This 7-year-old Arkansas boy named Bryan Jeffery was left heartbroken when an unidentified man stole his bicycle. The bike, which he got as a Christmas gift last year, was taken days before his birthday, leaving the kid crushed. Thankfully, there were kindhearted people in his community who were willing to go above and beyond to bring back the little boy’s smile.
One day, the Conway Police Department received a report about a young boy’s stolen bike. Bryan and his older sister were inside a Walmart store near their apartment complex when the theft happened. Conway Police Detective Tim Gray, the officer assigned to the case, treated the matter with urgency. He sympathized with the boy, especially after discovering that he was about to celebrate something special in the next few days.
“When I initially received this case, I noticed that his birthday was on the 23rd. I thought: ‘That’s awful for a 6-year-old to lose his bicycle right before his birthday,” Detective Gray told the Log Cabin Democrat.
Days later, he and his team found security footage of the man as he was stealing the bike. They shared the clip on Facebook, hoping to get the community’s help in identifying the thief. The next day, the suspect returned the bike to the spot where he took it. Although they got the bike back, Detective Gray felt there was more he could do to make the boy happy.
“I thought, you know, nobody takes a little boy’s bike,” he said. “And I just thought, I’m just going to buy him another bicycle.”
Luckily, other people were willing to help him do just that. Several community members reached out to the department, asking what they can do for the kid. One woman found a bicycle that almost looked similar to the stolen bike. The detective was also able to get a helmet and a bike lock for Bryan so he can always secure his ride. They also worked with Bryan’s family to arrange a surprise birthday party for him, complete with a bounce house and a donated Batman cake.
The detective arrived Saturday with Bryan’s new bike, and upon realizing it was for him, Bryan’s eyes grew wide. He burst into tears and hugged his mom, who also teared up during the emotional moment. As it turns out, they weren’t the only ones.
“Just his reaction was priceless,” Detective Gray said. “There must have been some dust in the air because my eyes watered up a little bit.”
After the surprise, he stuck around to celebrate the special day with Bryan and his family. They took pictures, and the detective made sure he matched the Batman theme.
“It was a whole lot of people coming together for Bryan,” Detective Gray recalled. “I’m not going to say right a wrong, but to correct a wrong the best that we can. It’s just good that the whole community of central Arkansas came together for this.”
Bryan’s mom, Carmen Jeffery, couldn’t be more grateful for the overwhelming amount of love and support they showed her son.
“I am definitely in awe with law enforcement and the police department, especially Detective Gray,” she said. “I appreciate everyone for their concern about my son, and I appreciate everyone for making his seventh birthday so special.”
Several members of the department were also in attendance for Bryan’s socially distanced birthday party. As it turns out, the boy’s dream is to be like them when he grows up.
“When he was in pre-K, they asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up,” Carmen said. “He dressed up as a police officer, and he still wants to either be a police officer or a firefighter. He just wants to help people.”
And, of course, Detective Gray didn’t pass on the chance to try the bounce house. Before the bash ended, he took off his shoes and slid down the giant inflatable slide with Bryan. Needless to say, it was a very happy day for everyone involved!
Watch the video below to see Bryan’s priceless reaction upon seeing his new bike.