A Man Donates Bikes to Atone for Stealing One 37 Years Ago

Todd Stephenson says the theft has weighed on his conscience for years.

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Kids' Bikes

Photo by John Tornow

Here’s a heartwarming Christmas story from the CBC.

Nearly 40 years after he stole and ruined a bicycle as a 10-year-old boy, Burnaby, British Columbia resident Todd Stephenson has decided to donate 12 brand new bicycles to the Burnaby Christmas Bureau, which distributes gifts to low-income families and seniors.

Although Stephenson was just a boy when he stole the bicycle, the act has weighed heavily on his conscience ever since. He recalls the day 37 years ago when he was with some friends at a playground. They found a bike that wasn’t theirs, and played with it until it was broken.

Stephenson said the father of the child whose bike it was then came along, and to this day Stephenson still vividly remembers his reaction.

“The father came along and he was clearly very upset,” Stephenson told the CBC. “Very upset, rightly so. We had damaged his child’s bike, for no good reason.”

Now decades later, Stephenson still feels guilty about the childhood mistake.

“I felt badly for that and it becomes a theme in life. There are certain things we can’t undo after we do them.”

While he admitted that the donation of bicycles won’t make up for the past, he hopes it will at least make a few children happy this holiday season.

“I’ve been feeling very happy about this,” he told the CBC. “In fact there’s nothing I’ve done in recent memory that’s made me happier.”

Stephenson also went on to note that, although holiday giving is a wonderful practice, he thinks giving back should be an important part of every day of the year.

“The last few years have been very good to us and our family and I’m very grateful for that. That’s one of the things I’m trying to do now is practice active gratitude everyday,” he said.

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