By Ken MacLeod


LAWRENCE (CBS) — Bob Kemp was riding his new bike Wednesday evening in Lawrence. The bike was bought for him by strangers.

“I can’t believe how great they are,” he says softly.

He’s talking about Melissa and Laura Vanderveer of Nashua, New Hampshire.

“Well I didn’t think it would make the news or anything,” says Laura. “We were just trying to be nice.”

Bob Kemp riding his new bike (WBZ-TV)

Kemp is a 55-year-old disabled Army Vet who can hardly hear. His bike was the only transportation he and his fiancée had for family errands. She is caring for an autistic daughter.

“No car at the moment,” says Liz Juliano. “So that makes it hard.”

On Saturday, Kemp rode to the Dollar Store a couple of blocks away to pick up some reading glasses. Thinking he’d be inside only for a minute or two, he didn’t lock up the bike. When he came out it was gone.

Melissa and Laura Vanderveer (WBZ-TV)

“I don’t steal,” Kemp says. “That’s pathetic. I don’t care if it’s for drugs or what the excuse is.”

There are surveillance cameras outside the store, and Kemp’s effort to get a peek at the video earned a caution.

“They don’t want me to be a vigilante,” he said.

Indeed, he’d rather focus on what Melissa and Laura did when they saw Kemp’s plight posted on a Facebook page that often calls attention to the struggles of veterans.

“They serve out country and protect us,” says Melissa Vanderveer. “They fight for our freedom so it’s time to help them out.”

Bob Kemp (WBZ-TV)

So this couple raising four young boys themselves spent $150 to get a new bike just like the stolen one – for a man they’d never met.

“It’s just nice to make somebody smile,” says Laura. “We try to do good.”

“I feel like I’ve been blessed,” Kemp says, “because I didn’t expect that to happen. I really didn’t.”

“Very nice,” says his fiancée. “There are still nice people in the world.”

Kemp has new lock for his new bike, and plans to use it. But for now, it will spend overnights in his kitchen.

Ken MacLeod

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