A few years ago, Randal "Hoss" Caldwell was taking photographs at a car show in Blue Ball when a mother and her son stopped to talk to him and ask what he was doing. Caldwell explained that he was taking pictures to put on his blog, where he has cataloged thousands of images taken at the various car and motorcycle shows he attends. He gave the boy, who was mentally challenged, a business card with a link to the blog so he could see the pictures. "He was so happy he teared up and gave me a hug," recounted 69-year-old Caldwell.
That encounter was just the push that Caldwell said he needed to finally get to work on establishing Lloyd's Rides. The nonprofit organization is named after Caldwell's father, Lloyd, who died in 1983. "Both sides of our family had mentally challenged individuals, and he would always go out of his way to help them out," explained Caldwell.
Inspired by his father's example of living generously and prioritizing others' needs above his own, Caldwell created Lloyd's Rides to facilitate outings for individuals who would like to go for a motorcycle ride or a drive in another unique vehicle. He said that Lloyd's Rides will focus on reaching out to a variety of folks in need - whether they may be individuals who are mentally or physically challenged, veterans, or someone experiencing homelessness or other difficulties. The individuals can go out for lunch or ice cream or just a scenic drive - it is really up to each person's preference, said Caldwell.
Lloyd's Rides is registered as a tax-exempt public charity, but it is still in need of donations to cover the insurance costs of operating. To make a donation or to inquire about receiving a ride, interested individuals may visit http://lloydsrides.org. Volunteers with motorcycles and unique or antique vehicles who are interested in giving rides to individuals are needed too, and those individuals may email email@example.com.
Eventually, Caldwell hopes to open chapters in all 50 states. Caldwell is also on a mission to find the mother and son duo he talked to at the car show in Blue Ball. He does not know their names but is hoping somehow they will be able to reconnect so he can share how pivotal their brief encounter was in helping him to launch Lloyd's Rides. "I need to find the boy and his mom to give him a ride in his favorite ride," Caldwell said.
Caldwell lives in Manheim with his wife, Mary. The couple has been married for 45 years and has three children. Now retired, Caldwell said that Lloyd's Rides has become his full-time profession. He is in the process of having his dog, Sophie, trained to become a service dog so they can visit veterans at the Lebanon VA Medical Center together. Part of his desire to help veterans stems from the fact that he was unable to serve in the military due to medical issues. "I feel that (because) I didn't get to serve in Vietnam, I've got to do something to honor these guys," said Caldwell.