WATCH: 'Oh snap, that's tight!'
Jeremiah Parris, a fifth-grader at Twin Bluff Middle School, felt a mixture of emotions while claiming his prize for reaching his reading goals two years ago: nervous because he had to walk up in front of the whole school during an assembly, but excited because he'd won the BMX bike he had his eye on.
The bike was among the prizes his elementary school offered as an incentive for students to read at least eight books in a set amount of time and enter their reading logs into a raffle. Jeremiah's mother, Michelle Parris, recalled she was impressed by her son's focus on his goal once he decided he wanted the bike.
Although Jeremiah typically kept a watchful eye over his bike, locking it up each time he parked it, the bike disappeared in a matter of minutes after a sibling borrowed in and left it unattended.
Jeremiah said the work he put into earning the bike made the discovery especially hurtful.
"I was mad," he said. "It was left outside for like .2 seconds and came out there and it was gone. I didn't know till the next day."
Hoping to recover her son's prized possession, Michelle took to the Facebook group "Almost Anything for sale in Red Wing," asking the community to keep an eye out for the bike.
A couple days later, Michelle received a message from a stranger asking if Jeremiah would like her bike.
The generous offer came from Kelly Evridge, a photography student living in Hastings. She bought her bike earlier that summer, but hadn't gotten much use out of it lately.
Evridge said she was touched by Jeremiah's story, having dealt with the frequent theft of her bikes when she was younger.
"I had no second thought about it," she said. "I saw that he worked really hard for his bike and that it devastated him that someone stole it from him. When I was younger, there were no Facebook things out there to help people find their bike, so I just thought it was the right thing to do to help him."
Along with the bike, Evridge brought Jeremiah a new bike lock and attachable light.
He can be heard thanking Evridge profusely in a video Michelle filmed: "Oh snap, that's tight! Thank you so much!"
"I'm really happy for him because I knew how much that bike meant to him. He cherished that bike," Michelle said. "He's been through a lot as a child and for him to go through something else that somebody else did isn't fair. I am just really happy and really grateful."
She also expressed gratitude for the overwhelming response she received from the community. Each time she checked her phone, notifications flooded in of people sharing and commenting on her post.
"I was so surprised by how much the community came together and was commenting," she said. "It was crazy, you don't think anything like this will happen because people are just about themselves these days. It was awesome — not that he lost his bike, but the aftermath of it."
Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman estimates the department had more than 100 bicycles in impound by the end of summer. In order to retrieve a bicycle from impound, owners must be able to positively identify the bike with characteristics like scratches, stickers or one-of-a-kind markings. The best way to identify a bike, however, is with its serial number.
"Success of getting a bike back is a matter of keeping the serial number," he said.