INDIANAPOLIS — It is a simple green bike: two tires, a seat and some handlebars. But to 35-year-old John Wessel, this bike was a lifeline, a way for him to get to work every day to support his three kids.
"I gotta do what I gotta do for my family. That’s the only way I know," John said.
For John, that's meant biking more than two miles to work at the federal courthouse downtown where he’s a custodian. His work is contracted through Goodwill, who's actually John's employer.
"I like it here. People look out for you here," John said.
The Tech High School grad found that out last month, after a group of security guards, who also work at the courthouse, pitched in and bought John a new bike after someone stole the one he had chained up outside.
"They just out of their kindness gave it to me," John said.
Not even a month later though, the same thing happened again. This time, cameras captured a picture of the person police say took John’s second bike, but police say they haven't tracked that person down yet.
"I should be able to work and don’t have to worry about somebody taking a bike," John said.
For several weeks after John's second bike was stolen, he walked to work, remembering something his father wrote him in a letter before he passed away.
“He said, 'I'm going to let you go, but realize you got to take care of your family,'" John said.
In November, John got some help with that when Matthews’s Bicycle Shop in Lawrence heard about what happened and stepped in, gifting John with a new bicycle.
"They didn't have to go do that, but they did it anyway, cause they wanted to be nice," John said.
John’s hoping the third time's a charm. The courthouse has agreed to let him park his new bicycle inside the garage, so it won’t be a target anymore.
Bike or not though, nothing was going to stop John from following his dad’s advice.
"I'm doing what he asked me to do, is take care of my family. That's all I can do," John said.
Turns out, that was enough for others to want to take care of John too.
"When you do the right thing, people will look out for you," John said.