When a group of leather-clad bikers roll up on you, your first reaction might be concern.
But that instinct would’ve been incorrect last weekend in Ardmore. Members of the American Iron Riders came to downtown Ardmore bearing gifts, soup and prayers for the needy.
Following the Shop With A Biker event, where members of the nonprofit fulfilled the Christmas wishes of 40 less-fortunate children in the area on a shopping spree through Walmart, the group doubled down on their acts of kindness, walking the streets of downtown Ardmore, handing out soup, sandwiches, bottled water, candy, and prayers to those in need.
While Shop With A Biker is an annual Christmas tradition, this was the first year the group applied their charity to handing out soup. And while it was more impromptu, the effort helped out 17 people in the area.
Karen “Rain” Riley, the American Iron Riders secretary, said it wasn’t about the numbers.
“Even if we could have just helped one person, it would have been worth it,” Riley said.
Going out and helping folks, whether they be homeless or just in need, and hearing about their experience and their problems was rewarding, Riley said.
“We’ve been so blessed,” Riley said. “We just wanted to give back.”
At one point, the Iron Riders stumbled across a 99-year-old woman driving past. The lady stopped her car, curious to see what the group was doing.
The woman said she was hungry, and Riley said they gave her what they had — hot soup, warm wishes, and prayer.
“When we first walked up people were confused,” Riley said. “But we’d just shake their hand, give them what we had, listen to what they were going through and pass grace over them. It was humbling.”