The joy of reuniting with someone or something special after decades is something that cannot be translated into words. The sheer nostalgia that the thing or the person may bring back is also something that is truly unparalleled by anything else in this whole entire world. In a similar occurrence of reunion, a 90-year-old man was reunited with his bike after 60 years! This emotional moment brought the 90-year-old grandpa and his son into tears.
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After spending months locating it in The Netherlands, where Bill Zandbelt had resided 60 years ago the family of Bill was able to find his exact bike and brought it to him for the first time since 1960. The teary reunion between Bill and his vintage 1956 DKW motorcycle occurred only four weeks after Bill’s wife of 60 years, Wilma, passed away at the age of 86, heightening the emotional impact. 60 years after leaving it behind in Holland when he emigrated to Ontario, Canada, to begin a new life with Wilma, Bill wept with happiness when his bike showed up in his living room.
The entire credit for bringing this bike back to his father goes to his son Vince. During an interview, he revealed, “Dad had told me about the bike and I thought it’d be a nice idea to bring it back to him as a surprise for his 90th birthday. He left it with my brother, Vincent, when he came to Canada, and he helped me trace its owners and find out who has it most recently. It was pretty special for me, to bring the bike back to dad. I love motorbikes and I knew how much this would mean to him. We managed to get it back to him almost 60 years to the day since the last photograph of him on the bike was taken.”
When Bill and Wilma immigrated to Canada in 1960 in quest of a better life than they had in post-war Europe, they left the bike behind with their brother Gerrit in the Netherlands. Bill had to give up the DKW RT 175 after only four years of ownership, which he assumed would be forever because the pair had just been married.
According to an interview, Vince spent around six months trying to relocate the bike and finally came up with plan to bring back his dad the bike he never though would meet him. Vince revealed that there had only ever been four owners of the motorbike, including Bill. This information eventually enabled him to locate the most recent owner, Hiem Janssen, a vintage motorcycle collector and restoration expert in Horst, Holland. Complete restoration of the bike was done by Janssen, who retained it in his collection.
Finally, Vince requested that he sell him this bike. The son went on to say that he had to negotiate with Hiem to get him to sell the bike, which he had come to “love” after restoring it to its former splendour, but after learning of Vince’s plan to surprise Bill, gave in to the notion of the sentimental reunion. Following the long and tedious process of finding and bringing the bike to Canada, Vince then surprised his father with this once in a lifetime moment.
After getting reunited with his bike Bill bursted into tears and stated, “I loved that bike very much, I had no choice but to leave it in Holland when we came to Canada. I never thought I’d see it again. This is mission accomplished, it brought back a lot of memories for me. It feels exactly the same as it did all those years ago. It feels like it did when I left it. It’s been very emotional and I am very grateful, it’s very special.”
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