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No Choice But Courage

Sometimes we’re forced to face things that are dangerous, painful and scary. All we can do is take a deep breath, square our shoulders, and lean in.

Violet—my bike—and I made it through our scariest storm yet.

She lives on the back of Ruby, my van. Violet and Ruby are all I have – I’m starting a new life in Lethbridge, and have yet to find a home.

My bike got stolen a couple days ago. I was parked at the Civic Centre downtown Lethbridge, next to a big green field. I went to the library for an hour. When I returned, Violet was gone. 

I love riding her, but she’s more than just a bike. She’s freedom and joy, security and escape.

So when I saw the empty bike rack, I was devastated.

After my meltdown 

The Bike Thief left a calling card: two bike wheels leaning against my van. The wheels were in great shape, which told me he hadn’t gone far. He wouldn’t come back while I was there, though. I drove to the library, parked, and decided to look for my bike on foot.

After an hour of fruitless searching I decided to drive by the Civic Centre. In the middle of the field was a small group of men on bikes. One bike stood alone, a purple one with stickers and a bell. Violet! I parked and crept along the big brick building. 

I wanted to go over but felt that confronting the Bike Thief alone was a mite foolish. Plus my knees were shaking, my heart was pounding, and I was scared out of my mind! Calling the police was my only option. I needed backup. 

While the police asked a million questions, the Bike Thief got on my bike. The group started riding directly towards me. 

No choice but courage

“Don’t approach them,” the police said. “How tall is the perpetrator? What is he wearing? How old is he?”

At this point they were right in front of me. The Bike Thief was the leader. 

I took a deep shaky breath. “Can I please have my bike back?”

He stopped and squinted at me. “This your bike? I found it in the alley.”

“That’s cool, no problem,” I nodded. “I get it. But can I have my bike back, please?”

And then the darndest thing happened. The Bike Thief shrugged, got off my bike, and handed her over. 

“Don’t forget your water bottle,” I said. 

“I found the bike in the alley,” he said. 

“I know,” I said, wheeling my bike away. “No problem, bro. It’s all good.”

He wandered away while I put Violet on my van, locked her up, and drove off into the sunset.

Spirit meets spirit (namaste)

Perhaps the reason he responded so agreeably was because I asked from the truest, deepest part of me. The little girl in me spoke to the little boy in him. That boy doesn’t want to take other people’s stuff. He doesn’t want to be addicted to drugs, born into a family with problems that started long before he was conceived, and trapped in a vicious cycle he can’t get out of. 

That boy just wants what we all do. Safety, security, peace and love.

It was scary for me to be vulnerable and ask for what I wanted. And it may have been scary for him to respond from his softest, gentlest, truest self. But we did it. 

Even when it’s difficult or even impossible to see the spirit of the person in front of you, may you remember that it’s there. Their spirit and soul may be buried under decades of pain, abuse and self-inflicted wounds, but it’s there.

With love,

Laurie

Night-Time Camper Van Break-In While I Was Sleeping + Tips for Safe Stealth Camping

P.S. The Bike Finder reminded me so much of the guy who broke into Ruby while I was sleeping! I share that story in Night-Time Camper Van Break-In While I Was Sleeping + Tips for Safe Stealth Camping.

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