I don't know if you know this about me, but I love a good hunt, especially if it's for the benefit of someone else.
We looked at Craigslist for a bike, but there wasn't much there that was the right price. I told him about Freecycle, but there were no bikes currently posted. I knew it was a long shot, but I went ahead and posted a "wanted" ad there.
Lo and behold someone replied! What luck!
We set up a time to go and pick it up at a local school, and my friend and I arrived to find a man sitting in an SUV in the parking lot. Assuming it was the bike-owner, we approached him, and he got out to greet us. That's normal, right? So, I said something like, "Are you the person with the bike?" Then it got weird. He didn't know what I was talking about. Of course, I was a little embarrassed, so I jokingly asked what he was waiting for--as if maybe he was waiting on some special delivery too. He said he was just parked there. At a school parking lot at 7:00 at night with no one else around? Then he walked across the street to a house that he was apparently familiar with and started talking with someone there.
I couldn't figure out why he would have looked like he was expecting us and gotten out of his car to, as far as I could tell, talk with us. Then I started wondering if he was up to no good--like maybe he was the one who emailed me, posing as someone's wife, and he was hoping I'd come alone. We never did see the person with the bike, so we left.
When I got home, I emailed the person again, and thankfully, she responded saying that she had forgotten. We decided to try it again the next day (yesterday), and this time the woman did show up with the bike as planned.
The bike is totally functional, although it's a little small. I think it'll do just fine at least until my friend has the means to buy a bike of his choosing. The great thing about Freecycle is that if you end up not wanting the item, it's easy to just pass it on to the next person who might actually want it.
I feel good about this, not because I believe I deserve some pat on the back or something, but because it feels good to be rewarded for doing "the right thing." So often, I feel like I'm slapped in the face when I try to help someone, and I thought with the creepy SUV guy and everything that this was going to be one of those times. Instead, it makes me want to reach out more to discover what other answers and opportunities there are out there.