William Lynn Weaver (WLW)
WLW: I remember walking up the street Christmas Eve and I see this kid riding down the street on their bicycle and I say, ’Boy, that looks like my brother’s bike.’ I get to the house and say, ’Wayne, where’s your bike?’ And he said, ’It was down on the steps.’ I said, ’No it’s not. It’s gone.’
It’s a small neighborhood so we find out where the kid lives who has the bike and it’s a shack in an alley. Now, my brother and I, we’re going to beat this boy but my father was there and he said, ’Just shut up and let me talk.’
So we knock on the door and this old black guy comes on a cane. The house was cold; the only light he had was a candle. It was his grandson who had stolen the bike, so he calls him out. He was the same age as my brother, about ten years old. The little boy starts crying and he says, ’I just wanted something for Christmas.’ So we get the bike and we leave. We go back to my house.
My father tells my mother and she doesn’t say anything. She just starts cutting the turkey in half and all the fixings. She started packing it up. My father went to the coal yard and got a big bag of coal. And then he told my brother, he said, ’You’ve got another bike, don’t you?’ My brother said, ’Yeah…’
So we went back with food, coal — so they’d have some heat — and the bike. The little boy is just crying but the thing that moved me the most was the old man. My father gave him $20, which was a huge deal back then, and said, ’Merry Christmas.’ He said, ’Thank you,’ and then just broke down in tears.
My father was a chauffeur; my mother was a domestic, so we didn’t have a lot of stuff. And that Christmas, I don’t even remember what gift I got but I do know that made me feel better than any Christmas I’ve ever had.