Karen Belz
Updated March 16, 2018

Amanda Needham’s bike — which she relied on to get to work each day — was stolen in Brooklyn earlier this month. But instead of wallowing in the injustice, Needham decided to leave a giant note for the thief, hoping to send a message. And she couldn’t have predicted what would happen next.

Needham described the note in a March 16th piece for The Washington Post.

“I crafted an 8-by-3-foot cardboard sign and hung it across the entire front of my landlord’s Brooklyn brownstone,” she wrote (noting that she got permission first). “It said: ‘To the person who stole my bicycle — I hope you need it more than I do. It was $200 used, and I need it to get to work. I can’t afford another one. Next time, steal a hipster’s Peugeot. Or not steal! PS: Bring it back.”

She left the sign up for seven days, at which point two men appeared at her door, one holding a blue mountain bike designed for a teen. The man said the same thing had happened to him once, and so he wanted to give her his spare bike. While the bike unfortunately wasn’t the right size for Needham to ride, she noted how incredible of a gesture it was; someone was willing to donate an entire bicycle to help out a total stranger.

And unbeknowst to Needham, more people were trying to help. A neighbor named Steven S. Powers saw the sign and posted it to Instagram.

The sign generated a ton of comments and got the attention of a British antique dealer named Robert Young. He realized that it was more than a sign — it was art. And he wanted to buy it with Powers for a total of $200.


And with that, Needham — who had been using CitiBike — made $200 to put towards another bicycle. However, she was still in possession of the mountain bike donated to her by a stranger — so she paid it forward. Calling it the #KarmaCycle, she brought it into a local shop called Court Cycles where they’re currently fixing it up for a kid-in-need.

This is exactly the kind of story we needed today.