Toronto store lends bike to frontline worker who got his stolen during hospital shift
Menachem Benzaquen was shocked and disheartened to discover that his bike had been stolen from a locked cage outside the hospital after his shift on Oct. 18, and now the owner of Oxygen Bike Company Shawn Fitzpatrick is gifting him one for as long as he needs so he can keep riding.
"Shawn from Oxygen Bike Co. has been very gracious enough to lend me a bike for as long as I need until I get a new one," Benzaquen told blogTO. "I will be taking them up on their offer so that I can get on the road right away."
Neilo Macalalad, a local cyclist and member of group Cycling in Toronto, told blogTO Benzaquen's story was shared widely among members and many said they hoped someone would give him a bike.
Fitzpatrick, who is also a member of the group, then announced that he would like to provide a bike to the frontline worker if he could get in touch with him. The two then connected on Wednesday and came to the agreement that he would loan him a bike for as many days or years as he needs until he decides to buy one.
In addition to the offer from Fitzpatrick, Benzaquen said he's also received countless messages from friends and strangers on social media encouraging him to keep riding.
"I also got an email sent to staff at UHN saying they are going to fortify their cages and expand their parking capacity for cyclists," he said.
"There is even now a movement to secure more bikes sites across all hospitals throughout the city for all hospital workers! I hope this keeps on growing and puts a bigger spotlight on bike theft in Toronto."
A friend of the frontline worker also started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Benzaquen so he can eventually buy his own bike, and the fundraiser has already exceeded its $1,000 goal with $1,120 raised as of Thursday morning.
"Everyone has been too kind," he said. "There may have been one person who did something bad to me but Toronto has shown its true colours with the response."
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