A veterans biker gang was making its way back from a Veteran's Day event when they stumbled across a stranded biker on the side of the road. Without thinking, they stopped to help but were taken aback to see who exactly they were assisting--none other than Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bruce Springsteen.
"Bikers gotta stick together," the group's leader, 54-year-old Dan Barkalow, told the Associated Press. "I stopped to see if he needed help, and it was Bruce [Springsteen]."
Barkalow and his group tried to help the stranded Springsteen get back on the road. However, the bike could not be restarted, according to the AP. Springsteen then hopped on the back of one of the Legion Riders' bikes and the entire group headed to a local bar.
"We sat there and shot the breeze for a half hour, 45 minutes till his ride showed up," Barkalow said. "Nice guy, real down to earth. Just talked about motorcycles and his old Freehold days."
The Freehold American Legion Riders is a bike group for those who have actively served in the U.S. military, according to its Facebook page. Springsteen, who was raised in Freehold, is technically eligible to join the Sons of the American Legion Squadron as his father served in WWII.
Barkalow admits to CNN that he was "starstruck" to meet Springsteen and that "It's a day I probably won't forget for a while."
The music star bought the gang a round of drinks and offered tickets to his show if he tours through the area.
The event left a positive impression on Barkalow and his fellow Freeholders, calling Springsteen "a real nice, down-to-earth guy."
However, things turned sour when the Freehold American Legion-Monmouth Post 54 decided to share the story with their followers. Comments quickly turned political, denouncing Springsteen for being an avid Hillary Clinton supporter during the campaign. The original story was eventually taken down and replaced with an official statement from the group.
"What started out as a story of interest posted to our American Legion Facebook page has devolved into a nauseating political altercation full of vitriol and insults, none of which are from our members," the statement read. "If we are to survive as a nation both sides have to stop the hate."
Barkalow mentioned that during his 45-minute conversation with Springsteen, politics never came up. He was disappointed to see the negative reaction to the story and to Springsteen himself on the page.
"It's pretty disgusting," Barkalow told CNN. "All I know is, I'm a pretty humble guy. I just stopped to help someone out."
Sources: CNN, AP via The Guardian / Photo Credit: Freehold American Legion - Monmouth Post 54 / Facebook