Teri’s Notebook: Carson City community rallies around man who had bike stolen
Randy Gaa was leaving the Cracker Box on Wednesday when he saw a man rummaging around behind the restaurant. Gaa watched as the man emerged and rode away on an orange BMX bicycle.
“I wasn’t sure if it was his or not so I ran inside and asked if anyone there rode a bike to work,” Gaa recounted.
Turns out, it belonged to line cook Luis Resendiz, 32, who ran outside to confront the thief.
“By the time I got out there, he was gone,” Resendiz said. “It was my only form of transportation. My heart just dropped. I didn’t even know where to go to start looking. I couldn’t do anything.”
But Gaa mobilized. He posted on social media, asking the community for help.
“If I have to, I’m going to buy this kid a bike,” he wrote. “I’m not letting this one just slip though the cracks. But if it’s at all possible I’d like to try to find a bike that someone’s not using and arrange to get it to the line cook at The Cracker Box.”
Shortly afterward, he received a reply from Jim Phalan, owner of the Fox BrewPub. Phalan explained he had a bike at Vital Signs he had planned to customize for his business.
Instead, he offered it up to Resendiz.
“I understand and can relate the need for help,” said Phalan, who’s currently living in Mexico with his wife and children. “It seemed like the right thing to do, and it felt good. There was really no other reason than that.”
Gaa jumped on the offer.
“I was so stoked,” Gaa said. “It was less than five minutes from the time I made my post to the time Jim responded. That was awesome.”
Gaa called Resendiz to tell him the good news.
“When he told me somebody donated a bike, that made me feel like I don’t deserve it,” Resendiz said. “It’s too much. It was too much for him just to come inside and tell me, then to go out and get me a bike, I just can’t believe it. This community just made me feel great.”
Cracker Box owner Jerry Massad sent an email saying he’s overseas but will thank everyone when he returns.
Phalan got in touch with Mike and Hannah McIntosh, owners of Vital Signs, and let them in on the plan.
Mike got the bike and assembled it right away.
“My bike shop experience as a teen came through again,” Mike said.
By Thursday, the bike was ready to go. So Gaa drove Resendiz to the shop to pick up the cruiser bike.
“Oh yeah, that’s awesome,” Resendiz reacted upon first seeing the black bike with red accents. “Thank you so much. I appreciate it.”
He said it’s even better than the one that was stolen.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s an upgrade from what I was riding,” he said. “It’s so nice. I like everything on it — the rack, the basket, the cup holder — I love it all.”
More than just arranging the donation, Gaa came with his own gift as well: A bike lock.
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at email@example.com.