• Taunton business owner donates bike to boy who pays it forward

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    TAUNTON, Mass. - A Taunton business owner who donated a bicycle to a local boy saw her act of kindness paid forward.

    Erika Madden, owner of Star Drive-In noticed a post on a community Facebook page written by Alyssa Lynch whose 12-year-old son Marcus’s bike had been stolen. Marcus had been at football practice two weeks ago when his bike, which he had locked up, was stolen.

    “I was just so hurt by the fact that somebody literally took the seat off the bike to pull the chain up over the bike and took the bike,” Madden said. “(Lynch) had put a description out looking for the bike, and I didn’t even second-guess it. I went and found a similar bike – I couldn’t find the green bike – but I asked her her address, and I wanted to send the bike on behalf of the Star Drive-In and my family to her family.”

    Madden bought and sent the new bike to Marcus. But unexpectedly, another Taunton resident found and returned Marcus’s bike. Suddenly, he had two bikes but only one option that felt right.

    “Since she was so gracious to offer us the bike, and his bike was found, we wanted to pass on that graciousness to another family whose son’s bike maybe was not found,” Lynch said.

    That boy was Anderson Catley, whose mother, Ingrid Freitas-Catley, had also posted on Facebook about the theft of her son’s bike around the same time. His beloved bicycle, a Christmas gift from his grandmother, had been snatched from outside their Taunton home.

    “I was very upset, because the next day my parents said I was allowed to ride my bike to school,” Anderson said. “But then I figured out my bike was stolen. So then I couldn’t ride it.”

    Madden saw Anderson’s mother’s post and suggested Lynch give the bike to Anderson.

    Lynch and her son assembled the bike and delivered it to Anderson’s home.

    “I would like to say thank you,” Anderson said of Madden, in love with his new bike, which he excitedly rode to school in the rain Wednesday. “I think she’s very nice… I’m surprised she would do something like that.”

    Anderson’s mother echoed his gratitude, saying the act of kindness is a lesson in generosity for both kids and adults.

    “I’m like trying to hold back tears, because it to me it’s amazing to see the generosity from people, because you don’t see it every day,” Freitas-Catley said. “I try to teach all my kids to be generous and kind, and so when you see it come back it’s kind of nice, and we get front-row seats to that.”

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