After spending weeks riding his new, and first, bicycle inside the restricted confines of his Junction-area home, five-year-old River Majster woke up last Saturday with an ear-to-ear smile. The unseasonably warm temperatures may have scuttled the plans of winter sports fanatics, but it meant River would finally be able to spin his wheels outdoors, engaging in a cherished rite of passage with his beloved Christmas gift.
With his younger brother and father, Greg, in tow, River was in his glory as he pedaled.
“This was his first time taking it out,” his dad explained. “He was so excited.”
River’s excitement would end in a stream of tears when his bike was stolen as the trio frequented Perth Square Park near Dupont Street and Symington Avenue.
“I thought nobody is going to take a kid’s bike,” Greg said.
But that’s exactly what somebody did as River played with his father and brother.
“He was obviously crushed,” Greg added. “He was very, very disappointed that the bike was gone. He just got the bike for Christmas too.”
“We said ‘don’t worry we’ll get you another bike.’ Really it isn’t about the bicycle itself, because he can have another bike. It’s really about showing respect for other peoples’ property.”
But River was adamant that he wanted his bike back, and when he got home that day he immediately began drawing pictures of it to post around the neighbourhood.
His father has posted some of them near the playground in hopes that the bike will be returned. He’s even offered a small reward.
“I don’t want to shame anybody,” Greg adds. “I don’t know what their situation is. I’m even willing to give a $20 reward for bringing it back, no questions asked. Just for doing the right thing.”
He’s also tried to shield River from an innocence-shattering situation.
“I try to keep the innocence in him as much as possible,” he adds, “And I said ‘somebody must have mistaken the fact that it wasn’t left for them to take.'”
“I basically tried to explain to him that sometimes people don’t know any better. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to get it back. We are going to try to get it back. And that’s why he made all the posters.”
With his parents’ permission, River weighed in on the situation.
“I left my bike behind and my bike was gone,” he said.
“Can you please give it back?”
His family hopes someone will come forward and return the bike, but even if that doesn’t happen his dad is optimistic something positive can be salvaged from the situation.
“I tried to have a learning experience with River about this and say, ‘You can get another bike’ just be happy that everything is good and we have each other.”