Central Texas group buys new bicycle for Dairy Queen employee after bike he used to get to work was stolen

Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 6:34 PM CDT
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ROBINSON, Texas (KWTX) - A neighborhood watch group bought a new bicycle for a local Dairy Queen employee after he posted online that his was stolen from his front porch and it was his only way to get to work.

James Penadela, 63, lost his job and his car at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic but he’s been able to work at the Robinson Dairy Queen for the last few months by riding his bike.

When he woke up on Wednesday, June 1, he immediately realized the bike he depends on was gone.

“I said to my roommate, ‘where’s my bike? It’s gone,’” James said, “I was very mad.”

James went to the Robinson Neighborhood Watch Facebook page and made a plea.

“To the person who stole my bike from my house on Old Robinson Road, you can bring it back, no questions asked plus a 40-dollar reward,” he wrote. “Just need it back. My only way to work.”

Within minutes, residents were chiming in wanting to help. “Would it help if someone gave you a bike?” one person asked.

“I have $20 right here I would be happy to donate if it goes to a new bike,” another wrote.

“Where do we send the money?” another neighbor asked.

Members of the Robinson Neighborhood Watch Group bought a new bike for a local Dairy Queen...
Members of the Robinson Neighborhood Watch Group bought a new bike for a local Dairy Queen employee after his was stolen.(Courtesy Photo)

Priscilla Partain has lived in Robinson since 2008 and said the post tugged at her heartstrings as she’s struggled at times to make ends meet.

“As a struggling mom of four boys, there was a time when I was in need as well and I did have several people that stepped up to help me,” Priscilla told KWTX. “I always told myself that I would pay it back in some form and I was immediately overcome with wanting to help Mr. James.”

Priscilla got on the thread and told neighbors she’d find a bike and asked for donations. Neighbors immediately responded by sending donations to Priscilla. She even had one woman who didn’t have the ability to donate online so Priscilla drove by her house to pick up her contribution.

In just hours, the group raised the money needed to not only buy the bike, but enough to purchase a lock and give him $30 in cash. Priscilla delivered the new bike from Walmart to James, who said the gift made him cry.

“I was surprised, and it made me cry a little bit,” James said. “You don’t see that very much in this world now. You don’t see all the nice. You just see the world full of hate, but I’m very blessed.”

James rode the bike to work for the first time Monday. “I’d like to thank all the residents of Robinson who helped me out in my time of need,” James said. “God Bless y’all. I rode the bike to work for the first time today and it was marvelous.”

James Penadela poses with his new bike.
James Penadela poses with his new bike.(KWTX)

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