An Omaha father whose youngest daughter recently had her Hello Kitty bicycle stolen said Thursday that his family has been overwhelmed by offers to help replace the prized possession.
“This kind of thing happens in small towns all the time, so it's great to see it happens in our city as well,” Bill Morford said. “Hailey has been holding out hope that she will get her bike back because she worked for it, but we'll talk with her today and see if we can't push her toward allowing the Benson community help.”
Morford said his telephone “began blowing up” with offers of help after a story appeared in The World-Herald. The family also posted a Facebook message asking people in their Benson neighborhood to be on the look out for the bike that has been missing since Monday morning.
Morford said there were plenty of tears when 8-year-old Hailey discovered the bike had been stolen from the family's yard near the 3300 block of North 57th Street. Hailey was reduced to walking, her father said, because her old bike had already been donated to the Salvation Army.
“It was a pretty tough day for her,” he said.
When Hailey asked her parents for a Hello Kitty bike, the Morfords told her that she should help pay for it. They saw it as a way to teach their daughter the value of work and reward.
The 8-year-old agreed and spent 40 hours over two weeks pulling weeds, trimming bushes and doing other odd jobs for her family and neighbors to earn half the $100 needed to purchase the very pink and very distinctive bike.
Morford, a stone mason by trade, said he and his wife could replace the bike themselves, but they're encouraging Hailey to accept the Benson Neighborhood Association's offer of help. The Morfords want Hailey to learn how it feels to be on the receiving end of charity.
“Between me and my wife, we have 10 kids and Hailey is the youngest,” Morford said. “We're really strong on giving life lessons and we want to teach Hailey that good things and bad things happen in life. You have to learn to deal with it all as it comes.”