Eyes closed, 10-year-old Daniel Cowboy patiently waited for his big surprise coming from the side door of the Anaheim Police Department’s presentation hall.
“Oh, wow,” he said as he opened his eyes to see the 26-inch green Schwinn mountain bike wheeled in by APD cadets.
Officer Sarah Shirvany shared with APD employees and officers there to see Daniel receive the new bike how heartbroken she felt for the young boy when she first met him after he’d had his bicycle stolen.
“I went outside to talk to Daniel and it broke my heart because he was so upset someone had taken his bike,” Shirvany said, adding that the bicycle was irreplaceable because it had been a gift from a relative.
The situation inspired Shirvany and others in the department to not only find a way to raise funds to purchase Daniel a new bike, but also to start a bike registration program at the agency.
“I’ve been here almost 15 years and we didn’t have a bike registration program,” said Karla Santillan, who works in the APD’s Traffic Office Administration.
Santillan said when she first started looking into a possible program, she did a computer system search and found about 200 bikes are reported stolen each year in Anaheim. And she knows the agency locates a lot of bikes. But without any kind of registration system in place, there was no way to match up recovered bikes with their owners.
Not until Daniel’s story inspired them to get a system up and running, that is.
“Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts,” Shirvany told Daniel. “You inspired us to do something great.”
After Daniel received the green (his favorite color) mountain bike with a lock (“We had to get you a nice, sturdy bike lock,” Shirvany said), Anaheim Fire & Rescue Chief Randy Bruegman presented Daniel with a bright-red bicycle helmet.
“Oh wow. Thank you,” Daniel told the chief.
The Aug. 9 presentation ended with Santillan bringing up the official bike registration forms for Daniel to fill out, making the boy the first to enter a bike in the program.
“Daniel, you are officially the very first person in the City of Anaheim to have their bike registered,” said Shirvany.
Daniel said, “I’m really happy that I got a new bike… I get to ride with my mom now.”
After the presentation, Daniel’s mom, Andrea, said her son was devastated when his bike was stolen one day during a visit to the library.
“He’s never had anything stolen from him in his entire life,” she said.
She was grateful to Shirvany and how she came out to talk to Daniel to help console him.
“She was just so nice,” Andrea said.
Standing happily with his new bike and helmet, Daniel graciously posed for photos and spoke to police officers, smiling brightly with his mom at his side. Daniel also met the cadets, who not only helped pick out the bike, but pitched in to purchase it.
“I’ll take good care of this,” Daniel told Shirvany.