Olgi Freyre, of Chicago, is a hardworking part-time student at DePaul who works 40 hours a week at an art supply store just to make enough money to get by. So when she realized during her lunch break on Oct. 28 that her $700 bike, which she had rigorously worked to save enough money to buy herself, had been stolen right off the rack across the street, she was understandably angry.
"When I looked outside on my lunch break and noticed my bike was gone, that's when all this madness started," Freyre, 19, told GoodMorningAmerica.com.
Freyre immediately called the police to file a report, but even after the officers had left, she still felt slighted and needed to do something to quell her anger.
"I'm a struggling college student and I don't have the funds to buy nice things," she explained. "My bike was the one nice thing I bought and I needed it to get to class. I didn't buy it for gaudy reasons, I just needed it to get around."
That's when Freyre decided to write a brutally honest handwritten note to the thief, scathingly outlining her frustration line by line, and posted it to a pole next to the bike rack for everyone to see.
"I was just really upset," she said. "I didn't think anybody was going to pay attention or that it would go viral, it was just to get my anger out there because there was nothing else I could do."
But someone did pay attention, snapping a photo of it and posting it to Twitter, where it began to go viral. It wasn't long before the local news starting sharing the image of anonymous note, which caught the attention of Bob Curry, a good Samaritan in the area who contacted the news affiliate, FOX 32, to let them know if they tracked down the victim, he'd be willing to buy a new bike to replace the stolen one.
"I get a phone call from FOX and they told me they had a man who wants to buy me a new bike," said Freyre. "They got us in touch. I was supershocked and excited."
The very next day, the two met at a bike shop where Freyre profusely thanked the kind stranger.
"He just told me to pick a bike," Freyre said of Curry, calling him a "humble man" who "apparently does these sorts of nice things a lot."
Curry told Freyre that he, too, had once had a bike stolen.
"He said he felt my pain," said Freyre, who has had numerous other offers from strangers willing to replace her bike or give her money toward a new one.
"This has been such a weird experience," she said. "I didn't think anybody would care enough, but a lot of people are offering me their spare bikes that they just have in their garages."
Freyre is hoping to continue paying the kindness forward. She's hoping to organize a fundraiser gathering all those spare bikes together for the less fortunate because she knows firsthand that "there are a lot of people struggling that could really use them."