APPLE VALLEY – An Apple Valley family is relieved to have a tricycle that reminded them of their deceased loved one back. The three-seater tricycle was given to Samantha Flores’ son, Blake by her younger brother — Blake’s uncle, just before he died.
Flores said that her brother, Kyle grew up with her kids since their mother died when he was only 9-years-old. Flores said she took on the mother role when their mother was no longer around to do so. She said that Kyle loved Blake, the youngest of her six children.
In December 2012, when Blake was only one-year-old, 18-year-old Kyle saw the tricycle at a garage sale and purchased it for him. He could not wait for Christmas to give his young nephew the gift so he gave it to him several days before Christmas. Kyle died on Christmas day after experimenting with ecstasy with friends.
Flores said for the years following Blake would talk about Kyle when he would ride his bike. “He always tells everyone his uncle Kyle gave him the tricycle,” said Flores. “ The tricycle was usually kept in the family’s garage but that evening everyone was tired so they left it out, where they felt it would be safe. At around 12:20 a.m. on August 6, 2016, Flores said her dogs were barking, so wearing only the long t-shirt she was sleeping in she went to check to see why.
Flores was shocked to see a woman, with long blonde hair, put the tricycle into her full-size truck and then getting into the truck to drive away. Helpless not knowing where to turn, Samantha posted on her Facebook page, then on Facebook groups and 24/7 Headline News also reached out for the community’s help on the family’s behalf.
The same day, Samantha got an anonymous tip but she was uncertain it was valid. With the tip, she received a name and an address so she drove by to see. She did not find anything of significance, so she went home and continued to share the story with the description of the woman and her truck everywhere.
Just when Flores began to lose all hope of ever receiving the tricycle back, she received a Facebook message from the woman who took the tricycle. The woman happened to be the same one that she received the tip about. The woman contacted her telling her that she believed it was left out for the trash that day.
“It truly was an honest mistake, if it wasn’t I would have never brought the bike back and publicly admitted to what I’ve done,” said Rebekah Ann Carroll. Carroll said that she has recently been through some traumatic events that have caused PTSD, leading her to a loss of income. She now picks up “curb alerts” and usable items people leave by their trash and sells them in order to survive.
“I’ve worked really hard my entire life and I don’t believe in sitting on welfare and collecting a check.” She wants people to know that she is not a bad person and she would never have taken the tricycle if she did not think that it was trash. Through her hardships she continues to help animal rescues and people in need, she said. “I want to publicly apologize to Samantha and her children,” added Carroll. “I can’t imagine the pain that Samantha went through looking at her little boy’s eyes and thinking about her brother and I would never cause anybody so much pain intentionally.”
When asked if she believed that the woman really thought it was trash, Flores said, “None of that really matters, I just want him to have his bike back. I’m not a vengeful person at all, in fact, more than anything I always try to see things from the other person’s perspective.” Flores said that she would like to thank the community for sharing the article and her posts, which helped to bring the very special tricycle back to her family. She also said that she would like to thank the woman, who she said was very apologetic and very kindly brought the tricycle back to her son.
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