The roar of motorcycles coming Friday evening made Kaien Perez think a parade was coming. But after stepping outside with his mother, Anitra Henry, and younger brother, Kristopher Henry, it turned out to more exciting.
Members of the Chosen Ryderz Motorcycle Club were outside the family’s house, bringing a trunk load of presents after hearing the family had no presents for Christmas.
“We heard about some of the unforeseen circumstances that you have for Christmas and knowing that you, the mother of a 1-year-old and a 7-year-old,” club President Jeremy McKnight said. “And we just wanted to come and make your Christmas excellent and reach out because that’s what Chosen Ryderz is all about.”
McKnight said they brought presents for the children and for their mother.
“We just wanna come and extend our hand, and want your kids to have a wonderful Christmas as well as you, OK?,” he said.
“Thank you,” Henry said, through tears.
She became overwhelmed as the men and women in leather vests began carrying presents into her small apartment, placing them under a tree that before was bare.
“Like I’ve said, it’s good people out there and I truly want to say thank you. Because y’all,” she said as she turned toward her Christmas tree, “my kids wouldn’t have anything underneath this tree and y’all made that happen.”
“Now you can relax,” said Tyrone Adams to Henry, a road captain for Chosen Ryderz.
Her toddler, Kristopher, then laughed loud, making everyone burst out into laughter.
After the bikers said goodbye and stepped outside, Henry said to her son Kaien, “Isn’t that cool, baby? All these people gave us all these presents.”
“I’m just so speechless right now,” she said. “Like I really, really am because they gave my kids a Christmas. And this is, I can’t even get the words out for how I feel right now.”
“It’s nice to know that this year we can wake up to presents underneath the tree,” she said.
As Henry talked about how 2015 “was beyond a hard year,” walking to and from her minimum-wage job, Kaien wiped away her tears.
“It is hard. It’s very hard. It’s nice to know when the programs here that we have in Liberty County, when they can’t do, you have groups like Chosen Ryderz,” she said.
“They go out of they way, out their pockets, for a family that they never met before and don’t know anything about,” Henry said.
Adams said Chosen Ryderz members are in the community, see needs and feel they must help.
“And at this time of year, a lot of people need help. And that’s what we’re here for. That’s what our organization is about,” he said.
Adams said his daughter knew Henry and when the group received applications, Henry’s “seemed to be what we could do the most good, the fastest.”
He said he does not know how many presents they gave the family because after they initially bought the presents, people bought more.
“That was one of the principles that we built on is giving back to the community,” McKnight said. “And if we don’t do that, we feel like we’re not making our place here in the community.”