We teamed up with @Innisfil_FIRE to send a greeting to children celebrating birthdays in #COVID19 #lockdown. Our gesture was inspired by an #Innisfil mom whose son turns 7 today. #HappyBirthday everyone! Lights - sirens - action! Enjoy! #InThisTogether #SocialDistancing pic.twitter.com/AORLN1OFw9— South Simcoe Police (@SouthSimcoePS) March 26, 2020
It's going to be a tough time for any children celebrating their birthdays in the coming weeks due to coronavirus.
South Simcoe police and Innisfil firefighters hooked up to make a local boy's birthday something to remember amid these unsual times with the COVID-19 outbreak and people staying at home.
The two emergency services got together Thursday to deliver a special greeting for all children who will be missing out on their usual parties and gatherings to celebrate their big day.
The gesture, which was widely shared Thursday morning on Twitter, was inspired by Alisha Young, whose son Marek turned seven years old today.
The Innisfil mom initially put out a tweet Wednesday evening to see it was even a remote possibility that emergency workers could do something special for Marek.
"They responded almost immediately saying they would be here. It was right out front of our house," she told BarrieToday on Thursday, adding they even brought Marek a special birthday cake.
"He had no idea," Young added. "He saw the fire truck drive around the corner and was like, 'What is happening? Is this a dream? Is this really happening? This is the best birthday ever!'"
Young said the sight of emergency vehicles and hearing those sirens blaring lifted Marek's spirits greatly from Wednesday night, when he was particularly upset over how COVID-19 had affected his birthday plans.
"He was just sad that he couldn't see any of his friends or go out anywhere," she said. "I just wanted to make something a little bit special for him."
Although this was a one-time event, as there are concerns about police and fire being inundated with similar requests, local emergency officials said they decided to make it a special greeting for all birthday boys and girls amid COVID-19.
"We wanted to make a positive gesture during these very challenging times," said South Simcoe Police Service Chief Andrew Fletcher. "We can't be at every child's home, so we decided to send out a big greeting to everyone celebrating birthdays in the hope we can help make the day a special one."
"We were touched by the request we received, but felt it important to include all children during these difficult times," said Innisfil Fire Chief Tom Raeburn. "We hope our gesture brings a smile to many faces today!"
Young said she can't thank them enough for what they did to put a smile on her son's face and make his day special.
"He's still continuously talking about it. It was amazing," she said.
"It definitely means a lot, because the kids don't really understand why we're locked up in the house and why it's affecting us the way that it is," Young added. "It was nice to show the children that, even though their birthdays aren't being celebrated outside, we haven't forgotten about them and everyone does still love them."