When your bike breaks down and you’re stranded on the side of the road, you may find yourself depending on the kindness of strangers. This is exactly what happened to Bruce Springsteen last weekend when his motorcycle’s battery died while he was riding on a New Jersey highway. A group of fellow Jersey riders noticed him on the side of the road and immediately came to his aid.
“It’s a day I probably won’t forget for a while,” the rider leading the group, Dan Barkalow, told CNN. “The moment I got off the bike I saw it was him.”
That day, Barkalow was leading a Veterans’ Day weekend ride with the Freehold American Legion Riders, a group of motorcycle-riding veterans. The group was heading back after riding out to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Holmdel, New Jersey, when they noticed Springsteen, wearing a brown leather jacket, beside his broken down motorcycle.
When the group couldn’t charge Springsteen’s battery, they took him to a nearby restaurant, where they all hung out for about just under an hour before Springsteen’s ride picked up him. Of the experience, Barkalow said, “Nice guy, real down to earth. Just talked about motorcycles and his old Freehold days.”
Springsteen, who is famously from New Jersey, still resides in the state. He reportedly took down the riders’ names and phone numbers and told them he’d get them tickets to his next show in the area.
After posting a photo of Springsteen to the Freehold American Legion – Monmouth Post 54 Facebook page, commenters started leaving aggressive politically-charged insults. Springsteen is a noted liberal who supported Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. People presumably in support of president-elect Donald Trump denounced the riders for extending a helping hand to Springsteen, which prompted a back-and-forth between supporters of the two candidates.
Of the controversy the picture spawned, the group admin added a statement to the picture:
“What started out as a story of interest posted to our American Legion Facebook page has devolved into a nauseating political altercation full of vitriol and insults, none of which are from our members.”