An American visitor whose motorcycle was stolen from a plaza parking lot on Ropewalk Lane Monday evening has received an outpouring of support from locals and businesses and should be on her way home in a matter of days.
Molly Nelson, a 47-year-old farmer from Maine who left a key in the ignition of her 2009 Yamaha TW 200 while she visited a tattoo parlour, said she has received about 30 phone calls from individuals and businesses after local media began reporting her misfortune on Tuesday.
Most of those who have contacted her have offered to help replace the gear that was not recovered when Nelson’s bike was found Tuesday evening chained to a fence in a nearby neighbourhood.
“A bike repair shop gave me a new rain suit, and a few mechanics have offered to fix the bike for free if there’s any damage. I even got a bottle of moose meat and a jar of blueberry jam,” she laughed.
Among those who called Nelson was 47-year-old Tammy Perry of St. John’s, a member of local online motorcycle forum RideTheRock.com.
“I just finished a motorcycle trip myself,” she said. “We’re the same age, both have kids, and when I read the story online I was thinking to myself, if this had happened to me I can’t imagine what I’d have done.”
In turn, a group of Perry’s friends from the bike community organized a ride to Bergs in C.B.S. Wednesday evening where they ate ice cream and collected more than $200 to help Nelson cover the cost of replacing her stolen belongings.
“Somebody posted the story online ... and then it was just this huge influx of support,” said Perry. “And then I gave Molly a call ... and people started emailing me money and things.”
Nelson’s bike is still in the custody of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC), but she will be able to pick it up as early as today, she said. In the meantime, Nelson’s husband is sending a new licence plate and the spare key from their hometown of Cornish.
Because of the support she’s received, the adventurer said she may still be able to complete her trip, including a ride through Labrador. But leaving St. John’s will be all the more difficult now.
“I feel like St. John’s is a second home and I’m gonna have to come back. I’ve got like 20 buddies to visit at this point,” she laughed. “I’m gonna tell all my farming friends that this is the place to move to.”
Equally as compassionate as the support she’s received from the community is Nelson’s own attitude toward the perpetrator, who she hopes doesn’t end up in prison.
“I don’t believe in caging people,” she said. “Whoever this person is ... it’s all of our responsibility if this guy’s in this condition for this to happen.
“I just feel compassion for this guy, honestly, because something’s going on where he’s not getting what he needs, and that usually goes right back to the way our society is set up ... and that’s all of us as humans’ fault. Yes, this is a bummer, and yes, I have to take a few breaths and accept it, maybe cry a little and move on, but what’s really amazing is that I turned a point a couple of hours ago ... and said, you know what, what’s going on right now is better than if (the bike) didn’t get stolen.
“A couple of days ago I was about ready to throw up with nervousness and panic and had to get myself to calm down, and now I’m like, this is friggin’ sweet because look at all these people,” she said excitedly.
“I never believed in humiliating people, and I just hope this guy gets help instead of (being) shunned even more.”
The RNC could not be reached for comment on the case by press time.