Neighbors Rally to Buy 63-year-old Dairy Queen Worker New Bike After Theft

A community in Texas has joined together to help one 63-year-old Dairy Queen worker who was left with no way to get to work after a thief stole his bike.

James Penadela was left without a car or job thanks to the pandemic, but a role at Dairy Queen and a bike provided a remedy. However, thanks to a thief, Penadela was once again left without a mode of transport.

What started as a horror story has now blossomed into one that proves just how good the world can still be, according to Penadela. When his neighborhood found out about the theft they stepped in to provide him with new wheels from their own wallets.

On Wednesday, June 1, Penadela realized his much-needed bike was gone, and took to Facebook local community group "Robinson Neighborhood Watch" to plead for it back.

"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, just need it back. My only way to work," he wrote.

Although Penadela didn't get his bike back, he got something even better: the generosity of his local community. Neighbors flooded the post with offers to donate towards a new bike for the 63-year-old.

Priscilla Partain led the collection for Penadela after seeing the post. Partain, who has lived in Robsinson since 2008, told KWTX: "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. I always told myself that I would pay it back in some form and I was immediately overcome with wanting to help Mr. James."

Spearheading the donations, neighbors sent money over to Partain as she searched for an in-budget bike. According to KWTX, she even drove to the house of one neighbor to pick up a cash donation.

Together, they raise enough money to buy a bike for Penadela, along with a lock and an extra $30 in cash. Penadela made his feelings about the gift clear as it even reportedly brought him to tears.

"I want to thank everybody from the bottom of my heart. I've never had no one do anything like that for me before, it touched me greatly," he wrote in a Facebook post. "Woke up with little hope, going to bed with high hopes. You made an old man happy. Who says grown men don't cry. God bless all of you."

Penadela described the gift as feeling "like Christmas in June" as Partain took to social media to individually thank all those who donated.

Newsweek has contacted James Penadela and Priscilla Partain for comment.