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Free mobile: locals gift Vancouver man with scooter after theft

Columbian.com reader organized campaign to replace man's stolen mode of transportation

By , Columbian Breaking News Reporter
Published:
4 Photos
Lynn Arthur of Vancouver, left, bows his head in a prayer of gratitude after receiving a new scooter Thursday morning from Ken Stryker, also of Vancouver. Arthur had his original scooter stolen when it died as he was driving home from running some errands. Local residents donated enough money to get him a new set of wheels and Stryker delivered the new scooter to him.
Lynn Arthur of Vancouver, left, bows his head in a prayer of gratitude after receiving a new scooter Thursday morning from Ken Stryker, also of Vancouver. Arthur had his original scooter stolen when it died as he was driving home from running some errands. Local residents donated enough money to get him a new set of wheels and Stryker delivered the new scooter to him. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

The 79-year-old Vancouver man who had his electric scooter stolen last week on Mill Plain Boulevard had a gift delivered to him Thursday morning — a brand new set of wheels.

Ken Stryker read the article published on columbian.com on Tuesday, and decided to take action. Stryker said he lives a five-minute drive from where the scooter theft happened. He was surprised by the incident.

“I can’t imagine this happened so close,” Stryker said.

He decided to ask other readers in the comments section of the article if they’d be willing to pull together enough money to get Lynn Arthur a new scooter. It took about two hours to get the money needed.

On Jan. 12, Arthur was headed home from running a couple errands when his electric scooter died, and he had to leave it where it stopped. He just crossed the Interstate 205 overpass on Mill Plain Boulevard when the Drive Spitfire Scout scooter, his main means of transportation, ran out of juice.

After getting to his apartment, Arthur was able to reach people who agreed to retrieve the scooter. But by the time they got there, it had been stolen. He reported the theft to police but said Thursday that there has been no update on its recovery. And no tips from Vancouver residents.

“Not a word,” he said.

Arthur has glaucoma and partial visual impairment. He used the scooter for two years to get to places near his home and otherwise rides the bus to get around.

Last week, he was optimistic the scooter would be returned. Now, he no longer has to worry about it thanks to Stryker and nine other donors.

Stryker gave $360. Green Training USA, a certification training business, offered up $100. Former Vancouver City Councilor Jack Burkman also donated $100. Others handed over $100 to $10.

“Once (the donations) got going, I quickly stopped focusing on what happened and realized something good that will come out of it,” he said.

Stryker is the president of Blaze Restoration, an independent contractor that he characterized as an advocate for homeowners whose properties are damaged in things like fires.

The 28-year-old was raised in a military family who ingrained in him the importance of volunteerism and giving back to the community. He said he was both surprised and not surprised people quickly stepped in to help Arthur.

Parked outside the Sterling Heights apartment building where Arthur lives, Stryker unloaded the disassembled scooter from the back seat of his truck. Within a minute, he’d put it together and was wheeling it into Arthur’s living room.

Stryker then provided a rundown of the scooter — two-year warranty, two keys, some attachment placements — and a list of the donors and comments they’d left for Arthur.

“For Lynn Arthur’s scooter. I see him ride all the time near my house,” wrote Angie Leong.

Arthur asked Stryker what church he attended, and the two men prayed together.

Arthur thanked God for the willingness of strangers to help him out, and also offered some kinds words for the scooter thieves, lamenting that he made mistakes when he was younger and understands the person or persons who took it may be in a difficult situation.

When asked how the donation made him feel, he said, “It’s awesome.”

“You see the good and the bad. It’s the way the world has always been.”

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Columbian Breaking News Reporter