Viriginia sheriff’s deputy Josh Bowden didn’t even notice that his old bicycle with the flat tires was missing from his home until the person who took it brought it back — and left a note.
She identified herself only as 19-year-old “M.”
She explained that late after the Super Bowl she found herself stranded, 16 miles from home, “because of drunk boys, a dead phone and no money (…) I’m genuinely sorry and hope you can forgive me for returning it so late and taking it without your permission.”
She wrote that she noticed Bowden’s Pulaski County sheriff’s patrol car in the driveway at 2 a.m. and hoped he would be sympathetic.
On Sunday Bowden posted the note on his Facebook page and wrote a lengthy reply to “M.” His response has gone viral, shared more than 3,300 times as of Friday.
“I’m not going to call it stealing, because she did return it,” Bowden, who lives in Radford, Va., told Inside Edition. “She just borrowed it because she was in need. But she did return it, so I’m not mad about that.”
He said the girl’s note made him “sad that she was put in that situation. It had to be scary for her. As a father — I have two small children — a little girl not much younger than her, it just really scared me for her, and made me concerned for her safety.”
If she had knocked on his door he would have been happy to give her a ride home, he wrote in his Facebook post.
“I don’t know if you will ever see this, but I put it on Facebook in the hopes that maybe you would,” he wrote.
He offered “M” other advice, too.
“You may want to find new friends to hang out with, not ‘boys’ who have no concern for your well being,” he wrote.
“If you are going to go out and party make sure you have reliable friends and plenty of people you can call to come get you should something go wrong. Carry some sort of means to protect yourself and learn how to do so.”
Bowden told Inside Edition that he’s still waiting for a reply.
“If nothing else, I hope that people see the letter and maybe it can help somebody along the line,” he said. “Maybe she or somebody else could read the letter and maybe think (that) their options might be better next time.”