A gutsy Vancouver bartender who stole back her own bike from a Craigslist seller has made fans and headlines across Canada, the United States and beyond.

The story of Kayla Smith’s gleeful vigilantism has reached as far the UK’s Daily Mail, the New York Daily News, the website Gawker and even The Today Show, much to the 33-year-old’s surprise.

“I did not expect to get this much attention,” Smith said.

The Portside Pub employee’s $1,000 bike was stolen after she parked at an outdoor rack last Wednesday. One day later, a friend told her a similar model had turned up in an online classified ad.

She responded to the ad posing as an interested buyer and arranged to meet the seller in a McDonald’s parking lot, though Smith admits she didn’t have much of a plan beyond that.

“I just went down there and was like, if it’s my bike I’ll deal with it then,” Smith told CTV News.

After recognizing details like stickers, brakes and handlebars, she verified her suspicions and innocently asked to take the bike for a test drive.

She hopped on and pedaled away frantically until she reached a friend waiting nearby.

“I danced as if I just scored a touchdown in the NFL,” Smith said.

The story has made her an instant celebrity, and she’s been taking a barrage of calls from national and international media ever since.

But though her actions have won her some fans, police say there are safer ways to respond.

Const. Brian Montague said officers can and do get involved in similar meetings for people who spot stolen property online or elsewhere.

“We’re thrilled that she got her bike back and we’re thrilled that she’s safe, but we would like in the future, if this happens to her or anybody else, to [get] a phone call,” Montague said.

Bike theft is an all-too-common problem in Vancouver, where more than 1,839 were stolen last year alone.

Smith said she won’t be locking her bike up outside anymore, and plans to keep her rescued ride close from now on.

“People work really hard for their bikes and how dare you, how dare you steal what I worked so hard to buy?” she said. “I’m a bartender, I slung a lot of beer for this, you know.”

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Maria Weisgarber