Good samaritan buys back stolen bike in time for MS fundraiser
Published in October, 2020
When Debby Rossman Retzer left Mott Children's Hospital where she works as a clinical care coordinator, she discovered that her bicycle had been stolen. She was devastated, because it meant she would not be able to participate in Bike MS Inside Out, a bike-a-thon to raise money for multiple sclerosis. Retzer has riden in the bike-a-thon for years to raise money to find a cure for the disease that struck her son four years ago.
Most stolen bikes are never recovered--but when Retzer wrote about the theft on the Ann Arbor Townie's Facebook page, Chad McAuley decided to take up the cause. He found the bike right around the virtual corner--the thief had advertised it on Facebook Marketplace.
He arranged a meeting, Retzer wrote, and asked, "Can I take it for a test ride?" Once "out of the sight of the seller, he checked the serial number that he had memorized the last 4. Yup, the right bike. They negotiated a bit, and Chad said 'I'm taking this bike ... I was stolen 2 days ago' More negotiations, and Chad gave the guy a $100 gift card ...The guy pleaded, saying 'I fell on hard times.' Chad responded 'everybody fell on hard times. If you had asked, I would have given you a job at my body shops.'
When Chad returned the bike, he told me the story, with his wife at his side. I tried to give a reward, but he adamantly refused, telling me to put it toward my MS 150 ride. Chad you are my hero. After dinner, I went for a ride around my neighborhood. I felt the same joy I remember as a child, "flying" down the driveway up north and falling in love with cycling! Words cannot express my gratitude to the Facebook community, especially in these insane times. I rode my "magic bike" home from work everyday after work, through this COVID-19 insanity, unless it was a thunderstorm. It's like meditation, while flying along the Huron River, and released my fear that "this [disease] could kill me or my son." Again, Chad McAuley of Michigan Premier Auto, you are my hero!
[Originally published in October, 2020.]
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