A 74-year-old St. Petersburg man got the surprise of his life Wednesday after an outpouring of support from FOX 13 viewers, who were outraged by what happened to him.
Ron Prgomelja was robbed while riding his motor-scooter and leaving the Walgreens on 66th Street in St. Pete. Since then, not only did he get a brand new scooter from a viewer, but plenty more offers to replace the $200 stolen from his wallet.
Prgomelja is counting his blessings despite feeling like he'd lost everything Tuesday.
"That guy that robbed that man is a coward," said Peter Marquis of Moon Lake in Pasco County. He saw our story and couldn't believe someone would do that to a defenseless man.
Police said the man wearing a black and white striped shirt, which you can see very clearly in security video, stole his wallet. It was money Prgomelja was saving up to buy a new neck brace and scooter.
"I was mad," said Marquis, "so I called Channel 13."
He saw our story, and he got hot.
"I was angry about him getting robbed like that and heard that he was saving money for a neck brace and a new scooter, and I have a scooter," said Marquis. "So I wanted to give it to him."
To get the scooter, Marquis traded $300 worth of yard maintenance from a client of his lawn care business. He bought it for his wife, who's getting ready for knee surgery and would have needed it to get around.
"I still owe money on it," said Marquis. "But I don't have a problem with it; it's just cutting her grass."
Wes Wing is Prgomelja's case manager, who told us the phones have been ringing off the hook at Tyrone Manor where Prgomelja lives. People want to help.
"I told him what you were doing and how you felt, and he just lit up. He was like awesome," Wing said to Marquis.
"So, that made me happy," Marquis said.
So the two strangers met briefly, shook hands, gave the scooter a quick test drive to make sure it was all good, and then loaded up the scooter on a trailer bound for St. Pete.
It's a bigger scooter than Prgomelja had had before, so he was elated. He has trouble speaking, but there was no mistaking his surprise and joy at the gift. He was beaming ear to ear.
"There you go, good job," said Wing to Prgomelja, as he helped him into the chair, which took only seconds. He couldn't be happier.
"Oh! boy!" he replied enthusiastically.
He spun around and gave us the thumbs-up.
"Good," he said thrusting his thumb skyward with a big smile.
But then it brought tears to his eye.
"Thank you, Tampa Bay," Prgomelja said.
Police have not yet caught the man in the security video. Despite this, Prgomelja said that's not going to stop him from going to the store, and he's grateful to everyone who's reached out.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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