There’s been a lot of bad news lately. But there’s also good news too. A Utah teen received a gift from a stranger (from KSL, with video) who wanted to replace his stolen bicycle.
I too learned the hard way to lock up my bike. I lost two bikes in my home town – both were found bent and broken (with no pieces missing, just destroyed) in a field not far from my house. Mine were most likely stolen by other kids who just thought that it was a fun thing to do to the autistic kid who lived down the street.
Like A.J, the bicycle represented freedom. You didn’t need a destination to ride a bike. You didn’t need a friend to go with you. And you could be anywhere you wanted to go, so long as you were willing to move your legs enough! It was the one time when my body worked in harmony with my desires – it was natural to ride the bike. Today, I don’t ride the bike as much as I should, but ride the motorcycle instead – for exactly the same reasons.
Someone who is used to having freedom and being in touch with their bodies probably doesn’t understand how freeing the bike can be. I know that many other autistic people – I see how well and careful my wife is with her large scooter. She (like me) is significantly more careful with it than most people are with their motorcycles. It’s more than two wheels and an engine, it’s a chance to enjoy being in the world. That’s not something we always get to do.
So I can relate to what this teen must have felt when he found his bike missing. Like his family, mine must have been equally baffled when they discovered my bike missing, something I was ashamed to tell them happened (because of course I was told to take good care of it – and saw it as a personal failing that some criminal youth decided to be nasty). I’m glad he got a new one, and I hope that the family can keep this one from being stolen (and I hope they catch the thieves that stole the last one). Fortunately my family was always able to replace my bike – they weren’t rich, but mom always found something for me and I always ended up with something I was really happy to have. I’m glad A.J. can enjoy his rides again! I know how enjoyable a simple bike ride can be.
All that said, wouldn’t it be nice if we could just be left alone when we have enjoyment? Hopefully A.J. gets that chance now.