When a thief stole Amanda Needham’s bike from the front of her home, she left a giant angry sign in its place as an expression of frustration. Though she was not expecting anything to come from the sign, she was surprised when it spurred several strangers to knock on her door.
Needham’s trusty bike was stolen last Saturday night while it was chained up in front of her home in Brooklyn. Heartbroken by the injustice, she left a note for the thief in bright yellow paint on a piece of cardboard eight feet wide.
The note read: “To the person who stole my bicycle. I hope you need it more than I do. It was $200 used, and I need it to get to work. I can’t afford another one. Next time, steal a hipster’s Peugeot. Or not steal! PS: Bring it back.”
“I felt a little foolish writing the sign,” Needham wrote in a blog post. “After all, if my husband and I had spent nearly as much time double securing my bicycle as I did writing the sign, I might not be in the situation. But I knew other people’s bicycles had been stolen in the neighborhood, and the least I could do was acknowledge what had happened. I left it up for seven days.”
A few days after hanging the sign, two young men knocked on Needham’s door with a blue teenager-sized mountain bike in hand. One of the gentlemen said that his own bike had also been stolen from the neighborhood, and he wanted to give Needham the replacement bike so she could get to work.
“I was flustered by the offer and tried to deflect, saying I really appreciated it, but wasn’t sure if I’d be able to use it. What was clear, however, was that it wasn’t about the bicycle, it was about their desire to help. I accepted, touched by the humanity of the gesture,” says Needham.
A few more days later, a middle-aged woman stopped by and said that she worked in the neighborhood, saw the sign, and had made her husband drive the car around the block for a second time so she could knock on Needham’s door and ask her what kind of bicycle she needed.