Biggs Harley Involved in “Toy Store Invasion”
Story by Randy Twells; Photos- RT & Howie Wahl, Rick Ortiz/ Biggs H-D.
December 14, 2013 – Yes it was a mob of bikers who collected for the 8th Annual Toy Store Invasion at Biggs Harley-Davidson this mid-December day. At 7 am that time of year the sun is barely up, but they were getting started early because there was a big plan for the day- Starting at Biggs H-D with Starbucks coffee and donuts, a huge contingent of riders and the empty Biggs H-D cargo trailer head down the highway. Well over 200 bikes arrived at Wal-Mart in the Kearny Mesa area of San Diego. Wal-Mart was fully stocked, this being but ten days prior to Christmas; they had prepared for this mass intrusion, and the hordes made their way in to start raiding the store. HOG Chapter members, several MC Clubs’ members, couples & individual riders alike armed with wish lists that Rady Children’s Hospital had collected from their patients, aisles were full of leather-clad motorcyclists shopping for various toys, games & puzzles & other items practical for all ages of kids- including always-popular stuffed animals that the littlest kids find so comforting.
Shopping carts filled up and the line formed at checkout, comparing notes and happily sharing the holiday cheer. Out front, the Biggs H-D cargo trailer was soon filled up with toys as riders brought their purchases out. With some brief instructions on getting over to the Hospital nearby, the parking lot soon emptied as the bikes made a shiny spectacle in the morning sun, all getting on the road again in one big parade.
Over at Rady Children’s Hospital kids are undergoing treatment of all types, some for very serious illnesses– and we all know it’s not a ‘vacation’ so they’re often feeling poorly. Some kids up in their rooms overlooking the toy drop off area could look down and see the bikes pull in and park in a huge sea of metal and colorful paint just like a big school of orderly fish, all for their enjoyment. The bikes next to the beautiful green lawn with palm trees and bronze sculpture artwork contemplation area, made a colorful scene of art and nature all together reflecting the healing theme of this place.
As the cargo trailer gave up its load the toys were organized into age appropriate categories on the tables right there. So the kids with parents or staff helping them, started coming out front, Santa arrived on his Harley, Chopper the Biker Dog arrived with his helper Mark Shaffer and both posed for pics with kids and grown-ups alike. Kids with IV stands, wheelchairs or whatever their situation were able to go up and pick out their own present and just do what each felt up to doing. Many kids however cannot get out of bed to come down front, so several gurneys were loaded up with toys and rolled up to the floors by volunteer bikers as well, and distributed personally to the kids who could also pick their present. For the third year in a row, Law Tigers Motorcycle Lawyers also donated Apple devices- this year two Apple iPad Mini’s to the hospital for use on behalf of their patients for doing homework, games or whatever needed.
Once the kids received their gifts and we got some group photos, all were invited to head back up to Biggs H-D for a great BBQ lunch & party. Music veterans The Last Call band played some fun rock n roll classics on the Law Tigers stage with vendor displays nearby. On the break, Biggs’ Marketing Mgr. Howie Wahl and Assistant Rick Ortiz drew Raffle prizes of Biggs’ Motorclothes items, bike accessories and Biggs Gift Cards. Howie then went around the crowd handing out premium cigars to any interested gents & ladies alike, plus Jack Links & Slim Jims. I got the personal tour from old friend Jerry Johnson, to see the newest 9,000 square foot Bike Barn where Biggs keeps over 150 bikes or so besides the hundreds of bikes they also have displayed on the main dealership floor. Wow!
This awesome episode of bikers ending up at the hospital, was No Accident—it took plenty of planning and work by Howie, Rick all the Biggs HOG Chapter volunteers— and YOU, the motorcycle riders of Southern California who turned out by the hundreds for this one day in your year- perhaps a small or large chunk of your own free time, but truly a BIG impact for brightening the holidays for kids during their stay at Rady Children’s Hospital – that they will always remember, the kindness of bikers on their behalf.