A Florida man who worked for more than 20 years at a Publix in Bonita Springs, Florida, is now without his ride to work after someone stole his e-bike.
Daniel Smith, 40, is known by Publix staff as a “beloved employee.” He is also developmentally disabled, so he cannot drive to work, WBBH reported.
A few years ago, Smith’s parents bought him an e-bike to give him a means of transportation to work and a sense of freedom.
“When I first got it, it was almost like having a car. It has a key and made me feel like I had a car, I was very protective of it,” Smith said.
But after his Friday shift, he went to the Publix bike rack to check for his ride and noticed it was gone.
“As I was walking to get to the bike I notice nothing is there and I’m like, what? Where’s my bike?” said Smith.
Since the theft, the community of Bonita Springs and his coworkers have provided support in the form of donations.
“I know they appreciate me, and I never really realized how much they appreciate me,” Smith said.
Smith said his parents are giving him rides to work for the time being, but he hopes to get his bike and his freedom back soon.
Officials are informing people who have seen a green and black “Big Cat” e-bike around town to contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
This is not the first time a community has come together to help replace a stolen bicycle.
In November 2019, an Ohio community rallied around an autistic store worker to replace his stolen bicycle.
In April 2020, community members in San Francisco, California, also rallied around a nurse, helping to replace her bike, which was stolen.