An elderly woman got a special surprise from an unexpected source on her 100th birthday this week when her garbage collectors showed up with a sweet treat to help her celebrate the day.
When Dorothy Ballard, a mother of three with eleven grandkids and 32 great-grandchildren, reached the incredible milestone on Aug. 8, she was unsurprisingly showered with flowers, gifts and special notes of congratulations.
However, it was three of Ballard’s biggest fans who went above and beyond to make her feel special that morning.
Ben Bird, Ballard’s favorite garbage man, had joked with her about bringing her a cake “if she made it to 100,” he told Birmingham Mail. And when the time finally came, he made sure to keep his promise.
Over the course of the eight years Bird spent collecting Ballard’s rubbish, the two had developed a special friendship.
“I talk to her every Thursday from 8am to 8.10am and every time I walk up her garden path she will be there waiting for me,” he said. “I’ve been a binman for about 11 years and love listening to her stories about her life.”
“We have deadlines to meet on our round, but my colleagues carry on and let me catch them up – I could not pass Dorothy’s house without stopping to speak to her,” he added.
In a video captured by the trash collectors, the men can be seen sneaking up to Ballard’s house, whispering excitedly. Bird himself cradles the pink birthday cake, sheltering its candles from the wind.
Together they call out her nickname, “Mercy” as they get closer to the front porch.
When Ballard comes to the door, she immediately breaks down in happy tears.
The emotional moment is interrupted by jokes after the three men finish singing “Happy Birthday.”
“Make a wish!” Bird says, and adds, “to live to 105,” as a suggestion when she hesitates.
“Shut up!” Ballard retorts affectionately.
Katy Smith, Ballard’s granddaughter, shared the touching clip on Facebook, writing, “my heart has melted.” The video has since been viewed over 3.5 million times, as Facebook users delighted in watching Ballard’s surprise and Bird and his coworkers’ obvious joy at making her day.
“My Gran always speaks so highly of her binman,” Smith wrote. “He made her day.”
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