feel connected and that we are not alone. As for the bike, we have a backup. It's his smaller bike that he had before this one but it will do the job until he can get a new one. There are lots of children who don't have any bikes, let alone back-up bikes, so we are very lucky.
I hope that is what we take away from this. Gratitude for what we DO have and for all of the good there is still out there.
Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.