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A Bike for Jayden

Jayden's BikeCaitlin Fewell’s heart ached when she returned from work one afternoon and her son, Jayden, 8, said to her, “Mom, robbers took my bike.” While Caitlin was at work and Jayden at school, someone had crept onto their porch and stolen Jayden’s bike.

Jayden was visibly upset and, he struggled to understand why someone would take his bike. Caitlin had a hard time explaining to Jayden why someone would do something so cruel. “As much as we try to keep our children from seeing the negativity in this world, acts like this make it very difficult,” said Caitlin.

Instead of being angry or hateful, Caitlin encouraged Jayden to pray for the people who stole his bike. Jayden did this, but he asked his mom if they could go buy a new bike right away. Caitlin explained that they would have to wait. With Jayden’s birthday coming up in the following days, Caitlin planned to save and buy him a new bike as his birthday gift.

As Caitlin and Jayden went about their afternoon, Caitlin couldn’t shake the hurt she’d seen in her son’s eyes. She posted on social media about the incident, and her co-workers at South State’s Rock Hill Ebenezer branch saw the post.

The next morning, Caitlin arrived at work and shared with her teammates what a difficult afternoon she and her son experienced. Little did she know, her co-workers were already hatching a plan – they decided to come together to help Caitlin and Jayden.

As Caitlin finished her work day, her co-workers asked her to stay at the branch a little longer. Kevin Blackwood, Regional President of the Piedmont Region, and John Pearson, Commercial Banker, came to the branch with a surprise for a Caitlin – a brand new bike for Jayden. Tears streamed down her face as Caitlin’s co-workers presented her with Jayden’s new bike as well as a helmet, a tire pump and a bike lock.

With the bike in her back seat, Caitlin headed home to share the special news with Jayden. Caitlin asked Jayden to come outside to see his birthday surprise from her co-workers. Jayden was delighted that his mom’s co-workers thought of him on his birthday, and he said, “Oh – I know it’s a birthday cake!” As Caitlin opened the car door and revealed the new bike in her back seat, Jayden was in utter shock. His shock quickly faded to pure excitement as they pulled the bike out of the car, and he took it for a ride. “He had the brightest smile on his face,” said Caitlin. “He asked me the name of every person who contributed to his new bike.” The sadness Caitlin had seen on Jayden’s face just one day before was now replaced by exuberance, a look she credits to her teammates.

“My co-workers are absolutely unbelievable,” said Caitlin. “What a great lesson that even though there are bad people in this world, there are also really good people, and I am proud to say that I work with some pretty amazing people.”

The kindness and compassion of her teammates made a lasting impression on Caitlin and Jayden. “This is something my family and I will remember forever.”

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