Bryan Miles’ Christmas mission started in mid-October when a mother and son duo approached his driveway in Osoyoos looking for a silver and blue bicycle.
Miles was tasked with fixing the kid’s rusty, damaged bike one week earlier, after making an innocent Facebook post about wanting to help make as many dreams come true as he could.
“I would like to do something for people in need this holiday season,” he wrote in a local social media group. So like a real-life elf, Miles has turned his garage into something akin to Santa’s workshop.
His idea was simple: use the tools in his Osoyoos garage to repair bikes across the Okanagan that belong to kids and families who can’t afford to buy a new one.
Since then, he’s repaired 25 bicycles and currently has 40 more in his driveway ready for a fix.
“My heart says this…no kid should go without a bike,” Miles said. “Helping is not always about money, putting a smile on someone’s face can change their life.”
The Osoyoos resident has spent hours each day in November working on his repairs. Some bicycles take two hours to fix, and others occupy less than 20 minutes of his time.
Either way, Miles is prepared to finish the job no matter what before Christmas morning.
“If I still have a few left to fix by the time Christmas Eve comes around, I’ll be working through the night, making sure that every kid gets that smile on their face,” he said.
Miles thinks about that schoolyard conversation that happens every January when kids return to school from winter break — what did you get for Christmas?
Sometimes, it’s not such a fun question to answer.
“Hearing about what others got for Christmas doesn’t always make someone feel good at that age,” he explained. “A lot of families are struggling financially and not every kid is going to have that holiday moment they dream of.”
By the time the holidays have come and gone, Miles is expecting to have completed more than 70 bicycles as a Christmas surprise for kids across the region.
It’s not just Miles, though. The community has rallied to donate several bikes that aren’t being used, so the Osoyoos resident can gift them to families in need.
For weeks, Miles has had people drop off bikes to him in Osoyoos. He’s also volunteered to pick them up, as evident by his posts on Facebook.
It’s all been worth it, he says, especially after seeing the look on one Oliver boy’s face when he presented him with his new and improved bike.
“When I finished the bikes and I saw the little boy’s smile after seeing the bike, it literary brought tears to my eyes,” Miles said. “One of the reasons I do this is because so many people have helped me in life, and I just want to do the same.”
Updates on Miles’ Christmas mission can be found on the Osoyoos Connect Facebook page.
When asked about whether his region-wide giveback would carry on past the holidays, he took the idea one step further.
“Of course, I’d love to do this more often,” he replied. “Right now it’s been more about the kids, but I’d also like to possibly do this for adults, too, and give back to everyone.”