A three-time cancer survivor's specially modified bike was stolen in Washington state, but after a homeless man heard the story, he made it his mission to get the bike back to its rightful owner.
Now the victims are grateful for the stranger's efforts.
Shannon Loys said after meeting the homeless man, whom she knows as Keith, she fully believes he was not the person who stole the bike.
She said it shows there are two sides to every picture.
Her husband’s bike was stolen about a week ago from their home in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood. Whoever did it jumped over their fence.
“I was angry,” Loys said.
What the thief didn't know, Loys put into a flyer.
“Dear steaming pile of garbage bike thief,” it read. “That bike you stole belongs to my sweet husband, a three-time cancer survivor. It was specially modified for his physical needs.”
Her husband's cancer and surgery left him with one leg shorter than the other and he needs special shoes – and bike parts.
“(The modification) helps with the rotation of his knee, which is at a different physical point than his other leg,” Loys said. She said they had little hope of ever getting the bike back.
But a couple of days ago, she got a call from a customer leaving the Ballard Fred Meyer. Loys said a homeless man had stopped that customer.
“He just seemed really passionate about stopping her and asking her to call the number of my flyer,” Loys said.
It took Loys several stops at different encampments, but she managed to find him at a small encampment near at Ninth Avenue and Leary Way.
“And he said, 'Is it your bike?' And I said, 'It's my flyer!'” Loys said.
“He said he found it, that he thinks the thief abandoned it after seeing the flyer,” she said.
The bike was in pieces but still all there.
“I was also just so overwhelmed with gratitude and confused and had so many questions, but I didn't ask any of them in the moment,” Loys said. “Surreal is the only word I can think of for it.”
She said it sheds light, too, on those who are homeless.
“It’s complicated. It kind of challenges conceptions in the example of Kevin feeling so dedicated to getting the bike back. But it sounds like it was also a homeless person who stole it,” Loys said. “People are complicated, and homeless people are just as complicated."
Data from the Seattle Police Department shows there were 1,080 reported bike thefts in 2017.
Bicycles are commonly recovered from homeless camps by the city's navigation team. The team reminds owners to make sure the bikes are registered; otherwise, they have no way to return them.