Kids Share Birthday Love with Signing and Singing

My last blog gave two examples of birthday kindness from strangers to little boys. But this one is about kiddos returning the favor for an adult in their lives. And a teacher providing her students with a valuable lesson along the way.

A Tennessee kindergarten class learned how to sign Happy Birthday to surprise the hearing impaired school custodian with the birthday song.

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The custodian, identified by The Tennessean as James Anthony, immediately brought his hands to his head in disbelief, his mouth open in a stunned smile.

The cute video of the children singing and signing to a very shocked Mr. Anthony was posted on the school’s website.

Dozens commented on the video to wish a happy birthday to the custodian, who has served in the county for 20 years.

“Happiest of birthdays, Mr. James! You haven’t aged a bit,” wrote Elizabeth Fox. “What a blessing you have been to the students and staff of many Coffee County schools.”

“I am 34 years old and Mr James was my janitor at Hickerson as well!!!! GOD BLESS this wonderful man!!!!!!!!!!” Jordan Carter commented.

The teacher and students are pretty wonderful too for learning the signs to make this birthday message so special to him.

Pots and Pizza? 2 Examples of Birthday Kindness

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Birthdays often bring out the best in others. If you’re at a stadium and someone starts singing “Happy Birthday” to a stranger a few rows back, you’re likely to hear a chorus of sudden comrades joining in too. People also go out of the way for others.

In an example from my local Charlotte newspaper, a Mom was carrying pots of water in 90-degree heat from her kitchen sink to her son’s kiddie pool outside. He and his friends were going to cool off in the pool to celebrate his birthday. 

On the way back from a call, Firehouse Engine 18 happened to see the Mom struggling to fill the pool and stopped to help out. “What was just a simple task for us turned into laughter, smiles, and a life long memory for the neighborhood kids as well as the men on Engine 18.”

It’s the little things that can bring the biggest smiles to our faces!

More Birthday Kindness

In another outpouring of stranger love for a boy’s birthday, take a look at this pic of forlorn six-year-old Teddy. The boy expected a crowd of 32 classmates at his pizza party, but no one showed up.

His mother sent a photo of her son sitting alone with the empty plates and uneaten pizzas to a local Tucson, Arizona, reporter, who posted it to Facebook. It went viral.

birthday kindness

The result?

  • The local iHeartRadio station staged a birthday do-over.
  • Teddy has also received Twitter invites from professional basketball and soccer teams to celebrate his birthday at their upcoming games
  • Music producer DJ Khaled shared the image on Instagram, wished “Young King Teddy” a happy birthday, and promised him a gift.

Now, a cynic could argue that all of these are entities trying to get marketing out a sad six-year-old’s situation, but the grand gestures weren’t the only thing Teddy enjoyed.

His family received kind words and birthday wishes from all over the country and as far away as Canada and Argentina. Mazzini said so many people wanted to send birthday cards to Teddy that she set up a P.O. box.

“Teddy is learning how to read and write, and it would be nice if he had a birthday card from anyone who wants to send one,” she said. All birthday wishes to Teddy can be sent to P.O. Box 18952, Tucson, AZ 85731.

Facebook Fundraisers for Birthdays = $$$

 

facebook fundraiser

Image source: Facebook

This blog has looked at birthday generosity and social media etiquette around birthdays in the past. So, it only makes sense to examine a merger of the two: using Facebook fundraisers on your birthday to donate to a cause you care about.

The feature began just over a year ago, and already its earned more than $300 million for various causes, per Facebook. About 750,000 non-profits currently have access to Facebook’s fundraising tools, but the feature isn’t yet available in every country.

Still, the feature itself is easy to use. You can create a birthday fundraiser for an organization that you have in mind already, or use their selection tool to find a beneficiary to support.

Top organizations benefitting from the birthday fundraisers include:

  • St. Jude
  • Alzheimer’s Association
  • American Cancer Society
  • Share Our Strength—No Kid Hungry
  • American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

And just before you shrug your shoulders at this as a way for Facebook to make money off people’s good intentions, the company in November 2017 waived fees. So 100% of all donations made on Facebook go directly to the nonprofits.

Famous Folks and Me on Facebook

This Facebook tool has been used by an array of Facebook users (or the PR handlers posing as celebrities online). The company shared:

Not wanting to make it a popularity contest or anything, but Madonna opened a fundraiser benefitting a Home of Hope orphanage located in a rural, high-need area of Malawi.

Her post noted, “For my birthday, I can think of no better gift than connecting my global family with this beautiful country and the children who need our help most. Every dollar raised will go directly to meals, schools, uniforms and healthcare.” Her fans and Facebook friends helped her surpass a million dollar goal in just two months!

Facebook fundraiser

Image source: Facebook

I did my own birthday fundraiser for my local library system’s foundation this October. At the time of this writing, I’d reached a whopping $15. I did use Madonna’s tally today to suggest that surely I could get to my $150 goal. We’ll see I guess!

Going with the Flo for Birthday Generosity

I live in a city that is bracing for residual impacts of Hurricane Florence. We’re expecting heavy rains and high winds tomorrow. Already the trees in my backyard are dancing, and the kids in the neighborhood are too (since they’ve been out of school since Wednesday afternoon). I’m a little anxious about what might be coming our way. But, this happy hurricane-related birthday generosity helped me feel better.

In other parts of North Carolina, there have been evacuations and Flo came to shore howling hard. But, Red Cross workers in Hay River, N.C. still found time to share the birthday spirit. Upon learning that two teens in their shelter were having birthdays, they held an impromptu birthday party. They brought in a cake to serve and pizza for a shared celebration for the displaced 11-year-old and a 13-year-old.

“It’s the most humbling experience you’ll ever have. It really is, to see people happy and to know they feel comfortable and they feel safe, is our reward. That’s what we appreciate,” a Red Cross worker at the shelter told a CBS News outlet.

I appreciate the feel-good story related to birthdays. My stress levels about the pending storm may even have gone down while writing this!

Plus, while looking for a good image to use with this blog, I came across an article entitled: “You’ve Been Cutting Birthday Cake Wrong For Your Entire Life.” Oh my goodness, you know there is a blog waiting to happen there! I’ll get that one out to you in October (just before celebrating my own birthday—Yippee).

Stranger Makes Birthday Surprise Complete

Birthdays can bring out the best in people. Not always in the person actually celebrating the birthday — she can get a bit demanding (she writes while pointing to herself). But other people often really step up to help someone celebrate a birthday and feel loved. That is the big reason I love birthdays so much.

Here’s a great example from Canada (my native land).

Birthday surprise

A Halifax woman who wanted to surprise her mother for her birthday turned to Reddit for help. The thing was her Mom lives 4,000 kilometres away, in a tiny rural community in Manitoba, nearly four hours northwest of Winnipeg, where there aren’t any floral delivery shops.

So, Alison Hill, put a post on Reddit the night before her mother’s 71st birthday to see if anyone nearby was willing to bring her mother flowers. Within minutes someone had volunteered!

Hill ordered flowers in Dauphin, Man., about a 40-minute drive from her mom’s place, and offered to pay for the gas. But the man wouldn’t take it.

The Surprise Happens

The next day, Tia Hill was sitting in her front yard enjoying birthday wine with her husband and a few neighbors. She told the CBC she said, “If I had known we were having company, I would have baked a cake.”

Moments later, a grey truck pulled up and a man got out to ask if she was Tia. When she said she was, the man went around to the passenger side and came back with an urn full of salmon pink hibiscus and a birthday cake.

The flowers were from Alison and her three-year-old son. The carrot cake was a surprise for both women.

“A perfect stranger,” Tia Hill remarked. “She just ordered the flowers, he ordered the cake. And I was so taken aback. What a wonderful thing to do for somebody.”

Alison Hill added, “I thought that was amazing. It never even occurred to me to get her a cake — I just wanted to send her flowers!”

Tia Hill even called the florist to track the man down and thank him, but he had given a different name there than he gave on Reddit. “I don’t know who this man is, but he came with flowers and a birthday cake, so I love him to death,” Tia Hill said.

Alison Hill wrote back to thank the man too:  “He just said that I’m very welcome, and he does these things because he hopes someday someone will look out for his mom, too.”

 

Queen E. II Rocks Out on Her Birthday

Queen's birthday

Image source Reuters

Many Brits love their Queen, and the fact that she has two birthdays regularly gets a spike in news coverage at this time of year. I’ve mentioned this before — the two birthdays for the monarch goes back to 1748 when England’s King George II, born in November, wanted a fair weather birthday celebration. He decided to make his official birthday in June, and the habit stuck.

This year, though, to celebrate her 92nd birthday, Queen Elizabeth II was feted with a star-studded pop concert. We’re talking Sting, Tom Jones… In fact, the opening number for the night was his “It’s Not Unusual,” which I have long loved for the hilarity of the “oonga shaka” chorus.

Shaggy, Kylie Minogue, Shawn Mendes, and Ladysmith Black Mambo were also among those on the bill for the longest-reigning, living monarch’s shindig in London’s Albert Hall. The Queen took the throne, in case you aren’t old enough to remember, in 1952! At the end of the concert, Prince Charles, 70, took the stage to lead a rousing round of cheers for his mother, who at 92 is also the oldest living monarch.

Birthday Fundraising

The concert was a “break in tradition” for the Queen as she usually celebrates more privately (and maybe noshing on jellied corgis, per a previous blog). Many of the Royal family members joined her in the box for this rocking birthday bash, which was also televised and aired on BBC channels.

The Queen’s actual birthday of April 21 was also marked with an honorary gun salutes in Hyde Park and at the Tower of London and in the town of Windsor.

The concert was also a fundraiser for The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, so she gets to join my list also of people who use their birthdays to raise donations or show generosity to others. The charity, led by her grandson Harry, will “encourage young people to excel in areas like sports, education, health and the environment across the 53 Commonwealth countries.”

Queen's Birthday

Image source Reuters

Birthday Concert Just the Beginning

Of course, the concert is only one of the Queen’s birthday events. I mean, she’s really someone who knows how to keep the birthday going and going, In June, all of London will celebrate her “official” birthday at the Trooping the Colour, an annual military parade which will bring all the royals back to the balcony of the Palace (including, presumably, the by then newly married Henry and Meghan). 

According to the Royal Mint, “during the ceremony, trained and fully operational members of the Household Division greet The Queen with a royal salute. She then inspects the troops, riding past them in a carriage. After the massed bands have performed a musical ‘troop,’ the regimental colour, or flag, is carried down the ranks of troops. Chalk up one more advantage to being Queen — the picture below suggests this pomp and circumstance is probably a bit more exciting than a balloon bouquet!

Queen birthday

Trooping the Colour, from the Royal Mint

Birthday Generosity for a BK Loyalist

While this may seem like advertising for Burger King, I would like to share this evidence that birthdays make people go out of their way to show they care.

Harold Rinehimer, a resident of Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, is a stalwart Burger King visitor. According to local media there, Harold has walked from his apartment to the fast food restaurant “every day, twice a day, for nearly two decades.”

“I guess I like the stuff down here, the food, the times, and I see good friends down here,” Harold said.

Birthday Kindness

Upon discovering that Harold was turning 80, employees planned a surprise party for his birthday.

Seeing the big smile on Harold’s face at the surprise was worth the effort, said restaurant manager Elizabeth Phenotti. “It made my day…It’s just doing something nice for someone, making someone feel special. He sure needs it, he’s a wonderful person.”

Along with a cake at the party, employees gave Harold a card signed by everyone and a Burger King gift card.

birthday generosity

Image source: WNEP

“Faithfully, rain sleet, snow, shine, he always makes it here. I think it’s awesome that he’s lived to be 80. Hopefully, he has a lot more years,” said Burger King employee Audam Fogle.

“That was a nice thing they did for him,” said Nick Indelicato, who met Harold at the BK and often shares a meal with him there. “He was really surprised, so that was nice.”

Harold’s advice? Life goes by too fast, so enjoy it.

Since Harold’s first meal of the day at the BK is breakfast, and he returns for dinner, he definitely started his birthday on the right note — cake for breakfast!