It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s—Santa on a Motorcycle?

A local bartender gears up for his second annual Christmas quest.

The holiday season is all about giving, but some people find ways to give back simply for the fun of it. Rocco Malin, a 28-year-old bartender at Catherine Rooney’s in Trolley Square, decided last year on a whim to purchase toys for kids and then dress up as Santa and deliver the toys on his motorcycle Christmas morning.

He ordered a Santa suit from Amazon for himself and an elf suit for his friend, Jason Knowles, who assisted him during delivery. “I spent around $300 to $400 of my own money on presents last year,” Malin says.

Malin didn’t spend much time preparing for his Christmas delivery last year, so he didn’t have time to wrap the gifts he purchased from Target and Wal-Mart. He and Knowles rode around Wilmington and Newark handing out the toys to unsuspecting kids in neighborhoods, shopping centers and gas stations.

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He thought that was the end of it but a few months ago, friends and family started asking him if Santa was going to ride again. He decided to start a GoFundMe page to raise money to purchase gifts. He started the page about a month ago and has raised almost $4,000. “The largest donation I have received so far is $250,” says Malin. Friends, family and Catherine Rooney customers have also been donating cash and toys.

To accommodate the extra toys he will be delivering, Malin’s friend Matt Edgar built him a custom-made sleigh that he will attach to the back of his Kawasaki Vulcan 1500. Whatever doesn’t fit in his Santa bag and sleigh will be stowed in a friend’s truck, decorated in Christmas lights, trailing the sleigh.

Malin, a former U.S. Marine, says he has always enjoyed helping people. “I was an Eagle Scout as a child,” he says. “I even tried bringing a homeless man home for Thanksgiving last year.”

Malin will ride on Monday, Dec. 19, due to an impending knee surgery. He and Knowles will head out around noon and deliver gifts throughout Wilmington and eventually end up at Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. “This is just a fun way to help people out,” he says.

If you would like to donate a toy, drop it off at Catherine Rooney’s in Trolley Square (1616 Delaware Ave., Wilmington) before Sunday, Dec. 18. 

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