VIDEO: 250 Kids Get New Set of “Wheels” From Maui Car Dealer
By Wendy Osher
[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UanTKedMafI /] Hundreds of bicycles replaced four-wheel drives at the Jim Falk Valley Isle Motors showroom, where a holiday giveaway was secretly being planned on Wednesday afternoon.
“I didn’t know who in the world would pay for all of the bikes,” thought Aidan Riley of Kalama Intermediate School as he entered the showroom.
Friend and fellow Kalama student, Austin Gower, was bewildered by the bikes too, thinking that maybe they were for children in need.
But confusion quickly turned to surprise, smiles, and cheers, when the owner of the car dealership, Jim Falk, announced that the “new wheels” were for about 250 kids who had arrived by busload from six Boys & Girls Clubs on Maui.
“Today is the first day that these kids realized that they were getting the bikes, so everybody is pretty excited,” said Falk who also purchased helmets for the kids and treated them to a pizza and hot dog party in the parking lot along Puunene Avenue.
The idea surfaced earlier this year when Boys & Girls Club Chief Professional Officer, Colin Hanlon, approached Jim about doing a sponsorship for the group’s golf tournament.
“He’s such a special individual that he said yes… and; and the and was really a cool opportunity. He wanted to facilitate a huge bike giveaway around Christmas to make sure that every kid had a set of wheels,” said Hanlon.
The organization picked nearly 250 kids from the clubs who they felt were most deserving, and set the event.
“I’ve been on the board since about 2004 and this is the biggest giveaway of any that we’ve had. It took them all by surprise,” said board member and council member Don Couch. “It’s just fantastic generosity.”
“I was surprised,” said Riley, who was hoping for an iPod Touch, air-soft gun, or “maybe a new baby brother” for Christmas.
Gower said that he’s still hoping for a paintball gun, but a bike is pretty cool too. “It’s good for all of these kids to have bikes,” he said.
As a child Falk said, “The fondest memory of receiving a present on Christmas was a bike. As a little kid, my parents would put us to bed, and after dinner on Christmas Eve go to sleep for a couple of hours, then wake us up and tell us that Santa Claus came. There was a bike under the tree a couple of times and it was the most exciting Christmas,” said Falk.
Falk said the giveaway and company success could not have been done without the employees of the dealership.
“We’re really lucky,” said Falk. “We have a great number of employees that have been with us a long, long time. By them working every day and being able to be really good at what they do has enabled us to do this. We haven’t been able to do much in charitable giving for a number of years because of the recession, and it’s just starting to break out a little bit, and I thought it’s time,” he said.
“I think they’re pretty awesome and just so thankful that I got a bike,” said Shatisha Kauhaahaa of Kalama Intermediate.
“I think it’s going to be a good Christmas for a lot of smiley kids,” said Falk.