SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - When someone stole a bicycle from a man who can neither hear nor speak, it was enough for some law enforcement officers to take a stand and help any way they could.
As a result, Wednesday morning found 72-year-old Wayne Willis showing KSLA News 12 his brand-new bike just delivered this week by Shreveport police officers.
It’s a happy ending to a story that began with someone taking Willis’ bike from outside a Line Avenue store Sunday.
“I had came over to bring him some food. And he says somebody had stolen his bike and he was so upset,” recalled Bobbie Yearling, a longtime family friend of Willis who checks up on him every day or so.
Just reporting the crime was a challenge.
Willis cannot hear or speak.
Officer Natalie Zweydoff responded to the call Sunday.
“So I looked for it throughout the shift and I couldn’t find it,” she said of the bicycle.
Zweydoff recalled how she then thought about the case all night.
The next morning, she spotted Officer Jessica Talley.
“I reached out to Talley and I said, ‘Hey, I think I’m going to go buy a bike today’.”
When they arrived with Willis’ new bike, they told him to cover his eyes.
“He was peeking. And so he, he just kept, like he kept writing down, ‘How much? How much?’ ‘No, it’s a gift. It’s a gift!’"
Willis’ gratitude was unmistakably apparent.
"He was ... It was heartwarming. Just gotta love it, his reaction. Yeah.”
Yearling had the very same reaction.
“I was just saying, ‘Oh, my God.’ I said, ‘Oh, God works mysterious, police bought him a bike?’”
The officers didn’t just replace his bicycle.
His new bike comes with some safety features — a ringer, lights for nighttime and .. a lock to help ensure no one can take his bicycle again.
Grateful doesn’t begin to describe how Willis feels, not letting KSLA News 12′s crew leave without a hug.