Faith Rides Again In The Night
First Place Winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Human Interest Essay Contest
Tonya Goff would like to start the New Year with a great big thank you.
Unfortunately, she didn’t start October that way. She can still recall, all too vividly, the morning she rushed out of her apartment on the way to her job at Starbucks. She did not get far.
There she stood on the sidewalk staring in disbelief at all that was left of her way of getting around in the world.
A lock. A few metal shavings.
Someone had stolen Tonya’s yellow bicycle, the one her dad had bought for her, the one she rode to her two jobs and back home again.
And the bike wasn’t the only thing they took.
“I’m a very open person,” Tonya told me. “The bike thing changed me. I started thinking of people in a different light.”
Does that guy who orders a large cappuccino think nothing of hurting small animals? Does that woman who gulps down her extra sweet latte jump in her car and yell at her kids? Does that man who comes in smiling every morning steal bicycles by night?
“I would always stick my neck out but now I found myself wondering if I did, would it get cut off?”
And then something happened.
It was the week before Christmas. Saturday morning, to be exact. Tonya got a ride to her opening shift at Starbucks from a friend. As they stood outside unlocking the doors, a flash of silver caught Tonya’s eye. Something was chained to the lamppost on the sidewalk.
Not an unusual sight in June or July. But for a chilly December morning, it was surprising indeed. Tonya walked over to take a closer look.
There in the dark just before dawn was a shiny, silver Schwinn complete with tool kit, lock and key. A sign was attached. Even though the message was printed clearly by a computer, Tonya had to read it twice. To Tonya Goff. From Santa. Merry Christmas!
TO TONYA GOFF. FROM SANTA. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Ever since that day, Tonya has asked her family and her friends, her coworkers and her customers if they know anything at all about the incredibly generous gift. If they do, they’re not talking. Which leaves her to wonder.
Does that guy who orders a large cappuccino think nothing of giving large gifts? Does that woman who gulps down her extra sweet latte jump in her car and do extra sweet things for her kids and those around her? Does that man come in smiling every morning because of the good deeds he does at night?
Thanks to Santa, Tonya would tell you this.
It sure is nice to think so.
Photo by Florencia Potter