56 children from the Atlantic City Boys and Girls Club were given shiny new bikes built Thursday by employees of SafeNet, who had no idea where the bikes were going.
"It's a team building exercise to understand a little bit about each other, about ourselves and working together to build something for our customers, what they don't know is that our customer is actually a child that's in need of a bike," said SafeNet Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer Phil Saunders.
The boys and girls were led into the room much to the surprise of the employees who gave them a standing ovation.
"It's been a rough year for people in this area in general, I'm sure these kids more than others, and to put some joy back in their lives with a brand new bike, it's an awesome feeling for everybody in the room I'm sure," said SafeNet Corporate Vice President for Business Development Sean Price.
Three SafeNet leaders, who are also natives of New Jersey, helped bring the conference to Atlantic City because of their own losses during Hurricane Sandy.
"New Jersey got hit very hard with Sandy. We choose Atlantic City for our site for our worldwide kickoff because we wanted to give something back to the community," said Terry Mahoney, SafeNet Vice President of American Sales.
As for the kids, receiving the new bikes after a difficult few months where many lost their homes and property, all 56 had a reason to smile Thursday with many saying how much they loved their new bikes and how grateful they were for the people that helped build them.
And for the 280 SafeNet employees participating and Boys and Girls Club volunteers, their smiles rivaled those of the children.
"I hope the kids remember it for a long time but I guarantee the adults will remember it for a very long time," said Price.
"I think the adults were smiling more than the kids. This was a great, great event and we want to thank SafeNet," said Joyce Tilton of the Atlantic City Boys and Girls Club.
Employees and kids also took time to pose for pictures, exchange stories and get to know each other.