What would you do if you had planned a birthday party for your kiddo and received only “regrets” as RSVPs? How would you break the news in a way that doesn’t break the little tot’s heart?
For Melissa Reid, this was not a hypothetical situation. On September 23, she had to find a way to tell her 3-year-old son, Jackson, that his friends couldn’t make it to his party.
Melissa had everything ready to go for Jackson’s birthday, but on the morning of the party she started receiving text messages from parents as early as 7am telling her that the kids were sick and wouldn’t be making the party that afternoon. Out of eight families invited to the party, seven had cancelled.
Like any mom, Melissa dreaded having to break the news to Jackson … and seeing the look of disappointment in his eyes. So, she contacted the Harrisburg Fire Station to see if they’d let her bring Jackson by to look at the trucks, because he loves them.
When she called the station, Melissa spoke to Fire Captain Joe Yowler. She told him the story and he, of course, told her to bring sweet Jackson down to the station. But, he didn’t stop there. Capt. Yowler contacted all three crews and asked them to come to the station to surprise the family.
He told a local news station:
“As a parent, I was thinking about how devastating it was on both sides. Like, a 3-year-old is thinking all week about it being their birthday and having this big party and then not having it. So how could we make this better for the parent and the kid?”
So, when Jackson arrived, there were balloons, cupcakes, fire trucks, and a bunch of new friends ready to celebrate with him.
After the party, the Harrisburg Fire Department posted pictures along with Jackson’s story to their Facebook page. They said that the “birthday boy was pretty surprised to have nearly 15 Harrisburg members waiting to celebrate his birthday … Happy birthday Jackson we hope you had a fantastic day!!!”
Jackson not only got cupcakes and balloons, but he got a private tour of the station, got to play on the truck, and the guys all sang “Happy Birthday” to him.
Melissa was beyond grateful for the surprise and said that this was “the best party he’s ever had.”
Since the fire station posted the story to their Facebook page, it’s been shared thousands of times. Friends and followers all echo the gratitude Melissa expressed. Some are even genuinely jealous of the epic party Jackson got (honestly, same here!).
Capt. Yowler and the department are just happy they could make a bad situation good again. Though he never said it on record, we’re betting that Jackson has completely forgotten about the original birthday party plan.
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