Last July, 8-year-old Josh Nichols' green Schwinn Stingray bicycle was taken in an act of thievery.

Last July, 8-year-old Josh Nichols' green Schwinn Stingray bicycle was taken in an act of thievery.

On Oct. 29, Josh received a replacement for his bike through an act of kindness.

Bryan Gest and Josh Stamper, co-owners of Heritage Cycles, contacted Josh's parents and asked them to bring him to their shop at 3937 Broadway. They presented Josh with another vintage Schwinn Stingray and a helmet, free of charge.

"You just don't expect people to do things like that, especially when they're strangers," Josh's mother, Julie, said. "To think they would do this for someone they didn't know at all, it's just awesome."

"It made me really happy," Josh said.

He said he likes the replacement bike even better than the one he had before.

"It doesn't have any rust on it," said Josh, a second-grader at Buckeye Woods Elementary.

After Julie Nichols posted a social-media message about the stolen bike, Heritage Cycles posted a link on its Facebook page and website, Gest said.

"We offered a reward if someone would just return the bike to our shop, no questions asked," he said.

Gest said he was disappointed the bike remained missing.

"We made it a point that one way or another we were going to get Josh a bike just like that one," he said. "A bike is always important to a boy, but this one meant even more to Josh."

The second-grader had saved his birthday and Christmas money and made plans last February to buy himself something special: an iPod, Julie Nichols said.

That was until he saw the green Schwinn Stingray in an antique shop.

"He saw it and changed his mind immediately -- that's what he wanted," Nichols said.

"I wanted to get it because I could ride it in my woods," Josh said.

The vintage bike was stolen July 28 from the Nicholses' front yard while the family went out for dinner.

"I think he thought he would get it back," Nichols said. "It meant a lot to him because it was something he picked and paid for himself."

It meant a lot to the owners of Heritage Cycles to make up for that loss, Gest said.

"We were able to find the same model, although it was blue in color, online," he said. "It was a great feeling when we presented him with the bike."

"There's no way to express our gratitude to these guys," Nichols said. "They are really nice people. I think everyone should know what they did for our son."

Along with getting the bike, she said, Josh received another gift: a lesson about the value of kindness.

"This is something he'll remember for the rest of his life," Nichols said. "I think somewhere down the road, he's going to have an opportunity to help someone, and he'll remember this and he'll pay it forward."