Stolen trike leaves owner distraught

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Sandra Epps is hoping that whoever took her beloved red, white and blue tricycle from in front of her Bursum Place apartment Saturday morning will find it in their heart to bring it back.

“This has been such a joy to me, this little bike,” Epps said, fighting back tears. “When this person took it, it upset me very much. It’s kind of my lifeline.”

The tricycle is adult-sized, with an umbrella for shade. It disappeared from outside her home near the corner of School of Mines Road and Leroy Place early in the morning on Saturday, Jan. 21. Losing it has been a tremendous blow for its distraught owner.

Until Epps bought her trike seven years ago, she’d been on foot for more than 20 years. In her late 60s now, she lives in a small apartment with a few well-loved and well-cared for rescue animals, and she refers to her lost trike as her baby.

“I don’t have to have a lot to be happy,” Epps said. “It was my freedom, my independence — almost like a little horse. I could just get up and gallop. It’s speed enough for me.”

Life hasn’t dealt Epps a particularly easy hand, which may account for her modest expectations. As an infant, she contracted measles and encephalitis, which left her partially paralyzed on her right side. Her mother died when she was 4, and she was sent to live with her grandparents in Tulsa, Okla. When she was 18, she was able to return home and keep house for her father on a little ranch where he raised Polled Herefords and quarterhorses.

“That was good. I could do a lot of things,” she said.

When her brother died of cancer, though, things got almost too sad to bear.

“I just didn’t want to hear anything sad any more,” Epps said. “I had a little yellow Ford Pinto, and I went off to a roping.”

At the roping she met a cowboy from New Mexico, who she eventually married. It didn’t work out too well, and she doesn’t like to talk about it.

“You learn to make lemonade out of lemons. You could either be sad or you could be happy, and I was happy,” Epps said. “That’s me. I really am not a sad-sap, unless something like this happens. I just can’t understand how somebody could do something like this.”

About seven years ago, Epps felt she needed something to “spice up” her life. The tricycle was like a breath of fresh air. For 20 years she had made the long walk to and from the grocery store, pulling a two-wheeled shopping basket. Now she could ride everywhere, to the grocery store, the post office, the thrift store, sheltered from the hot sun under the little umbrella with a “Dust Buster” logo. She even used the tricycle as a pick-up truck on occasion, tying small pieces of furniture on tightly, and taking it real slow.

“It’s really helped my life,” she said. “I ride it all over. Sometime’s I’m out there with the wind blowing like a gale.”

Having wheels has helped Epps in more than one way. Because of her disability, she gets pretty stiff pretty easily, but as long as she keeps moving, she feels all right. More than anything else, though, she hates to lose her feeling of independence. She just doesn’t like having to ask other people for help.

“People with a disability need to feel they have the freedom to do anything they choose,” Epps said. “I want people to know — this is something I need in my life, it helps my life. This was a very bad no-no for them to do this. These people, I hope they have a heart, and they find it in their heart to give it back.”

Anyone with any information about the tricycle’s whereabouts is asked to call Sandra Epps at 575-835-3763, or to contact the Socorro Police Department at 575-835-1883.

 


-- Email the author at sbarteau@dchieftain.com.