9-year-old philanthropist surprised with bike after theft

Watch A nine-year-old bike theft victim who has spent his childhood giving to others is surprised with a gift that leaves him speechless.

Andrei Marti isn’t your typical nine-year-old.

The young man from Victoria is heading into grade five but his resume, and his accomplishments would suggest he graduated from high school years ago.

How many Vancouver Island elementary students have raised thousands of dollars for charity busking in downtown Victoria?

“Andrei embodies what’s good in the world,” says Craig Smith with Help Fill A Dream Foundation.

Marti was put on Smith’s radar back in 2015 when he learned the young boy was living with Type 1 Diabetes. At the time, Marti’s parents were facing rising medical bills paying for the cost of Marti’s treatment.

Marti, who was six at the time, wanted a bike for Christmas but his parents didn’t know if they would be able to afford one.

Help Fill A Dream made Marti’s Christmas wish come true.

Fast-forward four years and Marti’s bike is gone. Last week, during a spike in bike thefts in Victoria, Marti had two bikes stolen.

“I started crying first and I was really surprised, like who would do this,” Marti says.

Smith was shocked.

“He’s about giving back and to have something like that happen to him seems a bit unfair.”

News of the theft spread around the community eventually reaching Alex Campbell, the owner of Flying Squirrel in Victoria.

Campbell decided he wanted to fix the heartbreaking situation and decided to orchestrate a surprise.

During a recent trip to the trampoline park, Marti was told he broke a safety rule and was directed to the staff office.

Inside the office, a two-wheel surprise left him speechless.

“I didn’t talk for like a minute because I didn’t even know what to say,” he says.

Campbell says buying the bike was a no-brainer.

“When something like that happens to someone whose heart is that pure, I consider it an obligation. We didn’t really have a choice,” he says.

Marti is heading into grade five and says he plans to continue to give back to the community.

Joe PerkinsJoe Perkins

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