Yesterday morning I was driving the kids to school. Mondays are trash day so all the cans were up and down the street. A few houses further down from where I turn I spotted a bike next to the trash can and thought that if it was still there when I came back, then I'd check it out and maybe grab it if it was in ok condition. Sure enough, on the way home it was still there so I turned the other direction to check it out. It looked pretty good, not perfect by any means, but decent, usable and fixable, so I grabbed it and threw it in the van. I couldn't have timed it any better either. We have this guy that drives through the neighborhood in his truck every week picking up stuff people put out with the trash and he was just a few houses down grabbing some other things. He threw me a look of "hey! I was gonna grab that". As I pulled into the driveway a minute later, the garbage man pulled up to my house, which also means that if I hadn't grabbed it or the other guy hadn't, then the trash man would have hauled it off for sure.
Raven has been asking for a bike so this was a good temporary fix until Christmas. I gave it to her last night and she was thrilled. She played with it a little but it was dark so she put it away in the garage with all the other scooters, etc.
Today I took Kora to the Dr, picked her up some antibiotics for an ear infection and then did some much needed grocery shopping. I came home, opened up the garage to put away some stuff in the garage fridge and, since we needed to grab scooters to go get kids about 10 minutes later, I left the garage door open. When I came outside one of the neighbor boys, who I really don't care for, was hovering around my driveway and pointing into my garage while he talked to somebody else. Nothing appeared out of place so I grabbed our scooters, closed the garage and walked to the school to get kids.
As we walked home this same neighbor boy met us about half way up the street and started accosting Raven about the bike. He accused her of stealing it and was saying it belonged to his friend. I told him it was put out with the trash yesterday and perhaps his friend got a new bike. He followed us home and kept trying to get into the garage when we got there (and my kids wonder why I don't let them play with him-but he's a whole other story).
About 10 minutes later I was loading up kids to run a quick errand when a car pulled up to our house. The lady rolls down her window and starts yelling "we lost a bike and my kids say you have it." I told her I had, in fact, picked up a bike yesterday from next to the trash cans around the corner and she yells that "it wasn't even near the trash, it was in the yard!" I told her it was right next to the trash cans and asked her what color the one was she was missing. She confirmed the one I had and I again said "it was right next to the trash can." Her reply, "well, can we have it back?" I said yes (she looked shocked) and I opened the garage to get it out while she mumbled who knows what, probably profanities, while her son was retrieving this girl's bike from me (poor kid, it was really girly) . I walked over to her car and calmly and nicely made sure she knew that if I hadn't grabbed it, it most certainly would have been gone, told her of the other guy and that the trash man was only about 5 minutes from taking it anyway. I apologized and she said "in 7 years we've never had a problem!" and again "it was in the yard." I said "no, it really wasn't, but I'm glad to give it back." And then she drove away.
So now some lady up the street thinks I'm a horrible person who steals children's bicycles and I'm just waiting for her to call the cops or file charges or something. I'm not a thief. I only take that sort of thing if it's in decent condition, we have a use for it and it's been put out by the trash. Besides, who lets their kids leave a bike out on the street on the morning of (or night before) trash day? If it were my kids I would have said "well, you left it out and now it's gone. This is why we don't leave our things out." Also, in the condition it was in, I probably wouldn't even have gone looking for it. I just hope that she and her kids learned something about leaving your stuff next to the trash cans on trash day, I know I did. Next time I'll just leave it and let it be gone forever, then she can go yell at somebody else.
I don't mind giving it back but she could have at least been a bit nicer instead of yelling at me the whole time. Sheesh!