COCONUT CREEK (CBSMiami) – COVID-19 forced Giulia and David Vilar to cancel their joint birthday with dozens of their friends. Their mom, Cynthia, said the kids were bummed out.
“The kids were really frustrated,” she said.
Giulia is turning 12 this month and David turned 9 last month and they’ve been discussing their party for months. Then on Monday, Cynthia saw a post on Facebook from Joshua Rydell, Vice Mayor of Coconut Creek, offering something to cheer up her kids. It was advertising a birthday house call from the Coconut Creek Police Department. She reached out immediately.
“They called me right away,” she said.
Then on Tuesday afternoon, around 4:45, Rydell and several police officers turned onto the Vilar’s street. Sirens were blasting and megaphones were in hand.
“David and Giulia, Happy Birthday from the City of Coconut Creek,” came the cry from Rydell’s minivan.
Then, a rendition of “Happy Birthday” poured forth.
Giulia and David looked awestruck. At first. Giulia thought she might be in trouble.
“I was like, “What’s happening?” she said. “I was really scared.”
David didn’t know what to think.
“I heard them say my name and I’m like,” he said, as he made a surprised face.
The joy of the moment even got hold of Lieutenant Henry Cabrera. He belted out “Happy Birthday” into a megaphone.
“I wasn’t planning on doing that but it’s a birthday, so I figured why not?” he said.
The police even gave the kids a goodie bag with a mini-football, a little frisbee, a pen and some candy inside. Rydell, a father of two young children, said he thought it would be a good idea to make birthday house calls to kids who can’t have parties on their special day.
“Times are difficult right now,” he said. “It’s trying times. The best we can do as a city is give back to our residents. Right now an easy thing to do is kids are missing birthday parties and this is the littlest thing that we can do to make things a whole lot better for them.”
Coconut Creek Police said they made 4 birthday house calls on Tuesday. Giulia and David were the first in the city. Police spokesperson Scott Leamon said 48 residents have signed up for the birthday house calls. Leamon said if you live in Coconut Creek and have a young child who has a birthday in the next few weeks, send an email to email@example.com and they’ll try to get you on their list.
Giulia and David loved knowing that even though they’re stuck at home and didn’t get a birthday party, they still got to feel awfully special, thanks to some kind, thoughtful people.
“This is something they will never forget,” Cynthia said.