Friday, September 25, 2015

A Simple Act Of Kindness

From my mailbag (late Friday night):

Hi Larry,

I am hoping to let the Happy Valley know about a very sweet act of kindness from the Amherst Police Department.

My 8 year old boy had his bike stolen from our home yesterday.

We looked for hours last night for it and again this evening. We covered every nook and cranny of our neighborhood and then drove around Amherst hoping to find it.

I filed a police report online just in case, and then called the police because I thought I might have spotted it but didn't want to go up to it in case it wasn't actually my son's bike.

I hesitated to call the police because I worried they had better things to do than deal with a kids lost bike, but Officer Corsetti showed up within moments and he took it seriously.

My two little boys were with me in the car and were so upset about the stolen bike and officer Corsetti let them know it mattered and was important.

He looked on foot for it for a long time, asking people he saw if they saw it, and then when we lost hope and went home, he still called me and update me on his search this evening. He asked me more questions about the bike, told me he hadn't given up.

My boy, Levi, was so touched that the officer cared that he wrote him a thank you note for caring and helping him look for it. (He also put some chocolate chip cookies in a bag for Officer Corsetti in case he got hungry while working).

We figured he would be out of a bike and I can't afford another bike for him. As a mother, I felt devastated and so sad that something my boy loved SO much and rode every day, was gone. It broke my heart.

Then, an hour or so later (at 8 tonight), there was a knock at our door and it was Officer Corsetti and Officer Ting. They had a brand new bike for Levi. And a lock!

 Sergeant Gabriel Ting, Levi on his new bike, Officer Dominick Corsetti.  Levi was getting ready for bed when officers arrived (hence no shirt) and they only put him on the bike sans helmet to adjust the seat

Levi was SO happy, he was glowing and over the moon excited. We had looked for so long for his bike and Levi thought he wouldn't be riding a bike for a long time. But now, because of the kindness of the police, Levi has a bike, a really nice one!

They told us that all of the police chipped in and got him this bike and lock. This is something my son will never forget.

It's an act of kindness that will live on long after he outgrows the bike because they gave him the gift of compassion, of kindness, of belief in doing good.

Levi promises to pass on the kindness and I believe he will.

Someday, when Levi is an old man, he will look back on this and remember it and still be passing on this act of kindness.

He says so himself.

Kettie L.

UPDATE Saturday morning:

UPDATE Thursday Oct 1st 4:00 PM:


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

great story. thanks for sharing. it was just what I needed at the end of a long, challenging day.

Larry Kelley said...

Me too.

Jasper Lieber said...

Hope old bike is found & thief gets help

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Excellent story Larry.

The reality is that maybe 99% of police officers and departments are of this ilk, yet some people choose to create and perpetuate a negative, (or even an evil) image of law enforcement based on what they see on television. These are the same people who would castigate anyone for stereotyping literally any other group of people, but have no problem doing it themselves, simply because it is the police, and place them in a position lower than common criminals. Richard Marsh

Citizen Sane said...

Nice gesture. Did they also get Levi a helmet? There is no evidence of one in the photo.

Larry Kelley said...

I believe the helmet was not stolen.

Mom just published a photo on my Facebook page with her smiling son on the bike wearing a helmet.

But thanks for your troll like concern.

Dr. Ed said...

I look at this differently - I ask why young men want to pin on that badge and what they want to do wearing it, then I look at what we train them to do and how we train them and I ask what exactly are we trying to accomplish.

We have young men (and young women with male personalities) who want to protect and serve their communities, who want to be heroes. It isn't that they want power over others (that comes later), instead they want to be the person to whom the community looks to for guidance, particularly in the midst of bedlam & chaos. They want to be the person who gets the little boy's bicycle back, or gets him a new one.

And then we send them to Agawam. Anyone else note how the report on the drunken B'town Police Chief stated that he had "to go f*ck with recruits in the morning"? That's one hell of an attitude to have towards teaching these young men how to be police officers, and I suspect it's fairly common.

Yes, a police officer has to not only defend himself but perpetrate lawful violence against others and has to be able to do that, but if that is all we train and teach them to be, why are we surprised to largely see that from them?

I'm reminded of a point once made by the last competent person to be Chief of the UMPD -- instead of looking at the number of arrests, you need to look at the number of situations that an officer was able to resolve without having to arrest anyone.

And Richard Mars, you do know what Edmund Burke said about prejudice, don't you?

Dr. Ed said...

Citizen Sane -- If I am not mistaken, there are other folks buying helmets for low income children.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't aware the police were required to show proof and evidence of a helmet purchase. Maybe you can buy him one and show your generosity? Thanks for the uplifting commentary Citizen (In)Sane!.

Anonymous said...

Whatever. Wiley cops trying to nudge their way into the hearts of jaded citizenry that is tired of being beat upon and manhandled. Incidentally, if this were a black kid (and especially in a poor neighborhood), the most he would have gotten was a shrug of the shoulders and a "tough luck." It's great to be a white child in an affluent community.

Larry Kelley said...

Better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:37: Go to hell with your imaginary bigotry, racist inflammation, and community organizing. Get help for yourself and cheer up. Then rejoin us on planet Earth.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this sweet story Larry :)

Larry Kelley said...

You're most welcome.

Made my weekend!

Deborah Tymkowiche said...


Deborah Tymkowiche said...

Ditto Larry ... Thank you !

Anonymous said...

Hope old bike is found and thief is not coddled with 'help," but is reprimanded accordingly. Help. Gimme a break.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if the police took a day off. Grow up.

Anonymous said...

Heartwarmer, Larry. Thanks. Ranks right up there with Pope Francis stopping his motorcade to kiss and bless the boy with cerebral palsy.

Anonymous said...

You, 12:37 are a racist. Go peddle your hate somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

This was super nice of them to do and I am glad they did it in this case. That kid certainly could have been any of us some number of decades ago. Most of us grew up poor as opposed to so many locally today.

I am concerned about making this too public as it sets a precedence. Kids bikes will certainly get stolen in town many times in the future. If I was a kid and my bike got stolen, my new expectation is pretty clear, the bike will be replaced by the Amherst police. But as an adult, I cannot expect the Amherst police to step up and pool to replace many or all stolen bikes.

What may be appropriate now or could have been done this past round was to start some kind of fundraising program to pay to replace bikes for all kids whose bikes are taken so we don't end up making kids feel bad as so many of the adult policies often do, even when done for the best of reasons like this case. This also would have been appropriate to do out of uniform, thus this could have provided some separation and perhaps lower the expectation of what will be done after the next bike is stolen. On the flipside, the reason the bike got stolen is because of the kind of community Amherst is, for good or bad. Perhaps this implies that the bike getting stolen is a failure in the management and policing of the community and the police should pay for all stolen items because they allowed the community to get this way. This doesn't sound great either.

This act was so wonderful for the individual, but the police serve the community as a whole and too much focus on the individual can backfire, especially when the other parties are innocent and naive kids.

I guess my point is this. Bike theft is common and not appreciated. Police are common and are often appreciated. This is a unique and individual story that touches the heart because the police gave the family special treatment, but in cases that are common, with common players....we should have policy, the police should not be the judge. Is what is described in this post going to be the policy moving forward and if not what is? If my son's bike is stolen today, who is going to replace it or will it be replaced at all? What are the kids to expect in the future from the police after so many of them heard about this?

With such limited public resources, we have to be careful how we allocate them as the effect of being neglected by the police could have a greater effect on a kid than loosing a bike. We all know how this feels as adults still to this day.

None the less, touching, could have been me as a kid. I had way more than my bike stolen. Especially in a town that so often neglects the individual.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful story.