by Paul Schmelzer, 7/28/08 • The other night, I got a call from a dejected Seven. My 12-year-old nephew, who’s been living with us since late March, was at the library, and his bike had been stolen. I drove down to get him and sincerely thanked the security guards who had helped him: they let him use the phone to call me, got a description of the bike, and said they’d check out their security camera tape to see if they could spot the theft. On the way home, I praised Seven — and I meant it: Just a few months ago, fresh off the plane from Bangkok, he wouldn’t have had the confidence to ride alone from North Minneapolis to the downtown library, let alone to ask, in surprisingly advanced English, for help with a stolen bike. I was proud of him.
But I had to temper his hope about the prospects of ever seeing the bike again; we arranged to head to the police bike auction to get a replacement. But then on Saturday, we got a call from the library: “We’ve got Seven’s bike.” A quick drive, all high-fives and woo-hoos, and we were at the Central Library to fetch the prodigal bike.
Only it wasn’t the one that had been taken: it was a new Schwinn BMX bike, just his height — and paid for out-of-pocket by several of the guards.
So thank you to Willie (pictured above) and John and the other guards who pitched in to make Seven’s day. You’re fantastic ambassadors for a library he already loves, and let it be known that word of your generosity has already made its way overseas: He’s already told his family about your kindness (they, in turn, have put in a good word at the Buddhist temple) and posted about it on two Thai websites he frequents. May your kindness be returned manyfold.