CIBC staff, customers help raise $610 to replace Ajax man's stolen bike

Pio Marasigan, 83, was heartbroken when some made off with his bike left in front of an Ajax CIBC branch. It was his only means of transportation. But bank staff and customers and the community decided to pitch in and help.

$610 raised in 24 hours for new bike and lock

Pio Marasigan, 83, stopped at his local CIBC branch for a few moments. When he returned to where he left his bike, it was gone. A thief had made off with his sole means of transportation. (Pelin Sidki/CBC)

When thieves took Pio Marasigan's only means of transportation, he learned two valuable lessons: always lock your bike and never underestimate the kindness of your community.

Last Tuesday around noon, Marasigan, 83, left his bike outside his local CIBC branch on Harwood Road in Ajax.

"I leave bike here I go there and there," said Marasigan, pointing at the large glass window at the front of the bank and then inside where the tellers are.

Nora Burns, manager of the CIBC branch on Harwood Road in Ajax, says customers were so moved by Marasigan's plight they set up a fund. Within 24-hours, staff, customers and the community had raised enough to buy him a replacement bicycle. (Pelin Sidki/CBC)

A few minutes later when he returned, it was gone.

"I said, 'Oh what happened to my bike?' I'm crying, I'm crying," said Marasigan, who is originally from the Philippines.

What would be an inconvenience to most people was more than that to him. That bicycle was his only means of getting around. The theft was reported and an officer took his statement and drove him home, but police had few leads.

When many of the bank staff and fellow customers saw what had happened, some were so moved they sprung into action.

"One of the clients saw how distraught he was and posted it on their local Facebook page," said Nora Burns, the manager of the Harwood Road CIBC.

"The response was immediate. Within 24-hours we'd collected $610. The community were coming in dropping off money. One even offered to drive him anywhere he needed to go."

Marasigan, who likes to be called 'Mr. Pio,' says the community's help has him feeling very blessed and grateful. (Pelin Sidki/CBC)

Marasigan, or Mr. Pio as he likes to be called, is a well known local character. People see him on his bike almost daily on the streets of the community.

And he's been a customer at the Harwood CIBC location for 24-years.

"In such a short time, it was so wonderful how many people came forward they wanted to be a part of it. And they just wanted to give and get him a bike and give him his independence back " Burns said.

"I was the one who had the privilege to call him and tell him. He had tears. We saw sad tears when his bike was stolen and happy ones when he came back."  

Burns personally took him to the local Canadian Tire where he tried almost every adult bicycle in the store before settling on a red Schwinn mountain bike. There was even enough for a basket and a lock.

'Mr. Pio' takes his new ride for a spin. Notice the new lock in the basket. (Pelin Sidki/CBC)

"I'm so happy. I'm so happy. It's so great. I'm in heaven. Nice. Nice," said Marasigan. "Thank you, Lord and all the staff and customers of CIBC. And the community."