Bill was grateful for the help in reuniting him with “the most important thing I have.”
It’s no secret that former NBA star and TV personality Bill Walton wears his passions on his sleeve. He loves the Grateful Dead. He loves basketball. And he loves, loves, loves cycling. Having undergone over 40 surgeries for back and feet issues, he has found an outlet in cycling, calling it in a WSJ interview “the most important thing I have. It is my gym, my wheelchair and my church all in one.”
You could imagine how he would feel if his bike was lost. And at 7 feet tall, his bike is a custom affair that can’t be replaced without great time and expense.
Over the weekend, Walton was put through the wringer as his bike was lost luggage on a trip via Hawaiian Airlines from Honolulu to Maui.
He was apoplectic, reaching out via social media with this tweet, which also shows just how big his big bike is:
Will the people at @HawaiianAir in Honolulu please give me my bike back, I love my bike, I need my bike" https://t.co/mqijDYWaM7— Bill Walton (@Bill Walton) 1479149900.0
He was flying to Hawaii for a vacation, the high point of which was a cycle tour of the majestic volcanos. So lacking a bike would put a pretty serious damper on his trip.
It turns out that by venting on Twitter, the likeable celebrity managed to put a fair amount of pressure on the airline to find his missing bike, both from sympathetic Twitter users and from media outlets that had picked up the story. Not wanting to be the guys that lost Bill Walton’s prized bike, Hawaiian Airlines, bombarded with messages, went to work.
Walton was also tweeting non-stop to his followers expressing his pain and frustration. This went beyond rage. Bill NEEDS that bike in his life.
@myteem32 @loriMwalton Can't believe my bike made it all over China but Hawaiian Air couldn't get it from Honolulu to Maui— Bill Walton (@Bill Walton) 1479169353.0
@vincebriones @HawaiianAir Unlike Hawaiian Airlines, you get it— Bill Walton (@Bill Walton) 1479161731.0
Oh, and he deviated from his mission for one tweet to discuss his lovely pit bull in the pic:
@jacobsmith22 Thanks for adopting a pittie, she is beautiful— Bill Walton (@Bill Walton) 1479154858.0
Fortunately, the tweeting and faith paid off, with the bike coming back to its rightful owner:
My bike is back!! Things are A LOT better now. Thanks Twitter and @mauicyclery for your help. I'm off to the volcano https://t.co/n8BMjAXC7s— Bill Walton (@Bill Walton) 1479170806.0
And Bill was gracious enough to give props to the hundreds (possibly thousands) of folks who pinged Hawaiian Airlines on his behalf:
I KNOW I got my bike back because of your tweets to Hawaiian Air, I didn't have any luck until then. Thanks everyon… https://t.co/eSBz85MYo7— Bill Walton (@Bill Walton) 1479171624.0
Here’s to hoping that Bill has a great trip riding through Hawaii and maybe considers shipping his bike back home given his recent experience.