This Is Why We Do What We Do
By Gerry Ashley


San Diego, CA - While most of the stories about Bandit and his many activities are light-hearted in nature, there's also a serious side to the picture. While Bandit and his owner, Mark Shaffer work tirelessly to entertain the public in general, the bulk and focus of their activities are to benefit others less fortunate. Whether it's helping to raise funds for fallen Police officers or bringing joy to the faces of those whose worlds are defined by the parameters of an illness or injury, the goal of these two is to leave everyone with a smile that takes away their harsh reality even if it's just for a few moments.

Shaffer, a real estate agent with Prudential CA Realty in San Diego's Central Office located in Mission Valley, notes, “When Bandit and I are headed home after an event, we always feel good knowing we've brought a few smiles to those otherwise have little or nothing to smile about. Often, those smiles are the only feedback we get.” 

However, occasionally Mark and Bandit get letters of appreciations from the families of those who have benefited from their labor of love. Shaffer recently received such a letter from the family of a young woman who was terminally ill at the San Diego Hospice. Shaffer was especially touched by the letter and received permission from the woman who sent it to share it with the public. Shaffer thought it appropriate because he wanted Bandit's fans to know, “This is what it's all about. Sure, I get a kick out of what we do, but it's the joy Bandit brings to so many that really means everything to me. And just when I think there are no words to describe the kind of joy it brings me, I get a letter like this one that puts it all into perfect perspective. In short,  this is why we do what we do.” 

The following is re-printed with the permission of the author: 

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Bandit and you last December at the Hospice of San Diego. I escorted my mom and dad (in their seventies) from Florida to spend eight terribly difficult days watching their daughter and my sister die.  Bandit rode into her room one day and I will forever be grateful for your generosity in volunteering your time to bring three big smiles during a very soul wrenching time ( I do not think Laurie was aware of your presence). Well, a couple of weeks ago mom and dad gave me a newspaper clipping of Bandit competing in the dog surfing competition. I am a veterinary technician and am always quite interested in our non human companions; particularly those who ride Harleys! However, experiencing their joy in seeing Bandit once again was heart warming. So, Mark, please know that what you are doing not only helps those such as ourselves during a time of complete devastation; your participation has life long effects.
I am truly grateful for you and Bandit.

Sherry M.