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Bayse is ‘back in the saddle’

MURFREESBORO – What an act of selfishness has taken away, an act of generosity has replaced.

When Sammy Bayse answered a knock on his door the last thing he was expecting was to see was a couple delivering a shiny, new three wheel bike.

For years, Bayse, who lives with cerebral palsy, has relied an adult tricycle to get where he needs to go, in particular to the local McDonald’s Restaurant where he’s held a position for 18 years.

However, in late summer of last year, that all changed when Bayse’s bike, which can cost upwards to $500, was stolen from his backyard.

Bayse said he had owned the bike for 11 years and had paid for it in bi-monthly installments over the first year of ownership.

To make matters worse, it was not the first time Bayse was a victim of this type of theft as he had yet another bike stolen years earlier.

“I go to work, I come home…I don’t bother anyone,” he said. “When someone takes that away from me knowing I need it, it’s like taking your car.”

Because of the theft, Bayse had to rely on his motorize wheelchair for transportation.

He said despite efforts by the Murfreesboro Police Department (MPD) and the placement of flyers around town, the bike has not been recovered.

But Bayse’s story has a silver lining, which just happen to arrive on Christmas Eve.

That couple at the door was Terry and Robert Kirk of Murfreesboro, who have helped to conduct a Christmas program initiative that has given to children and those in need in Hertford, Northampton, Bertie and Halifax counties for nearly a decade.

The Christmas program is involved with Angel Trees, Guardian Ad Litem, S.A.F.E., the American Cancer Society and those with genuine need in the designated four county area.

Terry Kirk said the endeavor as a whole takes several aspects of both the Murfreesboro and Ahoskie communities, including businesses and citizens. She said several of her friends and family members are involved with the program as well.

With a little assistance from two MPD officers in order to find the home, Terry and Robert presented Bayse with his new bike that was a part of this year’s initiative.

“I’ve known Sammy for a long time,” said Terry in a telephone interview with the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

Terry recalled Bayse frequenting the former Grizzard’s Video Store in Murfreesboro when she was an employee there. She would also see him around town on his bike and often sees him when she frequents McDonald’s.

After learning about the theft of Bayse’s bike and knowing how much he relied on it, Terry and her program helpers set about collecting money to purchase a new one.

Terry said she was not sure if the program would be able to purchase the bike since it was so expensive. But with help from Eddie Harrell’s Auto and Sports Store in Ahoskie, the program only had to fund a portion of the $394 bill and the store paid for the rest.

“Just when you think there’s not a heart anywhere something like this happens,” said Terry about the donations collected for the bike and the store’s participation in the endeavor.

Joe Harrell, owner of Eddie Harrell’s Auto and Sports Store, said his part was just good business.

“I try to help everybody,” said Harrell. “It something you do as a retailer.”

For Bayse, the Christmas Eve surprise made not only his Christmas, but his birthday as well, which is on December 26.

“To have something dropped off unexpectedly…what can you say,” said Bayse.

Nancy Apple, Bayse’s mother, said her mouth dropped when she saw the bike and her son “grinning like a opossum.”

“You always hear of things like this happening to other people,” she said. “We never thought it would happen to us.”

There have been precautions taken to prevent Bayse from being a victim of bicycle theft again via a lock and chain.

“I said, ‘Here, you’re going to need a lock and a chain’,” Terry said.

Terry provided Bayse a lock and a chain to secure the bike and according to Bayse, he has registered the bike with MPD Bicycle Program.

Terry recalled Bayse’s reaction when he saw the bike.

“He said, ‘I just wanted you to know you made my Christmas and birthday’,” she said. “When you get (reactions) like that you can’t quit doing this.”

The Kirks are currently soliciting donations for Christmas 2008. To make a donation call 396-1529 or visit your local Southern Bank, RBC Centura Bank or State Employees’ Credit Union.