As a 14-year-old boy, Michael Myers’ ticket to burgeoning independence could be found while pedaling around town on his bike. Recently, that almost came to an end when the Turlock High freshman was struck by a car while riding his bike to school.
Michael escaped from the encounter relatively unscathed physically, but his bike was a crumpled mess.
“I was worried about him, and he was worried about his bike,” said Michael’s mother Patricia Zapien.
“He was really worried about his bike,” said Turlock Fire Capt. Frank Saldivar. “He was saying it was his only transportation to school and that his mom worked out of town and had to leave early.”
Michael’s predicament struck a chord among the firefighters responding to the call and a decision was made to use some funds from their Random Acts of Kindness program to help the teen out.
“We decided we would buy him a new bike,” Saldivar said.
“When Frank called me and told me what they were going to do for my son, I thought it was such a blessing,” Zapien said. “Michael was super happy when he got the news.”
A day later they met at Cycle Masters in Turlock and Michael immediately spotted the bike he wanted. It was a model that BMX does for breast cancer awareness, which has a special connection for Zapien and her son.
“My grandmother and Michael’s great-grandmother fought and beat breast cancer twice,” Zapien said. “She has since passed, but she was very special to both of us and having this particular bike really means a lot to him.”
The Random Acts of Kindness program is managed by Turlock Firefighters Local 2434 and is primarily funded through their fill the boot fundraiser. They use the funds periodically through the year to help out people in need, as well as community programs, like the annual Christmas parade. All the money donated stays in Turlock.
“We really like to work with our local businesses like Cycle Masters when we are making purchases for people,” Saldivar said.
The bike also came with two accessories — a lock and a helmet.
“He would tell me that helmets looked dorky, but when he got hit, even though the car wasn’t going very fast, it completely went over him,” Zapien said. “He was under the car and he said the only thing that saved his head was his backpack. So, now he is wearing his helmet.”