A tale of fundraising thousands for children, the return of his bike, and hugs and reconciliation with the thief. For Rob, compassion for each other is the most important thing.
“HOW CAN I TURN MY MISFORTUNE INTO SOMEONE ELSE’S GOOD FORTUNE?” — ROB GREENFIELD
When Rob Greenfield had his beloved bamboo bicycle stolen, instead of getting angry and vowing revenge on the thief, in typical fashion for kind-hearted Rob, his response to the situation was to see how he could turn his misfortune into something positive for others. Within hours Rob had launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to buy 10 new bikes for children who had also suffered the crushing blow of having theirs stolen. What’s more, with the help of the community he soon tracked down his missing bike, along with the man who stole it. Rob hugged the thief and talked to him at great length.
Rob’s original GoFundMe campaign in his own words.
My bamboo bike was stolen last night! Those of you who know me probably know I have just around 100 possessions to my name and this is one of the most important, if not the most important. I don’t have a car and it’s my transportation. I’ve ridden across the United States doing good deeds on this bicycle. Thousands of miles of doing good deeds for others have been done on this bike! And now it’s been stolen in a single bad deed. It’s a little bit soul crushing.
I want to get this bike back and I’d like your help by sharing this story.However, that is less important to me. As soon as the bike was stolen I asked myself, "How can I turn this into something good?" How can I turn my misfortune into someone else’s fortune? How can I turn a bad deed into good deeds."
I quickly came up with an idea. I know how the horrible feeling of having a bike stolen. And I know it’s happened to a lot of other people. It really does suck and can ruin someone’s day and many days to come. Especially when it’s they depend on it to get to work or school. So, I want to turn my stolen bike into help for others who’ve had their bike stolen before. I’m in a fortunate enough scenario where I can figure out something for myself. But there are a lot of kids out there who have had their bikes stolen and live in low-income scenarios where they can’t get another one. I want this stroke of bad luck for me to be good luck for 10 children who had a soul-crushing day when their bike was stolen.
So, I have started to GoFundMe to raise funds to purchase 10 bikes for kids that don’t have a bike because it was stolen. *
I also am a strong believer in the idea that hate cannot drive out hate and darkness cannot drive out darkness. In that way, I will apply that to this scenario. Bad deeds cannot drive out bad deeds. Only good deeds can do that. To combat this bad deed that has been done to me I will be doing good deeds for the rest of 2017. I want a world with more good in it and so this bad deed that has been done to me has enforced that I must do more good.
I am going to search for my bike today and if I find the thief I am not going straight to the police. Instead I am going to talk to him and ask him why and hear him out. I am going to ask him to commit to take a bike repair and maintenance class (that this fund will pay for) and then commit to 100 hours of volunteering to help people to fix their own bikes. This is the option that I will give rather than going to jail, and spending tax payer dollars on a system that likely won’t create the results that are needed for a more just society to be created.
Note: After hours of tracking it down and talking to dozens of people on the streets, I HAVE MY BAMBOO BIKE BACK! In this photo with me (see below) is Guitar Johnny, and he’s the one who stole my bike. He stole it to get his next fix. I didn’t report him to the police and I’m not getting the law involved. Instead we are meeting today and talking about how he can do something good for humanity to make up for it. Jail time won’t solve any problems. We know better than that by now. We need compassion for one another and we need to talk about the root to the problems that exist today in the USA. Johnny has committed to helping to fix bikes for people in need to make up for stealing the bike.
*so far, 50 new bikes have been bought from funds raised.
Rob Greenfield is an adventurer, activist, and humanitarian for a sustainable and just world. He donates 100% of his media income to grassroots nonprofits. Rob’s YouTube channel is a source for all things sustainable living, off the grid, simple living, zero waste, tiny house, grow your own food, cycling, and green.
Rob’s GoFundMe campaign latest update: 11 September 2018
After nearly a year in the making, I am so elated to finally share the full story of how my bamboo bike was stolen and the journey I went through to get it back, be kind to the person who stole it, and turn the bad deed into dozens of good deeds. After everything I have managed to turn my one stolen bike into 50 bikes for kids. Thank you for all of your support in making this happen! — Rob Greenield
Check out our article on how social activist Rob Greenield proves how we can all live richer and happier lives with less stuff.
LET’S MAKE COMPASSION THE FASHION
"I know my compassion will better the lives of many people this year. And it will ultimately have been inspired by Guitar Johnny himself. I hope that my compassion for him today will yield more compassion within him for others as well. And that this story will inspire you to practice compassion in your lives each day." — Rob Greenfield
GoFundMe: Bikes for Kids campaign still open
You can still support the campaign to give bikes to children who've had their bike stolen and get more information on the stolen bike saga with the happy ending here.