A Bi­cy­cle for Bradley

A young boy’s sor­row turns to joy when he is granted a spe­cial wish

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Kindness Of Strangers - BY CAROLYN PAPE

WHEN OUR SON BRADLEY WAS TEN, the new bi­cy­cle he had re­ceived ear­lier that year was stolen. Own­ing a bike was a big deal to our chil­dren when they were lit­tle. They spent hours and hours, day af­ter day, on their bikes, rid­ing up and down the foot­path, and at the front of the house. We also rode to­gether as a fam­ily a lot. Bi­cy­cling was a great way to get the kids out of the house and into the fresh air with­out spend­ing any money.

Bradley had dis­cov­ered that his bike had been stolen from our back­yard in sub­ur­ban Camp­bell­town, South Aus­tralia, when he and his sis­ter went out­side for a morn­ing ride. He couldn’t be­lieve that some­one would do this. Strangely, none of the other bikes were touched and noth­ing else was miss­ing.

He got a large piece of card­board from his dad’s shed, painted a sign beg­ging for the bike to be re­turned, and tied the sign to the let­ter­box. The fol­low­ing morn­ing, when I went out to col­lect the mail, I found a white

Carolyn Pape works in ed­u­ca­tion and is the mother of three beau­ti­ful chil­dren. She has a Labrador and a cat that be­lieves he’s a dog. She en­joys keep­ing fit by do­ing yoga, pi­lates and run­ning.

en­ve­lope with the mag­i­cal words, “Buy your­self a new bike”. It took me a lit­tle while to regis­ter what it was in­side it. It was a $100 ban­knote.

We were very touched that some­one had the heart to do this. We’ve never been able to thank the per­son but we sus­pect that it may have been one of our won­der­ful neigh­bours. Bradley painted a big “Thank you” on the sign and we left it out­side for a cou­ple of weeks af­ter­wards in case it was some­one who drove down our street.

A de­lighted Bradley was able to buy a new bike. As the years went on, the bikes be­came big­ger and more ex­pen­sive but re­mained just as im­por­tant for those fam­ily bike rides. Now the kids have grown up and cars have re­placed their bikes. Bradley is 25. Some­times I miss the days when re­ceiv­ing a bi­cy­cle was the best thing in the world to them.

All these years later we are still grate­ful to that in­cred­i­bly kind stranger who granted Bradley’s wish. We were a young fam­ily with three lit­tle chil­dren and it meant a lot to us. We still talk about it and, even now, won­der who our bene­fac­tor was.

Share your story about a small act of kind­ness that made a huge im­pact. Turn to page 5 for de­tails on how to con­trib­ute and earn cash.

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