By Dennis Tye
To every individual in a motorcycle accident there turning points in recovery. A spot in your life where you either shut it all down or you suck it up and scream, “I GOT THIS!”
I had been in the hospital for several weeks, and it was around lunch time. I was lying in bed feeling sorry for myself. I was trying to figure out what the future held for me. I had always lived life with a smile and weathered many storms, but now what? One leg gone. How would that ever work?
One year before my accident, I was at the Thunder in the Rockies and Lauren and I were just walking around the vendor tents when someone gave me a business card type thing from BikerDown.org. It was an In Case of Emergency Card. I never filled it out, but I did keep it in my money clip. After my accident, Lauren’s daughter Beth was going through my things when she came across the BikerDown ICE card. She called it and spoke to Laurie Montoya. Laurie quickly asked what could they do to help, and Lauren said he could use a visit.
I wish I knew more about the beginnings of BikerDown but this is what I do know. If you are in an accident and you call… they answer. Chomper and Laurie make a magnificent team that have one goal, take care of the biker. Chomper talks a lot about the brotherhood of the bikers, he has a code he lives by,’ Respect, loyalty and honor. Nothing else matters. Break that code and you’re out.’
As I lay there in my bed I heard some loud voices say, “We’re looking for…” The answer came before they finished the question, in a somewhat frantic voice I heard a nurse reply, “He’s right down there, two doors down.”
Now I heard boots clacking their way toward me. Sounded like an army was headed my way. First in the room was a beautiful blonde with bling a blazin’, second was a big dude wearing his doo rag and last into my room was a Santa Claus lookin’ fella in the coolest leather top hat I had ever seen. Laurie and Chomper Montoya followed by Randy Savely with big smiles on all their faces.
“Hi Poet,” Said Laurie. “We are all here to meet you, wish you well and help you get back on a bike.” They all sat down and we talked. Well, to be honest, Laurie talked and we all listened. She told me about BikerDown and Randy’s Run for Fallen Bikers.
I kept staring at this Santa Claus dude. About 6’ 2”, heavy set, long white beard, long white hair, rosy cheeks and a smile that I’m certain makes him a ladies favorite. Randy finally asked, “So how you doin’ Poet?” My eyes welled up. “Oh, each day it gets better but it’s killing me that I can’t ride again.”
Randy rose up out of his chair and stared right at me, “What are you talking about?” I was somewhat surprised that he hadn’t noticed I was one leg shy of a full set. He slowly hiked up his left pants leg to reveal a prosthetic, “Some people call it a pros… pro… ah hell, I just call her a prostitute!”
He went on to say, “I ride over 10,000 miles a year. If the sun ain’t out I work but when it is out my boss knows I ain’t coming to work, I’m ridin’.” Every word Randy says is with a smile.
This was the beginning of one of the best relationships I have.
That day was filled with hilarious stories from Randy, Laurie and Chomper. It was about an hour later when they had to leave but they had lifted my spirits to somewhere I wasn’t sure they could be lifted to. I could wait to tell Lauren that I would ride again!
The next time I saw Randy was at the BikerDown Adopt a Family for the Holidays Christmas dinner honoring the families of people like me that needed some help over the holidays. Randy was appropriately dressed from head to toe as Santa Claus. Everyone in that room was smiling, the children were in awe of the ‘real’ Santa standing before them. Santa and his elves sat there patiently and lovingly until each and every child had their moment with Santa.
The next time I saw Randy was at his fundraiser for Randy’s Run for Fallen Bikers 10-year anniversary. He started his charity soon after and has been helping bikers and their families ever since. Randy is a man a few words, but when he speaks it’s from the heart.
Randy and I have met a number of other times since then. Sadly, the reason is usually to help another fallen bikers. Our reason to visit is twofold, to let the rider know what to expect, what the future holds ahead for them and that indeed they can return to riding. The other reason we visit is to let his or her support group know what’s ahead and offer any assistance we can.
Our group of one legged wonders has grown over the years and we recently met for breakfast at I-Hop. Yes I-Hop and it is nice to know you are not alone in this journey and can still have great purpose in your life.
I’ve known Randy, Laurie and Chomper for a short time but there are some things I will always remember about all of them. Randy’s magic leather top hat that stays stuck on his head at 75 miles per hour. His big smile. And I do believe (don’t tell anybody) he really is Santa. Laurie’s bling and that smile that could stop a war. Chomper and the way he supports Laurie in all her ventures.
But the common thread among them all is that they care, they give and give and give and expect nothing in return. There are not two finer causes nor three finer people.