That was two weeks ago, after Bikeman (a.k.a. mild-mannered Health Sciences Centre plant manager Richard Craig) chanced upon the youngster being robbed by a much older, bigger boy on the Slaw Rebchuk Bridge.
The 51-year-old Craig was riding a bike, too, and he gave chase.
Unfortunately, the bike thief got away.
And subsequently, Craig came up with the idea of trying to find a new bike for Sean.
So the appeal went out.
Predictably -- and thankfully -- lots of offers of used bikes rolled in.
Then something unexpected happened.
A guy visiting from Calgary read the story and offered to buy Sean a new bike.
Actually, Jim Yaworski is a former Winnipegger who was in town for the Platinum Jets charity golf tournament, which he helped found, and he made the $200 donation on behalf of the event.
Bikeman Richard Craig decided we should let Sean pick out his own bike, and to buy it from the Canadian Tire downtown store, because it's in the boy's neighbourhood.
So a week ago Monday -- the afternoon of a torrential downpour and lightning storm -- Sean and his father arrived at the Canadian Tire run by former Maritimers Roger and Julie Caissie.
"They made that little boy's day," Craig reported later in a follow up e-mail. "Sean got to choose his own bright new shiny bike, they gave him a helmet, a lock, installed the lock, pumped up his tires, made the adjustments to the seat and just generally did it up right.
"Roger and Julie had at least three staff as well as the two of them waiting on Sean, smiling and giving him all the attention he could handle.
"He and his dad are both pretty quiet and reserved, not too talkative, but by the end of it, they were beaming and very appreciative.
Craig said he was proud to be part of the whole exchange, and offered thanks to Yaworski, Free Press photographer Ruth Bonneville, and the entire Canadian Tire staff.
"Sean and his dad had to walk to the store, and the rain storm threatened to cancel their appearance at the allotted time because it was pouring cats and dogs just a half hour earlier. But at four o'clock on July 14, a little boy experienced some pretty powerful sunbeams," Craig said.
I'll add my own thanks to all the other readers who offered to buy a bike or donate a used one. And, of course, to Bikeman, who became a real-life urban superhero to one little boy.
Only in comic books, you say?
Only in Winnipeg.
* * *
THE LAST LAUGH...
Remember the column about the Stella's Cafe waitress in Kenaston Village who refused to serve Richard Gere because she was too nervous?
The following fax arrived last week from a woman who signed herself Gail Turner.
After reading your article today, please be advised that there are NO SHY SERVERS AT THE DAKOTA HOTEL.
Send Richard Gere here!"
PHOTO RUTH BONNEVILLE/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS