Paying forward: Man with cerebral palsy donates bike to disabled Murray man whose bike was stolen last week
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SANDY — Tony Sudweeks was matter of fact about his generosity.
After Gerald "Chip" Romney's three-wheeler recumbent bike was stolen - for the third time - from his residence last week, Sudweeks volunteered his as a replacement. "We got to help each other," he said.
"Oh man, that is so nice," said Romney, who cannot ride a two-wheel bicycle because he lacks balance after a traumatic brain injury suffered during childhood.
When Sudweeks learned of the theft on a story on ksl.com, he reached out to Romney and his family. Sudweeks, who has cerebral palsy, said he hadn't ridden his bike for a couple of years because he drives a car.
"If he wants it for FREE, I can give it to him," Sudweeks wrote in a comment responding to a ksl.com story by Dennis Romboy of the Deseret News.
On a broiling hot July afternoon, the giver and the recipient met outside Sudweeks home for the exchange.
Romney's mother, April Humphries, brushed back tears as the two men exchanged pleasantries and Sudweeks offered her son his three wheeler.
Humphries said others had offered their help, too. Someone left a note on Chip's door offering assistance. A woman had offered Humphries cash toward the purchase of new bike. There were other emails that Humphries had not yet had a chance to read.
"The joyful thing about this is, it's someone who's been there and walked the walk himself. It makes it sweeter," she said.
Romney, who graduated from Alta High School and BYU-Hawaii, suffered a traumatic brain injury at age 11 when a wooden flagpole he was swinging on cracked and hit his head. He was in a coma for six weeks and doctors gave his family little chance of recovering.
And this happened after his father had died of cancer, when the boy was 8 years old.
But Romney has an optimistic spirit that has buoyed him through many challenges, his mother says. "He's just got this fun spirit. Everybody who comes in contact with him loves him. He's such a magnet," Humphries said.
Romney's sister, Quinn Silcox, said she was deeply moved by Sudweeks' kindness. "There's really no sweeter soul than my brother. He's had a lot of things happen to him. It's great to see the good in other people."
Romney works parttime as an LDS Institute of Religion teacher for special-needs students in Granite School District.
Sudweeks said he was impressed by all that Romney had accomplished, particularly graduating from college. In turn, Romney said Sudweeks was a hero for his generosity, for living independently and operating his own refuse hauling business.
Not only did Sudweeks provide a new ride to Romney, Silcox said he gave a life lesson to her three children.
"Thank you for doing this for my brother," she said.
"Absolutely, Sudweeks said. "Some day, I might need someone to help me."
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