LANCASTER, S.C. -- Children in Lancaster have been robbed of a Christmas miracle after thieves stole bikes that were supposed to be donated to needy families.
Every year, Gonzie Mackey refurbishes old bikes and donates them to children who need them in the community. But now that the bikes have been stolen for a third time, he’s struggling to make sure those kids aren’t left with nothing.
“What really put me in the hole is they took all the stuff we had worked so hard for,” Mackey said.
His small repair shop is humble and quiet. But Santa’s workshop can come in many forms.
“My goal this year is to give out 100 bikes, and I promise you, I promise you that’s going to happen,” he said.
Since 2013, Mackey donated around 200 bikes to families who couldn’t afford Christmas presents.
“Knowing they need it, knowing they appreciate it is a feeling I can’t explain,” he said. “It didn’t have to be a perfect bike, it’s just a bicycle. And that’s enough.”
But this year, a huge setback.
Thieves broke in and stole 30 finished bikes. And this is the third time it’s happened. Last time, they were sold to a junkyard for parts.
“I thought about saying that’s it, I’m not going to do this anymore,” Mackey said.
But the thought of all those children with nothing on Christmas morning was too much to bear.
“I decided I’m not going to let that beat me,” he insisted. “I don’t care if I only have one bike to give to one child that needs that bike, I’ve done exactly what [God] wanted me to do.”
Community members in Lancaster have donated enough bikes to replace the ones that were stolen. On Wednesday, someone donated a storage unit so Mackey can lock up the bikes to avoid theft in the future.