Community members replace longtime Publix employee’s stolen electric bike

Reporter: Nicole Gabe Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Publix employee Dan Smith stands with his new electric bike Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. Community members pitched in along with Pedego Electric Bikes in Fort Myers to replace Smith’s bike that was recently stolen. Credit: WINK News.

Turning a bad situation into an act of kindness, a longtime Publix employee had his electric bike stolen while working his shift recently. Although to some it’s only a bike, for the local worker it’s much more. We learned what community members did for him, someone who who is a stranger to them.

Dan Smith has been a Publix employee for 20 years, and he relies on his electric bike to get to and from work.

Smith’s bike was stolen after a recent his shift, and that didn’t sit well with the community. So good Samaritans pitched in with Pedego Electric Bikes in Fort Myers and surprised him with a new electric bike.

“It’s good to know that there are a lot of people that cared and touched a lot of people, and that cared enough to help me in my time of need,” Smith said.

Community members made sure Smith also had some security for his bike in case thieves return again.

“Just in to be sure, we brought two locks,” Skip Badalato said.

Lisa and Skip Badalato, the owners of Pedego in Fort Myers, say they made sure to supply Smith with all the accessories for his new ride.

“We were glad that he wasn’t without it for too long,” Lisa said. “And we were able to act quickly. He had the bike very quickly, and now he has a better bike.”

But it’s not just a bike. Smith’s mom, Libby, says the new wheels restored her son’s confidence and independence.

“I know he’ll never forget this, and neither will I,” Libby said. “It’s probably the best thing that’s ever happened in my life.”

Smith’s new Pedego Interceptor costs just under $3,000. The community donated $1,200 of it.

“Oh, it’s a very beautiful bike,” Smith said. “Thank you very much.”

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