FOX 2 - The motorcycles were quiet this year due to COVID-19, yet the Wayne County Sheriff still escorted The Ride for Autism representatives to meet with families impacted by autism who waited in the rain just to celebrate these special people on this special day.
A medallion ceremony was held Sunday, which is normally part of a fun-filled day with hundreds of bikers raising money for activities like Christmas parties and Easter parties to celebrate children with autism and their families.
It was 6-year-old Remir's first time at the event.
"I wasn't expecting a turn-out like this but this is awesome for kids with autism," said dad Ronald Cook. "It's nice for kids to get out and enjoy this - regardless of the weather. I'm just happy that he can be a part of this today."
Other families have been coming to The Ride for Autism for many years. This was the 16th year for the event and even though it is a lot different because of the pandemic, the masks could not hide the smiles and pride these kids are feeling.
"It's very good - it's very good," said Adam Reinke.
FOX 2: "You like this year's medal?"
"Yes I do (and we got) to do something different," he said.
"It's great that they're still able to do something like this because it is special - it's something they do look forward to every year," said dad David Reinke.
"It's really nice because we get to see the children as they grow, we get to see their accomplishments," said Rachel Adams, the ambassador for The Ride for Autism. "They're not just kids - she just graduated high school."
According to the CDC, one in 54 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in the U.S. It can be challenging for families - but this special day brought so many smiles.
The party bus traveled from the Southfield Public Library to the Northville Township Fire Department and then to Motown Harley Davidson in Taylor - all along the way meeting families determined to see the ability in their child's disability and to celebrate that, with a medal.
"We had to do something and this really turned out to be something really amazing," said Sal Ferra.