The 28th Annual Reading Toy Run
The 28th Reading Toy Run. A story of synchronicity, courage and generosity.
Watching the 27th annual reading toy run with Mum, 2 year old Wills and a fast asleep 7 month old Zach.
Wondering how Zach could sleep through all those bikes.
Drooling over the Harley Davidson beauties.
Getting goose bumps at the sheer numbers of bikers involved, the generosity of each person delivering a gift to the children of Barnardos and the time and attention given to decorate bikes and riders to add to the enjoyment for the people watching.
There we are watching the toy run last year. As I did the year before. And many other years before that.
And every year I thought "I'd like to do that...." And that was it. Just a thought, a pipe dream...
Synchronicity : meaningful coincidence
I did a CAP money course at my local Church.
The other participant, K who did the course with me is a biker.
I was invited to bring my family along to a Church service and stay for a shared meal.
William made a new friend called Summer who he wanted to go and see again.
So we went back to Church a few more times.
K mentioned that she knew Jane through biking.
I used that as a conversation opener with Jane who misunderstood or misheard my question and answered by telling me that her and her husband run the toy run every year.... Cue excitement from me and the rest, as they say, is history! Actually, not history. The rest is courage.
Courage: the ability to do something that frightens you.
I was out of my comfort zone so many times and instead of listening to my fear and not doing anything I chose to "feel the fear and do it anyway". I chose courage.
I had to phone someone I hardly know to ask her if she would find me a ride after one brief conversation.
I had to ask some new friends if I could change our dinner arrangements. I think this might have been one of the most scary moments of the whole thing!
I had to find my own gear. My Mum suggested I ask on Facebook. Thank you Mum, great idea. Only issue being I choose to use Facebook for spreading positivity and love - not asking for favours! Ok deep breath, be brave Vick. And I posted my request.
I turned up and had to find the man in charge whom I have met once. Amongst 1,400 bikers... Well he looks like a biker.... And again. Deep breath... Ask for help... Be brave...
Along the way lots of little moments of choosing courage over comfort led to me being a part of a huge community of generous, kind bikers.
Generosity: a readiness to give more of something than is strictly necessary or expected.
Ben and Jane, who organised the event, hardly know me and offered and found me a ride.
Steve and Tanya efficiently organised me a helmet, jacket, gloves and goggles. And of course all the other people who quickly offered their gear too.
My Mum and sister who happily looked after my boys for me while I took part.
And of course Easter (of OGRI MCC to give his full credentials) who happily accepted a random stranger to hitchhike in his sidecar AND patiently answered all my questions too! I was excited and nervous so of course I hardly stopped talking!!
All those people (and many more that I haven't mentioned) showed a readiness to give more than was strictly necessary or expected. I am so grateful for all the people who helped make it happen with their generosity.
The other part of the story involving generosity is the part that gives me goosebumps.
Over 1,400 bikers took part in The 28th Annual Reading Toy Run. The amount of gifts and donations those bikers gave was phenomenal. The room looked like an overstocked department in Hamleys or Toys R Us. Incredible. Staggering. Thank you all.
So here is the real story "Girl takes an opportunity and overcomes all obstacles - real and imagined - to achieve a goal, helped along by happy coincidences and the generosity of others."
I did it. I chose courage over comfort. Thank you Brene Brown for that gem of a mantra. I think I'll keep it for myself. It works.
Courage over comfort. Xxxx