ANDERSON – It began with a simple request for her son’s 21st birthday, for friends to drive by their house and honk.
“Mathew loves loud noises and sirens,” Kim Davis-Robinette said of her son, Mathew Robinette.
What followed Saturday was a 90-minute cavalcade of more than 100 motorcycles, hundreds of vehicles, a dozen fire and police vehicles and performances by several marching bands and dance groups.
They combined to form an impromptu parade full of revving engines and screaming sirens, all for an Anderson man with cerebral palsy, autism and other disabilities.
“It’s overwhelming. … They are doing this just for one person,” Davis-Robinette said. “This boy who can’t speak has shown people what love is.”
As the vehicles passed, Davis-Robinette thanked each driver with a beaming smile and many hugs on behalf of her son, who sat in his wheelchair smiling and laughing. When a particularly loud truck or race car passed, Mathew Robinette would yell loudly with joy.
“You know how kids get when they go to Disney World? Well, this is him, this is his Disney World,” Davis-Robinette said.
Though the event was for her son’s birthday, Davis-Robinette hoped seeing the community come together for one person would help spread more good feelings for a world that can often seem hateful.
“Today just goes to show you how much love is in this community,” she said. “There is so much hate going on in the world, and people just want something to hold on to. Do something good. Do something fun.”
Michael Alley drove his race car covered in puzzle pieces, a symbol for autism awareness, in the parade Saturday to support Robinette and all people who have autism.
Alley’s son is autistic, so the parade struck particularly close to home.
“This is awesome, right here,” he said of the massive crowd.
Pat Boyer with the Madison County Biker Died Here group helped draw more than 100 bikers to the event.
“It’s just a simple day for a handicapped kid," Boyer said. "Wouldn’t have it any other way. We blow it up and make it good.”
Sara Smith, who brought her Cheer Fusion Elite group to the parade, said the celebration illustrated people's capacity to do good.
“With all the hate, it really shows you,” Smith said. “All she asked for was a couple cars, and look how it turned out.”