• Firefighters surprise 3-year-old with birthday party after guests cancel

    By: Stephanie Tinoco

    Updated:

    HARRISBURG, N.C. - The Harrisburg Fire Department surprised a 3-year-old with a birthday party after several of his classmates canceled at the last minute Sunday.

    [PHOTOS: Firefighters help make 3-year-old's birthday most memorable]

    Melissa Reid said she received several text messages from parents on the morning of her son's birthday party, letting her know her son's classmates couldn't make it.

    "Around 7 in the morning, I started getting text messages that children are sick, that they weren't going to be able to go,” she said. “Out of the eight families we invited, we had seven that canceled.” 

     

     

    Reid said she didn’t know what to do. She wanted her son to have a special birthday bash.

    So she called the Harrisburg Fire Department, about a mile away from her house, and asked for a quick tour to entertain her son, Jackson, who loves fire trucks.

    "I said, ‘Would you mind just a couple minutes, just pop in,'” Reid said. “I told them what happened with his birthday party."

    Harrisburg Fire Capt. Joe Yowler said he called all three crews to surprise the family.

    He said he quickly grabbed birthday balloons and cupcakes and waited, along with other firefighters, for Jackson's arrival.

    "As a parent, I was thinking about how devastating it was on both sides,” Yowler said. “Like, a 3-year-old is thinking all week about it being their birthday and having this big party and then not having it. So how could we make this better for the parent and the kid, and I think it worked out pretty well."

    Reid said she's thankful Harrisburg Fire went out of their way to show Jackson love.

    "There's just no words for how much I appreciate them making my son’s day as special as they did. This is definitely the best party he's ever had."

    Yowler said his team is thankful they got the opportunity to make Jackson's third birthday a memorable one.

    "It was definitely emotional for her and uplifting for all of us just to see the appreciation,” Yowler said. “That they appreciated it and he had a heck of a time going through the ladder trucks and the engines and just climbing all over."

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