Paetyn Reid only learned during spring break that her 9th birthday party was going to be cancelled because of new physical distancing protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Her mother, Vanessa, had everything planned for this coming Saturday at Momentum Ninja Training Centre in Port Coquitlam for around 10 to 12 of Paetyn’s friends.
But on Monday Paetyn’s friends, family and even strangers from the community gave her a birthday surprise of their own. A parade of vehicles, decorated in streamers and balloon,s wound their way through Osprey Village, past Paetyn’s house, honking their horns to celebrate the milestone.
When Paetyn first learned her party was going to be cancelled, her mother said she was “cool” about it but still upset.
“She’s super social and she’s missing her friends, and she’s missing her ball team, missing her dance girls and her school friends,” said Vanessa who told her daughter that this is a “weird moment in time” that they will have to ride out and promised her a special day at home instead.
On Sunday, though, Vanessa got a text from a good friend of hers, to say they wanted to drive by and drop off a package for Paetyn the following day.
Then on Monday she received another text from her friend saying there was, “a bit of a thing happening” and not to go anywhere.
“I still didn’t quite know what was happening,” said Vanessa.
At 4:30 p.m. the parade started from South Bonson Road onto Fraser Way, with vehicles looping around and doubling back the way they came.
Vanessa estimates between 15 and 20 vehicles took park, including two from the Pitt Meadows Fire Department and one unmarked police vehicle.
“It was amazing to watch her face,” said Vanessa.
“I couldn’t stop crying. I was so overwhelmed and touched by just what people will do for friends and family,” she said.
Every time Paetyn saw a friend’s face she would jump up and down and wave her arm harder, added Vanessa.
“Her smile was huge.”
Later that afternoon Paetyn, her mother, her father Colter, her younger sister Rowyn, 7, and little brother Ryker, 5, celebrated over FaceTime with their extended family members.
But the parade made her day.
“I think we all just needed a bit of a boost. It’s been such a weird time,” said Vanessa who is still amazed how people go out of their way to make the children happy during this crisis.
And she is very grateful to her circle of friends and the circle of friends Paetyn is building at school and in the community.
“She had a great day. Mission accomplished.”