A Message to the Boy Who Stole my Bicycle

Robin Greenfield on a bicycle side by side with kids on bike.
A Fresh PerspectiveFloridaPersonal
Hello dear friends,
My bicycle was just stolen right in front of me in Gulfport, Florida (yes another bicycle stolen). This is a message to the boy who took it:
I do not harbor any negative feelings for you. We all make mistakes and this was just a mistake that you have made. I also made mistakes when I was young and even as an adult today. The mistake can easily be fixed.
If there is a goal or dream that you have in life I’d like to discuss it with you and see if I can help you to achieve it. There is a much bigger opportunity here than this bicycle. Honestly, you could have just made the best mistake in your life so far by taking my bicycle! Please contact me. I will not involve the police. I will greet you with kindness and joy only and I would like to be your friend. And I’d love to take you out to your favorite restaurant for lunch. I look forward to meeting you new friend!
I am here for you to help you in life.
(If you prefer you can also simply return it to the cafe where you took it from and ask them to contact me. But I’d still like to meet you!)
A few details:
The bike was taken at 4:00 PM today (Saturday May 8th) in front of Sumitra Cafe in Gulfport. I was sitting just 5 feet from it at a table on my computer and saw the boy bike away with it. I was just 4 feet from catching up to him running barefoot down the street. He looked like a very nice boy, about 14 year old. If you see the boy or the bicycle, please be very, very kind and please let them know that I would like to meet him!
A second message to the boy who stole my bicycle 05/10/2021:
I watched you as you pedaled away on my bike faster than I could run after you. I could see that you are a good human. I feel that you are not a thief. You are a boy becoming a man who is in a confusing time.
I want to say again that I am here for you. Whether or not you bring the bicycle back I would like to be your friend and support you in life. But you know this already if you have seen my last message.
Today I want to express some gratefulness. Of course I never would have chosen for you to take my bike. It is one of my few possessions and one that is quite important to me. It is part of my way of life. But you have not knowingly given me a gift. You have given me an opportunity to practice non-attachment. You have reminded me that nothing is permanent, including myself. You have reminded me that I own nothing and that nothing owns me. I have gotten away from these important elements of my being in the last few months and you have given me the opportunity to re-align myself.
I have chosen to see this moment as a sign. It is a sign that I must follow my yearning and intuition to shed what does not serve myself and the mission to the highest degree. It is a sign that I must remain light both in material possessions and in thinking. I must remain light so that I can be the light.
You have come into my life at the right moment to steer me down the right course. I have been struggling with what to do in order to be the most effective in my mission and perhaps you were sent to me to help me to chose the right path.
The moment I saw you get beyond my reach I felt lighter and happier. I feel it today and I will hold it with me. Thank you for this.
I would still like to meet you. I have also chosen to use this opportunity to spread goodness. I believe bad deeds can not drive out bad deeds. Only good deeds can do that. So I have chosen to gift bicycles to youth in our community who would be elated to have one and who would greatly benefit. I would like you to be there with me to gift these bicycles to them. You are in the right place and the right moment. Take this opportunity please.
Update 05/27/2021

I have not found the bicycle and I have not found the boy who took it.
I was so much hoping to meet him and to get to speak to him. I tried and I was not able to find him though.
Still, much good will come from my bike being stolen.I have decided to respond by practicing something that Martin Luther King Jr. lived by. He believed that hate cannot drive out hate and that only love can do that. For many hate and love are seen as emotions and feelings that we have inside of us. But we can also act in hate or love.
I believe that bad deeds can not drive out bad deeds. Only good deeds can do that.To act on love, I am gifting bicycles to youth in St. Pete, who live in the same city as this boy who took my bicycle.
I have no thoughts of punishment, getting even or anything of that sort. I believe in restorative justice. I do not believe in our largely corrupt and broken “law enforcement” system.I am excited to work with the St. Pete Bike Co-op. They are an incredible organization that builds bicycles, primarily from donated and secondhand bikes and parts, to provide them low cost or free to those who really need bicycles. They teach basic bicycle maintenance and safety and are an essential hub for helping to get people on bikes and keep them riding.
Together we are going to provide at least 10 bikes to youth in St. Pete as well as provide a bicycle maintenance workshop to all of the recipients. If you’d like to contribute, you can make a donation directly to St. Pete Bike Co-op or if you are local you can donate your bicycles to them to be repurposed and redistributed!I’m wishing you the strength to act with compassion and kindness in the challenges you come across.

Update 11/07/2021
Back in May my bicycle was stolen by a boy in Saint Pete, Florida. I saw him take it, but he was faster on my bike than I was on my bare feet sprinting down the street. I searched for him that week but did not find him. I wanted to meet him and see if I could be a friend and positive influence in his life. I know this boy is not a thief. He is a boy.
It hurt to have my bike stolen. I had worked for it and had just gotten it a couple months prior. I had just settled into the bike, ready for a long ride of freedom. Part of me felt like he took that freedom away from me. Part of me felt like he gave me freedom. I was trying to break free from some patterns that I had dug myself into. Biking away was my plan for breaking the patterns. But he gave me a better opportunity… I am in a much better place now and this exchange with the boy played a large role in this. Thank you boy. I still hope to meet you one day and learn your name and who you are.
I don’t believe that police would have made things better for anyone. I believe in restorative justice. So instead of punishment that would send negative ripples into his and his peers life I gifted bicycles to ten children in his community. I believe Bad deeds can not drive out bad deeds. Only good deeds can do that.
These bicycles will brighten up these children’s lives and encourage them to do good deeds for others in their community. Joy is contagious. This joy may even reach that boy who I’ve never met. Perhaps I have brought some joy into his life that will encourage him make better choices.
Imagine how different our communities would be if we all practiced kindness, compassion and understanding. We can’t control others actions, but we can control our reactions to them. This is my message to you today.
Thanks to donations from some of you, I partnered with St. Pete Bike Co-op to restore quality used bikes and give them to children, keeping all of the funds in the community, rather than supporting big corporations (we gave each child a lock and helmet too). We also provided basic bicycle maintenance and safety education and I will continue to partner with them to provide this for the community.
Act with love,

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