WINNIPEG — A man making a cross-country trek for charity has been stranded in Winnipeg after his bike was stolen.
Anas Cheema, an international student from Pakistan attending the University of Victoria, B.C., is biking across Canada to raise funds for SOS Children’s Villages.
He began on June 14 in Victoria, but the ride came to an end Wednesday night, just hours after he arrived in Winnipeg, when his bike was taken from the 800 block of Leila Avenue.
He left the bicycle outside unattended while he went into a restaurant to use the washroom, police said.
“The moment I came out, there was nothing there,” said Cheema. “I just ran around like crazy, I was just really shocked.”
It happened at the McDonald’s on Leila Avenue at around 10:30 Wednesday night. Winnipeg police are now investigating.
“Bikes need to be secured. They shouldn’t be left unattended at any time,” said Constable Jason Michalyshen. “But we know Winnipeggers want to help out people in a situation like this.”
But Cheema’s luck is turning — a good Samaritan gave him a place to stay until he gets back on his bike.
“He had come in for the Winnipeg Folk Festival and I felt so bad that that was his introduction to Winnipeg,” said Allison Doerksen.
During Cheema’s interview with Global News, another generous Winnipegger called him, offering to help.
“Someone offered me their bike,” said Cheema, with the biggest smile on his face.
Cheema isn’t blaming Winnipeg. In fact, he says the true Winnipeg spirit is what he’ll remember the most from his trip.
“I really feel blessed in a lot of ways because I’m not from here,” said Cheema. “People don’t know me but still people are so kind and generous to me.”
Cheema had hoped to leave Winnipeg Friday but now must wait until he has enough money and equipment before he can move on.
The bike is described as a touring bike with a dark blue frame and silver accents, with “Napoli” written on the frame, two rear saddlebags and one mounted on the front. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 204-986-2848.
If you can help Cheema, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or donate to his cause at www.youcaring.com/takemehome.
You can find out more about Cheema’s ride on his Facebook page, or watch his YouTube video: