Amanda loved being a cop because it gave her the opportunity to help people in her community. When her friend’s bike was stolen, she embarked on her own private investigation, and after a lot of hard work was able to bring a smile to her friend’s face.
Achieving A Dream
Amelia had always wanted to be a police officer. When she was sworn in after completing the academy, she remembered how the other kids had laughed at her when she told them what she wanted to be when she grew up.
Both her parents had been there and looked like they were fit to burst with pride. When Amelia had put on her uniform for the first time, with a badge on her chest and a gun on her hip, she felt like she was finally complete.
Some people become cops because they like the uniform and the car, some because they have a strong sense of justice. Some are just looking for a stable profession. Amelia was interested in all of those things, but mainly she wanted to be a cop so she could help people.
Growing up, she’d watch movies and feel angry when the bad guys broke the law, and feel sympathy for people who had suffered at the hands of criminals. Watching these things was always somehow frustrating for her – she always wanted to be there, comforting the victims and putting handcuffs on the bad guys.
Now, after she had been on the force for a couple of years, she had never regretted the path that she’d taken. Generally, life was quiet in Sarasota. Her average day consisted of…well there was no such thing as an average day as a police officer. That’s why she liked it. Her shifts were 8 hours long, and could start in the morning, afternoon, or evening.
She would begin her shift by checking that her uniform and equipment was all in order, and then report to the station for roll-call, which could last around half an hour.
If there were no special assignments, she would jump into her patrol car and drive around the town, keeping her eyes peeled for possible law-breakers. It could be something simple like a traffic violation such as speeding, a busted headlight, or an illegally parked car.
It could be something more hazardous, like breaking up an altercation outside a bar. Sometimes a call would come over the radio calling her to the scene of a traffic accident, and she would arrive and do whatever her superior asked of her – direct traffic, interview witnesses, help the casualties until the EMTs arrive.
Heart Of Gold
But the main thing that Amelia liked to do was to help people. At a traffic accident she was generally the one giving first-aid to the casualties. When breaking up an altercation, she was the one talking to the people involved and helping them to find a peaceful resolution, and she would refuse to leave until they had shaken hands.
When she stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation, she always listened sympathetically to the stories of the drivers, and she would let them go without a ticket if she felt that their excuses were genuine.
If she saw a person in a wheelchair struggling to get up a ramp, she’d stop her car to get out and help. If she saw someone stopped by the side of the road, she’d stop to see if they were ok.
If she was called out to help settle a dispute among neighbors – which might be about a dog pooping where it shouldn’t or someone parking in an inconsiderate manner – she would almost always find a middle ground which made everyone happy. Her colleagues laughed at her for being so soft-hearted, but Amelia didn’t care.
Benefits Of The Job
There were perks to the job too, because the people of the community appreciated their police. One of these perks was that a coffee place which Amelia liked gave discounts to people in uniform. She’d go there most days to get herself coffee.
Obviously, she got to know all the people who worked there, but there was one in particular who Amelia liked to talk to. Her name was Jessica, and she had an interesting life.
A Modest Life
Over the years, from their brief conversations held while Amelia was buying coffee, Amelia learned that Jessica was married and lived with her husband a few miles away from the shop. Jessica’s husband was unemployed because of an injury and the couple survived on the money that Jessica made at the coffee shop.
So they weren’t the wealthiest of people to say the least. They didn’t even have a car – apparently, Jessica had been forced to sell it because they couldn’t afford to get it repaired.
I Like To Ride
Jessica would cycle to work. Her bicycle was her pride and joy. It was an old bike but Jessica had made improvements and upgrades to it over the years, so that it rode like a dream. Amelia knew about this because sometimes Jessica would talk about it – adding a new feature to the bike or exchanging an old part was something of a highlight to Jessica’s life.
Anyway, Jessica used the bike every day to get to work, to go shopping, and to get home. She lived about three miles away from her job.
It came to pass that one day Amelia came into the coffee shop and saw that Jessica was smiling like the Cheshire Cat. Amelia asked her how she was, and Jessica blurted out that she was pregnant. Amelia was very happy for her friend, because she knew how much Jessica wanted to raise a family.
Amelia gave her a hug, took her coffee and left. The rest of her day was fairly uneventful, but that evening she was to receive a visit to the station that she’d never forget.
A Surprising Visitor
At the end of every shift, Amelia had to spend time at her desk at the police station writing up reports on the things that she’d done during the day. It was a small station, so visitors would be received by whoever was available.
That evening, when Amelia heard the door open and looked up, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. She immediately jumped up and went over to the front desk, concerned for the visitor, who was in tears.
It was Jessica, sobbing her eyes out. Amelia came round from the desk and put her arm around her shoulders, wondering if something had happened to her baby, or to her husband. Between sobs, Jessica managed to get the words out – someone had stolen her bicycle.
Amelia was stunned. Who would steal the bicycle of a pregnant woman? Jessica said that she thought it was a customer, someone who she’d never seen before. He’d bought something, left the shop and taken the bike.
Amelia couldn’t believe that such a thing could happen in their community. She took an incident report out of the drawer and sat with Jessica to fill it out. As she worked her way through the form, her sadness grew as she realized that there wouldn’t be much that the police could do in this situation.
The bicycle was an old, second-hand bike which had almost no retail value at all, and it wasn’t insured or even registered in Jessica’s name – she’d never felt the need.
They went to the coffee shop and looked at the CCTV cameras, and saw that Jessica was right – it was a customer who had taken the bike and rode it away. However, it was someone from out of town who nobody recognized and he paid with cash, so there was little the police department could do to track him down.
It was really hard for Amelia to tell Jessica that she couldn’t help her get her bike back. Jessica understood, but she was still heartbroken.
Where Is She?
Two days later, Amelia pulled the morning shift and went to get a coffee. She didn’t see Jessica in the shop, which was strange because she usually worked that day. She was about to ask another employee why she wasn’t there when Jessica walked into the shop, looking exhausted.
She hurried to the back, apologizing to the manager as she went. Amelia hung around for a bit until she came on shift and she asked her how things were going.
Worse Than She Though
Jessica told her that she’d walked to work that day, and she hadn’t given herself enough time. She had had to half-jog most of the way otherwise she would have been really late.
Amelia asked her why she didn’t buy another bike, and Jessica told her that in a couple of months she might be able to, but at the moment – what with the baby and visits to the doctor and such – she couldn’t afford it.
Suffering Of A Friend
She told Amelia that she enjoyed walking, but Amelia knew that this was just Jessica putting on a brave face. She left the coffee shop and went about her day, but she couldn’t get her mind of Jessica’s plight.
The woman was pregnant and had to support her husband, and soon she wouldn’t be able to work anymore. She didn’t think it was right for her to have to walk six miles every day. But what could she do?
No Help From The Authorities
She decided to go to her boss to see if there really was no way to catch the person who’d taken Jessica’s bike. When she told him about the case he was very dismissive. He said that they wouldn’t waste resources investigating something which wasn’t worth any money.
Amelia told him that it belonged to a pregnant woman who needed it to get to work – but he was unmoved. Amelia realized that she wasn’t going to get any official help – she started her own investigation.
A Closer Look
She went back to the coffee shop when Jessica wasn’t working and looked at the footage again. The video was grainy and black and white, but she could see that the man was wearing a hat and looked suspicious from the start.
He had looked at the bike for a full minute, checking it from every angle, before he even went into the shop. Once inside, he purchased a small bottle of soda – not the usual thing that someone buys from such a place.
Then he exited the premises and very casually got on the bike and cycled away. It wasn’t locked up because Jessica never thought that someone would steal it, and anyway it was always placed in full view of the shop counter.
Jessica just hadn’t been looking at that moment because she hadn’t expected a customer to do something like that. Using her phone, Jessica took the clearest picture of the man that she could and walked back to her patrol car.
Canvassing The Neighborhood
She continued her day, but showed the picture to every person she met, asking if they recognized the man. Work permitting, she went into every business she could to ask employees and owners if they had ever seen him before.
The first business that she entered on the first day was the Salvation Army. She showed the owners the picture – no dice. Next she went to the hamburger place next door, but no luck there either. Then she got a call on her radio and had to move out.
Over the next week she asked dozens of people if they recognized the man who took Jessica’s bike, but nobody seemed to know him. It was strange – maybe he was from out of town. Amelia found herself in the coffee shop again, and she could see Jessica looking absolutely exhausted.
Amelia felt terrible that she couldn’t do anything to bring her justice. But as she was turning the facts around in her mind, she suddenly she realized that she’d seen something at the Salvation Army a few days before that could help.
Rushing Back To The Shop
She paid for her coffee and rushed out of the shop. She’d have to move fast if she wanted to get to what she’d seen before anybody took it. She jumped into her car, closed the door, and put the pedal to the metal. She pulled up outside the Salvation Army store with a screech of her tires, and burst through the door. The owner looked up in surprise.
Amelia asked him if he remembered her coming in a week before, and he said yes. Then she told him what she planned to do, and he smiled.
Back At The Coffee Shop
Meanwhile, Jessica was at work. Behind her smile she felt depressed. Her feet were sore from walking miles every day on top of working standing up. She was already exhausted and it was only going to get harder, as the child in her womb got bigger. She’d gone to the police about her bike but they didn’t do anything – even that nice policewoman Amelia couldn’t help her.
But just as she was thinking that, who should appear at the counter but Ameria herself, wearing a big grin on her face. She asked Jessica to come outside to see a development in her case. Jessica followed her out the door and gasped.
A New Bicycle
There in the street was a bicycle – but it wasn’t hers. Jessica began to tell Amelia that she appreciated the help but that wasn’t her bike – when Amelia said something which really shocked her. This new bike was for Jessica!
Amelia told Jessica that she hadn’t been able to track down her bike, but she saw a perfect new bicycle at the Salvation Army store and decided to buy it for Jessica out of her own pocket. Jessica burst into tears, which set Amelia off too. The best thing? Amelia also bought her a bike lock.