A Debt for Half a Bicycle

“A Debt for Half a Bicycle,” Liahona, Oct. 1999, 48

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 might have 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 very 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 bought the bike.

To tell the truth, I had no intention of ever paying the rest of the money. I was poor and lived in humble circumstances; 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.

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, Mrs. Zuzci. Do you remember me?”

“Yes, Mr. Blanc. How could I forget you?”

“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 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 I was doing 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!