The week two weeks ago was not the best for me, I had a small bike accident on the weekend and I had to spend a whole week lying in bed because of a bulging disc. Then on Tuesday, someone stole the bike I had bought for Maite. My bike was inside because my neighbor Diana was awesome enough to help me carry it into the house (I could barely walk without help) but Maite’s was chained to the fence outside right by the entrance. I had taken many detailed pictures 4 days before that because we wanted to sell it, but I forgot to put it online because of my accident. So the police came and I filed a report for the stolen bike, even when I thought I would never see it again, I wanted it to be noted because maybe we need a couple more cops making rounds in this area.
That night my friend called me; “Dude, you see the fat kid from across the street that does wheelies on his bike all the time? I’m 99% sure I just saw him riding YOUR bike”. For the record, I know who he was talking about, and I kinda knew the kid was a trouble kid, but I didn’t think he could be that dumb. I hesitated but didn’t call the cops because one, I didn’t see him myself, and two, I didn’t want to be the white adult calling the cops on the black 11 year old kid. I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
Today was the first day I could walk again without a cane since the accident, and I went for a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood as recommended by my physical therapist, and when I walked around the corner of 129th, this kid almost ran me over, he was riding the bike.
He stopped 10 ft away, saw me, jumped off the bike and gave it to one of his friends, and whispered something in his ear so the other kid took off on Lenox Ave. Then he casually walked back past me so I confronted him.
– “Hey, man, I think that was my bike.”
– “No, that’s not your bike!”
– “Bro, I’m telling you, it was parked in front of my house and someone took it.”
– “Nigga I don’t know what you’re talking about! You can’t see a bike that looks like yours and say that it’s yours, there are many bikes that look the same and shit.”
– “It doesn’t look like my bike, it IS my bike, I took pictures before it was stolen, do you wanna see them?”
– “Nah I’m good, leave me alone.”
– “Ok, can I see the bike? Can I take a look? I’m not even gonna touch it, I just wanna see it up close.”
– “I don’t know where my friend go. Why the fuck you following me?”
– “I’m not following you, I was going home. Right where the bike was parked? That’s where I live.”
– “Well I don’t give a shit.”
Then he walked back towards Lenox and I just kept walking towards my house. So there it was, an 11 year old kid giving me attitude after I caught him with my fucking bike, but what was I supposed to do? Smack him in the head until he gave it back? I thought of calling the cops, because this time I was sure it was my bike, but I decided to wait a couple of minutes because I was very angry at that moment.
When I got home his sister and her friend were sitting on the steps of my house, right next to where the bike had been parked. The girl is a little older, probably 14, and she saw me going in and out of the house with my cane the whole last week so when she saw me approaching she quickly stood up and apologized for being in the way; “I’m sorry… I see you’re feeling better?” – “I am, thank you! You have a good day” – “You too.”
So now I decided to let him keep the bike, for many reasons. One is that, if he keeps going where he’s going, he will have a criminal record at some point, so I want to give him the gift of not having one at such an early age (at least). But more importantly, I can see where the kid is coming from talking to me like that, I’ve never seen those kids’ parents, the two live alone if you ask me, I don’t know if he goes to school and I have no idea how he’s doing there if he goes, but I want to think I’m giving him an opportunity, a second chance (I know it’s too romantic, this might as well be his 5th chance for all I know, but still), maybe, just maybe he will be the one breaking that poverty cycle, maybe he will grow up and one day regret that he stole a bicycle from his neighbor, and maybe, there’s a tiny possibility that he will end up being a good person, doing something that he loves and having a family, and use himself as an example of what should not be done when you’re a kid, and buy a nice bicycle for his own kid and see the value of hard work, and feel happy to be able to afford little pleasures, like a bicycle ride around the neighborhood.
Love & Respect