Countdown to the most beautiful day: ‘Lord, misterrr, vroomvroem, photo?’


He had just had his cup of coffee at a restaurant in Heerde when they were already crowding around his motorcycle. Two children with disabilities. They talked a lot; full of enthusiasm and joy at the sight of the great beast.

By Alex de Jong @ Attestation Communication

‘It was so nice to see’, says Karel Wandelee, then 42 (now 68), avid motorcyclist and – at the time – owner of Het Koopmanshuys. ‘We took extensive pictures of the kids on my big BMW. It was amazing. ‘ When he was back, behind the bar, he told the guests about the incident and thought, ‘How wonderful it would be if we could take such children on a motorcycle and give them the best day of their lives.’

One led to the other. Bar guests reacted enthusiastically, ‘dreaming’ with Wandelee, sparring with him about what such a ‘Beautiful Day’ should look like, and volunteered as a driver or volunteer. ‘Why did this idea arise? Simply because of the joy of the two children ‘, he says now, 26 years later. ‘In my family there are no children with Down syndrome or other mental disabilities. Although of course you can always argue about it ‘, he laughs. The pub owner went into De Schakel, told about his wild plan to arrange ‘a day out’ for the kids, and ‘got’ 319 kids for his idea.

‘Then you suddenly have another problem: where do you get so many motorcyclists from?’ He received many applications through the pub, but not near enough. An appeal in the newspaper gave comfort. “But of course there are also children who cannot ride a motorcycle. So “after 1.5 hours of begging,” he arranged for three buses. ‘With old drivers sacrificing their day off for it and from the first moment wanting to come along every year and claim this as’ our day out ‘and keep other colleagues away from it.’ And just in case, he also arranged for an ambulance. And the police. To guide the convoy and to be able to ignore traffic lights and take crosses in convoy. “As soon as you stop, these kids will get off, so avoid that.” Sometimes the column is twenty minutes long.

What started with ‘a crazy idea’ was picked up by others

‘People get out of the car, waving and cheering; how beautiful is it? ‘, it sounds full of excitement. He wanted to arrange healthy food, but it turned into fritters, freebies and an ice cream, ‘because that’s what gives them the greatest joy’. Staatsbosbeheer made Weerribben available for the first time (‘and since then we always go somewhere to a place that belongs to Staatsbosbeheer’). There were tents against possible rain; everything had been thought of. All for nothing or for almost nothing (‘because we also received donations from which we could pay for things again’). In six weeks, there was a party they had never experienced before. “When mothers come to me and say, ‘You made my baby happy today,’ that’s the best compliment you can get.” After the first day came the discharge; he has ‘whined’ and leaned against his motorcycle.

What started with ‘a crazy idea’ was picked up by others. Karel does not need credits for that. It is not his honor, but ‘all the enthusiasts’ who took it up with him and after him. The joy of these children, the enthusiasm of the people on the side; the will of motorcyclists, volunteers, catering companies, artists who act selflessly, the three hundred helmets he received from Wim Kalsbeek, and all the others who contribute … Karel is grateful for this. He was there for fifteen years; still now and then.

“It’s like my baby, but there’s a time when you’ll have to let go of that baby. And let’s be honest: it’s had really good foster parents, so I never worried about that.” edition is now in the pipeline.
And the two kids who started it all? The two who shouted enthusiastically: ‘Sir, sirrr, are you riding a motorcycle? Pious, photo? ‘ They sowed the seed, but Charles had no idea who they were or where they were. ‘I never saw them again; nor during the Most Beautiful Day. ‘ Maybe he sees them again on the anniversary edition, I think secretly; ‘the soft’ will probably cry again …

Leave a Comment