Langley teen Brynn Chappell was looking forward to beginning high school and turning 14.
Brynn, who has cerebral palsy, was looking forward to celebrating her success and excited to be moving up and making new friends.
So it was devastating news when she learned anti-virus restrictions meant her school wasn’t going to be opening and she wouldn’t be able to have people over to her Walnut Grove home for her party.
“It’s going to be the worst birthday, ever,” an unhappy Brynn told her mom, Lore, who did not agree.
“It will be the most memorable, ever,” Mom replied.
When Brynn later suggested a drive-by birthday, like the ones seen online, that was when she learned that one was already in the works for her, and that her friends would be driving by to say hello.
What she didn’t know, was her mother had a few more surprises in store.
On Monday, April 13th, Brynn took a seat in the front yard of her house, waiting for her birthday party to begin.
There was a surprise waiting for her in the form of several cute miniature donkeys, courtesy of her former Grade 3 teacher Cheryl Briggs, who happens to use them as part of a privately-run wellness program.
Brynn didn’t learn there was still another surprise in store, until she heard the sirens.
A line-up of first responder vehicles, including an RCMP cruiser, several ambulances, and a fire truck, came around the corner and made a slow parade past Brynn’s house, lights flashing and sirens sounding.
A delighted Brynn waved enthusiastically as they passed by, accompanied by several classic cars, courtesy of the B.C.H.R.A. Model A and Vintage Car Club.
She later described the experience as “loud and cool.”
Firefighter Rob Jones-Cook, who happens to coach the Challenger baseball team Brynn plays on, made some calls to police and ambulance contacts.
“I said, hey, look, you guys want to do this,” James-Cook related.
“That’s why we go into the service.”
Close to 60 people took part, with many dropping off gifts for the birthday girl in a box on the curb, to maintain social distancing.
Birthday parades instead of parties are gaining popularity, not only in Langley, but across the world as a safer alternative during the viral pandemic.
Social media has become filled with pictures and videos of similar celebrations in the United States and England, as people looks for ways to celebrate without risking virus transmission.