Theft might not be considered one of the most serious crimes, but it’s definitely the most thoughtless.
Our most valued possessions are often the most expensive, and the ones that thieves will target – like cell phones that allow us to keep in touch with our loved ones, cars that we spent years saving up for, and jewelry from members of the family who have long since passed away.
Most of us can still get by after something has been stolen from us.
For 31-year-old Matthew Wondra, however, when his cherished bike was stolen, he was left feeling isolated and alone.
Matthew has a rare genetic disease known as Lowe Syndrome. As a result, he has brain abnormalities, eye problems and weak muscle tone.
Not only was Matthew’s bike essential for him to get around, but it also meant a whole lot to him.
His dad, who had passed away unexpectedly the September before, had gifted Matthew the bike as a present.
Matthew’s mom, Terri Wondra, told KSDK that she was “definitely angry” when she discovered that Matthew’s bike had been stolen, especially as Matthew didn’t understand what had happened. She recalled:
“The day his bike was taken, he kept looking out, saying, ‘mom, where’s my bike’.”
Matthew’s family rallied around him as best as they could, and his sister posted on Facebook about the lost bike.
She planned to set up a fundraiser, too, but never got round to it.
Little did anyone know that a certain person would find the post on a Granite City, Illinois, community Facebook page – and buy Matthew’s bike for him.
Venessa Duckett, a complete stranger to Matthew, knew that she couldn’t “do nothing” after reading the post.
“It just seemed like the right thing to do.”
Venessa, who has two kids, a 4-year-old and the other in college, knows how important a bike can be for giving a youngster their independence.
She said that her decision to buy a new bike for Matthew was her way of “paying it back”, explaining:
“This town, when I grew up there was a lot of generous people. There was times when I didn’t have shoes or a coat and people in this town helped me out and I didn’t think of it so much as paying something forward but paying it back.”
Mathew’s bike was different from the rest, as it had two wheels at the back instead of one. Venessa needed a little help from local company Breese Bikes to put it together.
The company’s owner, Patrick Breese, had been assembling bikes since he was a little kid, and offered to assemble her bike for free.
Despite showing remarkable kindness, Patrick didn’t want to take any credit.
“His bike got taken. Somebody stole his bike in the trailer park and that’s his transportation.”
Once the bike was assembled, it was finally time for Venessa to deliver it herself to Matthew’s house.
She arrived and knocked on the door, asking Matthew to come out to the parking lot.
The special moment wasn’t recorded, but a single photograph of Matthew sums up his excitement to see the bike in the back of Venessa’s SUV.
Matthew’s mom, Terri, was just as surprised as her son. She recalled:
“I was in tears. I didn’t know what to say. She’s got a big heart. A caring heart.”
Imagine if we were all as kind-hearted as Venessa. The world would certainly be a happier place.
You can watch video interviews with Matthew, his mom, and Venessa and Patrick just below.
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