After a few days of not being able to walk his dog, get a coffee or travel to his local convenience store, St. Paul resident George Hensley got his independence back Friday night.
Hensley, 45, who can't walk long distances because of complications from a brain tumor, received a used scooter on Friday paid for by a Minneapolis law firm. It replaced the electric scooter that was stolen from outside his apartment earlier this week.
"It means so much," Hensley said as he tested out his new scooter.
The scooter was purchased by the personal injury law firm of Schwebel Goetz & Sieben, which found the replacement scooter on Craigslist after reading about the theft in the newspaper. On Friday, a company spokeswoman, Hensley and his girlfriend, Heidi Johnson, went to an Oakdale home to get the gently used red scooter, which his girlfriend remarked was newer than the one that was stolen.
"This is just beautiful," Johnson said. "This is overwhelming."
Hensley and Johnson had been running errands Tuesday afternoon when his scooter was stolen from the 700 block of Curfew Street in St. Paul's Midway district. The 300-pound scooter was parked outside because it was too heavy to haul into the couple's apartment. No one has been arrested in the theft.
The scooter had been donated to Hensley this spring by his hospice nurse and her father. Hensley and his girlfriend couldn't afford to replace the $1,700 machine.
Hensley underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment last year and was told that he only had six weeks to live. He defied the odds, but his prognosis is unclear.
Hensley said that he wasn't sure where he would go on his new scooter first. One thing he does know for sure was that his scooter won't be parked on the boulevard anymore, but instead in a neighbor's shed.
Staff writer Chao Xiong contributed to this report. Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495 • Twitter: @stribnorfleet