“A Debt for Half a Bicycle,” Ensign, Feb. 2000, 63–64
A Debt for Half a Bicycle
As I was preparing to be baptized in eastern Argentina in December 1955, my branch president advised me, among other things, to ask forgiveness of those I had offended, pay any debts, and return anything I had that didn’t belong to me. I admitted to him that I had owed a debt for half a bicycle for more than 20 years.
When I was 18 years old, I had worked part time as a photographer. I earned very little—just enough for food and to help my parents a bit. I had longed to have my own bicycle ever since I was a small boy, but we never seemed to have the money to buy one.
Luckily, my brother knew the Zuzci family. They were selling a nice bicycle for a reasonable price. I had to pay half the money before getting the bike, and I could pay the rest later. When I had saved the first half, I went to their house and took the bike home.
To tell the truth, I had no intention of ever paying the rest of the money. The Zuzcis were rich and enjoyed a fine home. I thought they would soon forget about the small amount of money I owed them.
As the years went by, I continued my education, became an optical technician, and eventually bought my own optical shop. My financial situation greatly improved. But I always avoided passing by the Zuzci house. My conscience was not clear about that bicycle!
Later in life, I felt a great desire to search for God. Now I had found Him and wanted to join His Church. But my branch president counseled me to visit the Zuzci family and set things right.
I was 38 years old when I made my way to the house I had avoided so many times. When the door opened, Mrs. Zuzci stood before me.
“Good morning,” she said, greeting me kindly.
“Good morning, Mrs. Zuzci. Do you remember me?”
“Yes, Mr. Blanc. How could I forget you?”
I had no answer for that! “Then you remember,” I said, “that I still owe you money for a bicycle I bought 20 years ago.”
“I remember, Mr. Blanc—as if it had happened yesterday,” she answered.
I apologized for not paying the rest of the money and told her I had come to do so. I told her of my decision to be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I ask your forgiveness,” I said. “I know that 20 years have gone by. I am willing to pay whatever you feel the debt is worth today.”
I could see tears forming in Mrs. Zuzci’s eyes. She said what I was doing was a beautiful thing and forgave me my debt. Then we both wept. What a beautiful spirit we felt to finally have the issue of the bicycle debt resolved!