For one day every holiday season, bikers and children rule the aisles of the local Walmart.
The American Iron Riders held their annual Shop with a Biker event this weekend, giving children in need a chance to pick out Christmas gifts for themselves and, if they chose to, their families.
Michelle “Lefty” Douglas said this is her second time participating in the event. She said the group holds a similar event during the summer, where kids are invited to buy school supplies for the year.
“We get with principals and superintendents, and they get us in touch with the kids they know have a little bit of a more difficult time during Christmas and need that extra lift to make sure they have Christmas,” Douglas said.
Kids check in at the front of the store with their parents and get a name tag. Then, they each get to choose the biker they want to take them shopping. Iron Riders wear their motorcycle gear for full effect. Once they’ve picked, each child has $100 to spend on whatever they’d like, whether it’s toys, clothes, or gifts for their other family members.
This year, the group helped 40 children. Some kids went for classics like Twister and LEGO sets, while others had their eyes on Star Wars merch.
Some kids need a little bit of help deciding what to pick out, while others made beelines to certain toys.
One area mother brought her son.
“It’s helpful,” she said. “I thought it was exciting, it’s the first time he’s been able to do something like this.”