DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Time now for StoryCorps, people talking about the things that matter most. Happy Dodson and Taz Roman are bikers and they're members of a group called Bikers Against Child Abuse. Here's how it works. Social workers and cops refer children who have been abused to the bikers and when the kids don't feel safe, they call Happy, Taz and their biker friends, who ride straight to the child's house.
HAPPY DODSON: You had 15, 20 bikes rolling down the street, and everybody's in leather. You know, everybody works, and everybody's got everything else going on, but we drop all that stuff for that kid.
TAZ ROMAN: We have a kid right now and she goes up to any biker.
DODSON: And she'll let you know real quick she's in our family. I remember the first day we gave her the vest, just like we wear. She put it on, her mom said she slept with it for three days, wouldn't take it off.
ROMAN: You know, kids understand that we're scarier than the person that's abusing them.
DODSON: And then they realize that, hey, there are adults that we can trust and will take care of us. There's just no way to describe the feeling. And normally I'm not a soft person, I'll tell you, so you better not say nothing about this to anybody.
ROMAN: I don't know nothing about nothing.
DODSON: So why'd you get involved?
ROMAN: My stepdad, you know, he'd come home drunk and start whaling on me every single night. I used to think it was my fault, and it was hard growing up like that. I think as a kid you always feel like you're alone. You're going to bed with this burden every single night, and you wake up knowing exactly what's going to happen the next day. You're so scared that you don't know how to go about talking to somebody about it.
So if I can help kids overcome their fear, then maybe that'll help me deal with the history that I came from.
DODSON: I wish it was something we didn't have to do.
ROMAN: I feel exactly the same way. At the end of the day, you want these kids to have a better future than you could have possibly had. When I put my kid to bed, that's what I think about. You don't just want it for your kid, you want it for everybody's kid. And I think that's what helps me sleep better at night.
GREENE: That's Happy Dodson and Taz Roman, members of Bikers Against Child Abuse in Norwich, Connecticut. Every biker has to pass a federal background check before they can join this group. This interview, like all StoryCorp recordings, is archived at the Library of Congress.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.