A Virginia father decided to do something special for his daughter’s 18th birthday by bringing in a number of surprise guests to a parade.
On Oct. 17, Simuel Oliver Lewis III, of Radford, Va., invited first responders to help his daughter Jera celebrate her birthday. Amid the pandemic, Lewis told In The Know he had been searching for ideas on how to make Jera’s birthday fun.
“I had seen news stories about other people who had parades to celebrate special occasions, so I decided to see if I could arrange one for my daughter,” he said.
Because Jera’s mother recently had a kidney transplant, Lewis wanted to ensure that the celebration would be safe as well. So, the father reached out to his local police and fire departments in person to see if they would want to participate in an outdoor parade. They happily agreed.
“Jera misses being with her friends at church and at school,” Lewis explained, adding that he had limited his daughter’s outings for the sake of her mother’s well-being.
Lewis also put out an open call to friends and family on Facebook the morning of the parade. Later that day, first responders arrived with a fire truck, an ambulance and two police cars to his daughter’s surprise.
“Jera was very happy and excited, waving to first responders as they drove by,” the father recalled.
The feel-good surprise caught the attention of local station WSLS, which interviewed the family just days after they celebrated Jera’s birthday.
“[The parade] spoke to how special a person Jera is and that people really love her and have really missed being with her,” Lewis told the station. “She gives really good air hugs, but she definitely gives great, real hugs. She’s gotten pretty good at her air hugs, but we just miss that and being around people.”
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