Victoria cyclist launches fundraiser after learning new bike was stolen from someone else
VICTORIA -- Joe was relishing the second-hand bike he bought through social media.
“It’s been an awesome bike,” he smiles. “The sky’s the limit.”
When he wasn’t cycling to school, Joe was exploring the city or planning up-island adventures.
“We had a pretty good year,” he laughs.
Joe laughs because of what happened after he’d been riding the bike for a year. He stopped at the store one day and started getting funny looks from a stranger.
“He’s like, ‘I think that might be my bike,’” Joe recalls the man telling him. “‘It was stolen a couple years ago and that might be my bike.’”
Actually, Fritz was almost certain it was his bike.
“I was very surprised,” Fritz says. “It was a really bizarre moment for both of us.”
“Everything flashed before my eyes,” Joe sighs. “I’m like, you’ve got to be kidding me.”
They exchanged contact information and Joe rode off to do some digging. They confirmed — through serial numbers — that the bike was Fritz’s. Then, through receipts, the pair confirmed that the person that Joe purchased the bike from wasn’t the thief.
But now what?
“It was either Fritz was out of a bike,” Joe says. “[Or] it was me out of a bike.”
Neither could afford to buy another one. So, Joe decided to keep the bike, but also help the stranger who’d endured a theft and had gone for two years without his primary mode of transportation.
“I’m calling it the Bike Fundraising Blitz for Fritz!” Joe says in the narration for a video he created to raise awareness about the project.
The only problem was, Fritz didn’t feel completely comfortable with that.
“I’m more reserved,” Fritz said. “It was a challenging time for everyone, being COVID.”
The aspiring paramedic finally agreed to Joe’s plan with one condition — split the proceeds with the Black Health Alliance, a charity that supports the well being of Canada’s Black communities.
“I’m more a ‘do for others’ than do for me kind of person,” Fritz explains.
“I’m sort of a ‘go big or go home’ sort of person, so I ran with it,” Joe says. “Once you start running there’s no turning back.”
Joe says he’s spent more than 40 hours creating the promotional video and facilitating the fundraiser.
So far, the online fundraiser is at almost 40 per cent of its goal.
But — through this process — more than 100 per cent of the power of kindness has been realized.
“The easiest thing would have been to be selfish and think of myself,” Joe admits. “It’s just nice to do something good.”
“You can always find some common ground,” Fritz smiles. “And work together.”