It’s 2 a.m. and you want to go home, but your phone is dead, you don’t have a ride, and walking is out of the question. While contemplating how you’re going to make the trek back to your place, you spot a bicycle and decide to take it.
There’s just one problem, not only are you stealing the bicycle from someone, but you’re stealing from a sheriff’s deputy.
On the night of the Super Bowl in 2017, a young woman stole Josh Bowden’s bicycle.
As Josh Bowden, a Pulaski County Sheriff Deputy in Virginia, slept after the Super Bowl, a 19-year-old female approached his home and stole his bicycle.
In February 2017, he told WSLS that he wasn’t even aware that his bicycle had disappeared until it showed up at his grandmother’s home, who lives next door, two weeks later.
Two weeks later, the bicycle showed up with a note attached.
Although Bowden had every right to be angry at the young woman who took his bicycle, he found it difficult, especially after reading the note she left behind.
The note explained how the young woman, who only identified herself as “M,” was unable to find a ride home because of “drunk boys, a dead phone and no money/rides.” She then attempted to offer an explanation for why she thought it would be ok to take the bicycle from Bowden’s yard.
“I saw the Sheriff car and hoped you would understand a 19-year-old girl’s rationale,” she wrote. “It was still 16 miles but at least I had some safety with your bike. I’m genuinely sorry and hope you can forgive me for returning it so late and taking it without permission.”
Bowden shared the note on Facebook.
Dear M, I am the owner of the bike you took the night of the Superbowl. I was in bed asleep, no doubt, at 2 am in…
The deputy had a hard time not thinking about his own children and what would happen if they were ever faced with a similar situation.
“Personally I wish she would have come and knocked on my door,” Bowden told WDBJ. “I would much rather me get her home safe or I could have called somebody for her.”
He responded with his own letter, full of advice not only for the young woman, but others in similar situations.
In Bowden’s letter, which he shared on Facebook, he reminded his followers and “M” of Hannah Graham and Morgan Harrington, two young women who went missing and were later discovered to have been murdered, and the importance of staying safe and having a backup plan.
“I don’t ever want to go on another search for a missing young girl or boy for that matter, especially when they usually end with a body being found and some parents wishing their baby had made a better choice,” he wrote.
Bowden insisted he wasn’t mad at “M” and hoped she would make better choices in the future.
“In the future please don’t put yourself in such a precarious position, but if you ever do, have a backup plan,” he wrote. “Should that fail, please bypass my bicycle and come knock on my door.”
Even if “M” never saw his letter on Facebook, plenty of other people did and commended him for his words.