When he started getting calls about a Bigfoot-type creature roaming through neighborhood gardens, he thought everyone was pulling his leg. He had no way of knowing that something was about to happen that would change him and all of New Jersey quite likely forever.
Steven had been a New Jersey cop his entire life, and he’d dealt with some pretty weird cases over the years. But he never heard of a beast quite like this one before. He spent most of his time busy at work, which meant he missed his family an awful lot. But with his wife and young daughter home alone, he knew he needed to earn enough money to fight an uphill battle at home.
Being a cop can be intense, fortunately, prank calls and unusual reports tend to diffuse the tension at the police station. In 2014, a call came in about a bear-like creature walking on both legs like a human, and it was crossing the park in Rockaway Township. Steven thought it was a hoax, and he had more important police business to attend to. But he didn’t realize at the time that this alleged prank would turn into a high-profile case.
As more sightings of this creature were reported, the cop decided to take a look for himself. So, he got in his patrol car and drove off to investigate the latest reported sighting. It was the only way to put his mind at ease. But he wondered, was this real? Was Bigfoot roaming around town? The only way he’d be convinced it wasn’t a hoax was if he saw it with his own two eyes.
He was a huge animal lover. Since he lived in New Jersey his whole life, he was used to seeing bear cubs roaming in the woods while he was growing up. And now, people claimed a creature, possibly a bear, was roaming the woods. But why would a bear walk on two legs? Could it be a teen pulling a prank in a Bigfoot outfit? Or was it something supernatural? He simply had to find out.
He came to a horrible realization as he approached the location. There was something that truly defied nature as he approached a residential home. It seemed to be a black bear, but it was walking the way a human does. So, he grabbed his cell phone and started recording the unnatural sighting. Then he saw something interesting. The creature wasn’t afraid of him. They just stood there looking at each other, almost as if trying to figure out one another’s intention. But he never imagined he would wind up developing a bond with this odd-looking creature.
Meanwhile, his daughter was struggling at home. She was only 6 years old and was suffering from a series of bad inner ear infections. She also had a weird manner of walking too, much like the creature did. Most people claimed her issues with balance were because she was clumsy. But now, Steven saw things clearly. There was a reason why he crossed paths with this creature.
Steven was apprehensive about leaving what he had found in the wild alone. Something was seriously off about this situation. But the officer had no choice but to walk away and get home to his daughter. And he was afraid that things would only get worse from here on out. But he was haunted by the image of the unusual creature. Why did it walk like a man when it clearly wasn’t?
The media was drawn by the sighting of the walking bear, so Steven wanted to keep a close eye on the creature. Something about it touched him on a personal level. And whenever a reported sighting was called in, he dashed right over to check in on the bear. The creature received the nickname, Pedals, because of his unusual walk. Pedals was becoming popular. However, Steven believed there was something unique about the bear and felt he had to look after him. But what made him so protective? He simply wasn’t sure.
As Pedal’s popularity grew, other officers got involved. But soon, they discovered something serious. Pedals had been injured. His paws were sore, which is why he wasn’t walking on all fours like most bears did. Now it made sense why he walked like a human. The adorable creature wasn’t able to lead a normal life like his other brethren. So, Steven decided he wanted to help the creature. But what could he do?
Steven promised himself he’d help Pedal out. He asked his wife for some advice because he wasn’t a vet or a wildlife expert. She assured him she would come up with a solution. This didn’t stop him from wondering how else he could help the wild animal. How was he going to help this beloved bear? It turns out, the answer was right in front of him.
Steven’s wife suggested he draft an online petition asking the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife officials to relocate Pedals to a nature reserve. Fortunately, the story went viral on social media and the news, which allowed the petition to grow. The community had fallen in love with the creature and everyone wanted to see him happy and safe. But then, the unexpected occur.
Steve had to spend a lot of his time in the hospital, so he rarely had the chance to see Pedals anymore. Then suddenly, something happened. Pedals disappeared! Winter was coming, and Steven and the community worried they would never see the town’s Bigfoot ever again. Could the injured creature make it through a New Jersey Winter? Then their worst fears came true.
He had just about given up hope of ever seeing the creature again. Then, Steven heard Pedals was sighted. Everything was right with the world again. His daughter was successfully recovering from an infection, and Pedals appeared to be healthy too. But terrible events were fast approaching and they were about to strike at Steven’s heart.
In October 2016, Steven got some horrible news. Pedals had passed away. And if that wasn’t bad enough, his own daughter had suffered a horrible health setback. These two events had wrecked Steven’s hope for a happy future. Pedals was gone forever, and his daughter was clinging to life. But there was still a glimmer of hope in the horizon for Steven.
Steven was horribly depressed. Work was no longer exciting, and his family life was full of emotions because of his daughter. Then, the tides changed for the better. His daughter was responding well to a new series of antibiotics. But at the same time, the community came together and did something spectacular to honor Pedals’ amazing spirit.
Steve’s petition accrued 9,000 supporters, which made way for a new law. Pedals was now the black bear ambassador to all black bears. His life touched a community in such a way, that they helped introduce a law that would put an end to bear hunting for five years. It would also provide a non-lethal alternative to bear control. It’s known as “Pedals Law,” in honor of the heroic bear. And there was more great news.
Steven took a great deal of comfort in the news of how the late bear became a symbol of justice. Meanwhile, his daughter was winning a fight of her own. It seems that the little girl was able to stave off the infection that had caused her to endure so much agony. And just like Pedals did, Steven’s daughter was now able to walk on two legs.
As life returned to normal, Steve decided to become involved with the welfare of the surrounding wildlife in his town. Having a healthy daughter gave him the financial freedom to educate others. But he still needed to figure out how to make this happen.
Pedals had fascinated everyone with his unique way of walking. Of course, he had simply found a new way to walk because of his damaged front paws. His name was taken from the word bipedal, which refers to walking on two legs, the way humans do. Pedals had captivated an entire community, and in the process, changed the way everyone saw black bears forever.
Black bears in New Jersey are now safe thanks to Pedals, who showed a fierce determination that everyone should adopt, just like Steve did. So, go ahead and overcome adversity, celebrate everyone’s differences, and come together in honor of Pedals. There are obviously a lot of things that we can learn from creatures like this famous black bear.