Giving thanks and giving away a bike this thanksgiving

_mg_5713_webTrent Ernst, Editor

Being the victim of theft is never the most fun, but when you’re just a kid, it’s even worse.

Add to that being a recent evacuee from Fort MacMurray’s Wildfire, where your house and all your possessions have burned down, it is heartbreaking.

That’s what happened to Maddox Traverse, grandson of Melinda Duck. “My daughter and grandson spent the majority of the summer here, because they lost their home in Fort Mac,” says Duck. “The bike was a gift to him to begin with from someone from town, because they showed up here with the clothes on their back. They didn’t have anything.”

When Maddox and family went back to Fort Mac, he left his bike at Grandma’s, because they only had the truck to go back.

Unfortunately, one day while Duck and her husband were away, someone grabbed the bike. “It was kinda heartbreaking,” she says. “You steal from a child who just lost his home….” She trails off.

The story, however, has a happy ending. “Several days later we were out doing some yardwork, and I saw a flash of something red along the bear path,” says Duck. “I went for a walk and there was his bike. I guess someone took a joyride and tossed it in the woods. It was a rampant thing with kid’s bikes being stolen around the time.”

Normally, that’s where the story would end, but between the time the bike was stolen and the time it was recovered, an unknown good Samaritan sent Duck a gift certificate from Ace Hardware for a new bike.

Duck’s husband grabbed the mail on his way out of town for a couple weeks. “He got back and he handed me an envelope, and when I opened it up, it was just a note and a gift certificate from someone from town. It had no name. It broke my heart. It was the most thoughtful, selfless thing I’d seen. I sat and cried.”

It was an amazing gesture, but Maddox’s bike had been found. “I said to Jody it wouldn’t be fair to purchase a bike from Maddox because he has one, so we thought about what we could do with this gift certificate that would pay tribute to the person who did this?”

So with Maddox and mom returning to Tumbler Ridge for thanksgiving, the family hit on a plan: give the certificate away. “We were thinking about just getting the bike and bringing it to the school to give away, but we didn’t want to limit the age. As of right now, we can go from a two year old to a ten year old, thanks to Ace Hardware. The gift certificate was for $120. I asked the lady there what size bike could this purchase. I told her the story, and she said because we were doing this, so we didn’t discriminate, any bike they had in stock, they would cover the remainder.”

On Saturday, Maddox and family will be going up to Ace Hardware with the names of all who have entered in a hat. “We’ll take all the names up to the store, and he’ll make the draw, and he’ll take the bike and deliver it to the kid that day,” says Duck. “If they don’t have it in stock, we’ll just put the certificate in a card and deliver it, and they’ll call when the bike comes in.”

Duck says spreading the love around is important at times like this. “Try to explain to a four-year-old that money is tough, while all their friends have bikes,” she says. “That’s why we’re doing it on thanksgiving. What a perfect time. Or maybe mom will put it away for Christmas.”

Duck says the response has been tremendous. “A lot of people have just been saying how nice they thought it was, but there’s about thirty people who’ve entered.”

She hopes that anyone with kids that don’t have a bike will enter before the draw on Saturday, by commenting on the post in the Tumbler Ridge Buy and Sell Facebook page.