Two upstate New York communities are rallying to replace an autistic teen’s bicycle, which was stolen from his front yard.
Gabriel Osterhout, 14, was devastated when his bicycle was stolen. He rode his special three-wheel bicycle outside when the weather was warm several weeks ago and left it in the front yard overnight.
“He left his bike in the front yard, and the next morning, my wife noticed the bike was missing,” Gabriel’s father, John Osterhout, told WENY.
John posted on Facebook inquiring if anyone saw the bicycle around the neighborhood.
His Facebook friends responded, tipping him off to the location of the bicycle.
“I called the cops and then headed over to the location, and I recovered the bike. It was damaged. They ripped it apart,” John said.
But all was not lost.
The community banded together and raised $500 to go towards a replacement bike for Gabriel. Then, a local autobody shop offered to fix the damage on the bike and customize it.
Maguire Subaru in Ithaca also stepped up to help and bought a bike that they personally delivered to Gabriel.
“That was a really happy moment for me. I’m so glad that Maguire came and helped me out there. It was really nice of them, and I greatly appreciate it. I am grateful to everyone who donated also,” said Gabriel.
Now that Gabriel has two bicycles, he plans to use the money raised to pay it forward to give to kids in need.
Other communities have stepped forward to replace stolen or broken bicycles from people with autism.
In November 2019, neighbors from Fairview Park, Ohio, raised money for an autistic man’s replacement bicycle after it was stolen.
A month later, neighbors in River Falls, Wisconsin, gave a bicycle to an autistic man to replace his two-year-old bicycle that broke down.