Sirens could be heard as firefighters and police officers in Riverside, California, arrived at young Browen Bell’s house for an unforgettable birthday surprise.
On March 19, California’s stay-at-home order forced Browen’s parents to call off his long-awaited birthday party, no doubt leaving the soon-to-be 9-year-old very disappointed.
However, thanks to generous community support, the young man will not soon forget how first responders came to his rescue, sending out police cruisers and two big red engines solely in his honor.
When the fire trucks from the City of Riverside’s Fire Station 3 arrived, the 9-year-old was a little timid. But after a little coaxing, Browen came out from his hiding spot behind a tree and listened with amazement as firefighters sang “Happy Birthday” over the intercom.
When the State COVID order cancels your 9th birthday party we got you covered. Happy Birthday Browen Bell from your firefighters at Riverside City Fire Station 3. When things get back to normal come by the station. pic.twitter.com/e4nWsjFIOn
— City of Riverside Fire Department (@rivcafire) March 21, 2020
Not long after, officers from the City of Riverside Police Department made their way to the Bell home to continue Browen’s birthday celebration.
“We couldn’t let our friends at the @rivcafire have all the attention,” the department tweeted, “so we also stopped by Browen’s house to wish him a happy birthday after his party had to be canceled. Thanks for giving us a break from all this seriousness for a little fun, buddy. Happy Birthday!”
We couldn’t let our friends at the @rivcafire have all the attention, so we also stopped by Browen’s house to wish him a happy birthday after his party had to be canceled. Thanks for giving us a break from all this seriousness for a little fun, buddy. Happy Birthday! pic.twitter.com/6ciol8XhQZ
— City of Riverside Police Department (@RiversidePolice) March 21, 2020
The first responders even got out of their vehicles to talk with the birthday boy and a few of his neighborhood friends.
Sadly, Browen is one of many children whose birthday celebrations have been affected by the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
And with more and more states issuing stay-at-home mandates, future parties are sure to be affected.
One mom told E! News her daughter “had big plans for her 12th birthday.”
“These plans included the traditional big family dinner and a shopping trip with friends at the [Mall of America], while also getting to assert a bit of independence there since she invited their moms to keep me company.”
“As everything started shutting down, Emily got sad and just kept saying, ‘Let’s just cancel my birthday,'” her mother shared.
But like Browen’s story, Emily’s also had a happy ending.
As she and her parents stood on their front porch, a parade of cars drove by, honking and wishing Emily a happy birthday.
“When it was over, she looked at me a bit teary and said that her ‘heart was full’ and that it was ‘the best birthday ever,'” her mom said.
Jocelyn, 8, was also crushed after her party plans got canceled, until “a parade of people [wished] her a happy birthday outside her home.”
“She was so happy and said, ‘I can’t believe all these people I don’t know wanted me to have a great day,'” her mom told E! News.
Thanks to the Facebook group “Birthday Parade,” complete strangers came together to honor Jocelyn on her special day.
According to the page history, Facebook user Mia Bryant created the group on March 20 with the description, “No birthday boy or girl should feel disappointed on their special day. We can come together as a community to bring joy in this time of isolation! Help me share this group to get the word out!”
With over 600 members already, people are touching the lives of so many during this crisis, simply by driving by and wishing them a happy birthday.
“WOW! What an amazing response this page has gotten!” one member posted. “Now let’s all work together to try and make as many parades happen as possible! Not everyone will be able to go to each event, but the more we work together, the more happy birthdays for the kiddos.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.