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.

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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.

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).

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.

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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!

Answering Birthday Call to Duty

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There is little that makes me sadder than stories of a child having no one attend his or her birthday. I’ve written before about the need to be considerate and RSVP to party invitations. In today’s example, the parents were still hoping for the best even though they hadn’t heard back from anyone. But, even after they prepared pizza and cake for the friends they expected to show up regardless of their rude inability to say “yes” or “no,” no one turned up for their 8-year-old’s big day!

Apparently this wasn’t even the first time — the same thing happened on the child’s sixth birthday!

So, the mom went on social media to ask for people to join her son’s party:

“I think I’m posting this out of utter emotional distress … but I need to ask if anyone wants to come to an 8 yr old boys birthday party to show him that he’s loved and valued as a person…NO gifts are required other than the gift of friendship.”

When she didn’t get any responses immediately, she went to the local police station and asked if an officer might attend. Her son has always wanted to join the force. And that’s where this story takes its turn for the better.

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Members of both the police and fire department showed up to fete Graham. Cruisers lined the street of his neigbourhood. Plus, others who had seen the social media also showed up to share their best wishes.

The Mom was tearful in describing her gratitude to the Dallas News: “Something like this, it literally guts you as a parent because you can’t fix it, at least in that moment…But the Hurst Police Department and the Hurst Fire Department, they went above and beyond and made his day.”

There are so many ways in which you can make someone’s day on their birthday. I hope this glimmer of kindness inspires you!

Inspired by Birthday Generosity

Birthday generosity makes me happy. So forgive me for sharing yet more examples of people doing good deeds with their birthdays.

In Lynchburg, West Virginia, a pair of siblings asked friends to bring toy donations to their birthday party. Josie, 7, and Jett, 9, then took the gifts to donate to a local non-profit that helps kids going through the court system — many of the under the age of five. These youngsters have been taken from their homes and had to leave their things behind, so this #bdaygenerosity is certainly appreciated.

Homeless pets were the beneficiaries in Richmond, Virginia, when two boys asked for birthday donations to a pet shelter. Hatcher and Sam asked for gifts they could give to animals in need, and also set up a lemonade stand to raise added funds!

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Adults get in on the action too. A women’s auxiliary in California hosts an annual Birthday Luncheon to collect gifts for the local Children’s Fund serving neglected, abused and abandoned children San Bernardino County. Now it in its 19th year, the luncheon has donated more than 42,000 gifts to the group. In May 2017 alone the group collected 5,417 birthday gifts to give.

Others are inspired to found organizations dedicated year round to the cause of celebrating birthdays. In Charleston, South Carolina, Steffi Green and her husband founded Birthdays for All to celebrate birthdays for children in foster care.

“I never want a kid to look back on their life and be like ‘I never had a birthday,’ ” Green said.

Megan Yunn is similarly determined. Her non-profit Beverly’s Birthday holds about 120 group birthday parties a year in the greater Pittsburgh area for over 2,000 children and guests. The group distributes over 1,300 presents.

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“We all have birthdays, and everyone should know that they are loved, cared for, that they’re noticed and special,” Yunn has said. “Birthdays are joy and hope and smiles. It’s not about lavishness, it’s just about the notion that there are genuinely good people out there and we want to be able to support these families.”

Heal Heartbreak with a Birthday.

Birthday generosity

Photo credit: volp91w / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

#bdaygenerosity is one of my favorite hashtags to use on my twitter account. I love seeing the ways in which people use birthdays to do nice things for others.

I’ve written about passing on birthday kindness before, of course. I love non-profits that work to give children birthday parties. I’ve written before about Birthday Blessings and others, but here’s a story about another one in Texas — The Birthday Party Project — and its efforts also in Minneapolis.

Here are some other great examples:

  • A nine-year-old girl hosting a food drive for her birthday told an Orlando TV station, “I like helping people more than I like getting stuff…I like making people happy.”
  • Siblings in New York invited 100 folks to their birthday, asking them to bring bread and deli meat instead of gifts, and together the party made more than 900 sandwiches to take to an Albany homeless shelter.
  • A woman who hosts CPR training parties for her birthday after her life was saved by an MLB umpire at an Arizona Diamondbacks game.

The Global Poverty Project contrasted the extravagance of Kylie Jenner’s 2015 birthday celebrations with the selflessness of Nobel Peace Prize-winning education activist Malala Yousafzai who marked her 18th birthday by opening a school for Syrian refugees.

Instead of having a lavish party, she spent the day in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley at a school intended to help 200 girls gain baccalaureate and vocational degrees.

“I am honored to mark my 18th birthday with the brave and inspiring girls of Syria.” Malala said in a statement. “On this day, I have a message for the leaders of this country, this region and the world – you are failing the Syrian people, especially Syria’s children. This is a heartbreaking tragedy – the world’s worst refugee crisis in decades.”

Using a birthday to fight heartbreak? That’s truly something to celebrate.

 

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Author: United Nations Photo / photo on flickr