The Bike Thief, The Art Dealer and a little bit of Karma

By Robbie Broughton

When New Yorker Amanda Needham had her bike stolen outside her Brooklyn home, she posted a large painted sign on cardboard for the thief. The result was a heart-warming tale that restored a little faith in humanity.

The 8 by 3 foot sign read:

“To the person who stole my bicycle

I hope you need it more than I do.

It was $200 used, and I need it to get to work. I can’t afford another one.

Next time, steal a hipster’s Peugeot.

Or not steal! PS: Bring it back.”


First, two black kids came round to her apartment offering her an old blue mountain bike fit for a teen. A couple of days later a middle-aged woman buzzed her intercom, asking if there was anything she could do to help, promising to bring her a new bike if she found one. Then a third person, who turned out to be an art dealer, showed up. He offered to buy the sign for $200. He’d posted an image of it on Instagram which had created a bit of a buzz.

Amanda  felt, “part of a wave of goodness that felt beautiful and real and inspiring. I realized I didn’t want it to just stop with me.”  She took the kid’s bike she’d been given to the local bike shop which they fixed up in return for her setting them up on Twitter and Instagram.  They posted a picture of it with the hashtag #karmacycle , offering it for free to  someone who needs it.


Since then her story has appeared in The Washington Post and she’s had TV coverage on CBS, Good Morning America and CBC. 

#Karmacycle has become a movement to take something bad and make it good. Amanda says that, “I hope that more people do little acts of of kindness that result in small moments for other people to feel good in our crazy world.”

You can follow Amanda on her blog, Real Tiny Trumpet.