I just watched credit unions do what credit unions do best. “People helping people” was on full display in all of its selfless, sincere and loving glory as a group of unsuspecting kids (at least we thought so) received brand-new bicycles.
A baker’s dozen plus one of both boys and girls bikes were presented to the Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio, Texas on a recent Saturday morning. I was privileged to both participate and watch as these young girls and boys crowded around this newfound treasure trove, grabbed the handlebars of their own choosing and lay claim to their very own bicycle. Now that’s the way to start off the weekend.
As witnesses to such unmitigated joy, a couple hundred people in the audience turned to mush. Chicken skin, welled-up eyes, and flowing tears flooded the room as we witnessed such a heartwarming display of credit union giveback and the pure joy it brought to kids whose normal Saturdays look considerably different. It’s one of those events that quickly becomes tomorrow’s favorite memory. It’s chiseled permanently on a page in the book of my life for sure.
With the smiles came helmets, training wheels and an opportunity for a kid to be a kid. The emotion was palpable. Perched upon their new bikes, pictures were snapped like a pack of paparazzi chasing the Hollywood diva du jour. Only these pictures mattered.
The audience was reminded during the morning that most kids are in the Boys and Girls Club because of the harsh realities of broken families, poverty, and the household struggles that quickly seize from their young existence what we take for granted in our own families.
The kids were invited to join us for breakfast from a robust hotel buffet fit for a king or queen. We were told that it may be their only meal for the day. A breakfast and a bike — a great day by most accounts. How this happens in the most bountiful land on earth is beyond me.
One of the boys in the group was gangly and towered above the other kids who fit their bikes like measurements had been taken. He can’t be blamed for the growth spurt he had at a relatively young age. I get it. He’ll get a bike, too — more fitting to his stature.
I noted the gratitude and humility each kid offered in response to receiving their wonderful gift. I was told later that the buffet line was equally noted as the highlight of the day. The comment was that most of these children had never seen so much food before. I couldn’t help but think, “What happens to the food not used on the buffet?”