On his way to work each night, Jim Copeland stops at the same Illinois convenience store, buys a bottle of water and a doughnut, and shoots the breeze with the nice young man behind the counter.
Over months, Copeland came to know the man’s story: He walked two hours each day to a Circle K market in Springfield, pulled a 10-hour shift, then walked two hours home.
"And it’s a bad neighborhood he had to walk through," Copeland told InsideEdition.com Thursday. “I figured if he did all that, he was really dedicated. And maybe I could help him."
How to help him just popped into Copeland’s brain as he drove to his job Sunday: A bicycle. What if he could find a decent bike at a decent price?
So he took to Craigslist, and found a bicycle he liked, at a price he liked, and drove to pick it up. He took it to a friend "who’s a bike nut." The chain was oiled, the brakes were adjusted and the two-wheeler was deemed good to go.
On Monday, Copeland walked the bike across the convenience store’s parking lot, told the clerk to close his eyes, and presented him with his new mode of transportation.
Johnny Phillips grinned from ear to ear. "He’s laughing down deep inside, then he started tearing up," Copeland recounted. Phillips didn’t know what to say. But his face beamed a multitude of feelings.
Then the man, who had been down on his luck but is now trying to turn his life around, went for a spin around the parking lot.
"I wanted to get him something special," said Copeland, who drives a truck for a postal service contractor. “He’s a go-getter.”