When you think of Hells Angels, you probably imagine motorcycles roaring down the open road, their drivers covered in leather and tattoos.
But if there’s something they really like to do, it’s defying stereotypes. While they might like speeding along the highway, they also don’t mind stopping to help someone in need, especially if it’s kids looking for support.
And sometimes they’ll stop for days.
That’s what happened one Black Friday back in 2014, when a group of Hells Angels stood in line for five days to buy all the bikes at a local Walmart in Fresno, CA.
And we’re not talking motorcycles: we’re talking kids’ bicycles of all sizes and colors.
Black Friday is notorious for its long lines, but we doubt anyone would want to try and cut these guys in line. And not because they look tough, but because of the reason they were waiting.
The bikers brought all the bicycles to Poverello House, a community organization that helps families facing hunger, homelessness, and poverty.
The bicycles would be given as gifts to the children, who would otherwise never be able to have what for many of us is a childhood staple we take for granted. And it wasn’t a one-time thing either: this was the 16th year in a row that they donated toys.
In 2014, the bikers, who included Hells Angels members as well as people from other organizations, completely bought out Walmart’s stock of bicycles and gave them away, and maybe inspired a new generation of riders.
That’s right, all of them.
In this photo from 2014, Hells Angels member Merl Hefferman is seen waiting at the checkout counter.
The bicycles, along with other toys, get donated to Poverello House, an organization in Fresno that provides support to homeless children and families.
The bikers do this every year, bringing some joy to kids and families who are struggling.
In many cases, though, getting all these bikes is a challenge in itself.
In 2014, Hefferman said that he and his pals spent some five days waiting to get all the bikes together. It must have been tedious, but Hefferman said he didn’t mind.
“When a kid runs up and he jumps on this bicycle and he rides around, it’s a good toy,” he told ABC7.
“You ain’t got enough money in this station that makes me feel the way I feel when I give these kids these bikes.”
In 2014. they bought and donated 200 bicycles. In past years, the Fresno County Hells Angels and Poverello House donated thousands of toys to kids in need.
“We’ve seen hundreds of bikers participate before,” says Gabriela McNiel, manager of Poverello House.
“Several motorcycle groups rally and collect toys each year. There’s a lot of brotherly love there.”
And it looks like there’s a lot of love all around!
The Fresno County Hells Angels say that the toy and bicycle drive is part of their efforts to help the needy members of the community, especially during the holiday season.
Originally published on Little Things