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Warner Robins family surprises their relative from the sidewalk for his 80th birthday

Instead of exchanging hugs, the family wished the 80-year-old a happy birthday from the sidewalk while he and his wife stood at their front door

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Despite the coronavirus pandemic, one Warner Robins family made sure to celebrate their loved one’s 80th birthday with him.

Paulette Williams said she originally planned to go out to dinner for her father, Gordon Knapp’s, 80th birthday last Friday.

They were set to enjoy a big party the following day with neighbors, and other relatives were even supposed to travel from surrounding states and New York.

“It’s also my husband’s birthday, so it was like this big joint celebration. But of course, we knew pretty early on we weren’t going to be able to go out to the restaurants,” Williams said.

The CDC recommends that people socially distance themselves to prevent the spread of the virus – especially as to not pass it on to the elderly, who are most at risk.

So, Williams and her family decided to cancel the party and improvise a different celebration.

Williams, her husband, daughter, her daughter’s boyfriend, and her son drove over Gordon’s house and surprised him with a cake and lots of love.

Instead of exchanging hugs, the family wished Gordon a happy birthday from the sidewalk while he and his wife, Diane, stood at their front door.

“This was just this was just the best option we could come up with where we wouldn’t be having contact with them and putting them in any kind of harm,” Williams said.

The family also brought over a homemade red velvet cake – Gordon’s favorite. 

Williams says she took extra precautions while preparing the dessert.

“I was very, very careful. I wasn’t sneezing or coughing. I was washing my hands constantly. I wrapped it up and froze it, then went to work. Didn’t breathe on it,” Williams said.

Gordon and Diane live together in Warner Robins and have been married for over 50 years. Williams says she wanted to make sure Gordon felt loved on his birthday, while making sure her parents stay healthy.

Although they couldn’t physically embrace, Williams says her parents were still “moved” by the surprise.

“They were so cute. They had no idea. But I think we made it, you know, special still in a way even though we couldn’t give them a hug,” she said.

Williams says Gordon and Diane are well, and they are doing their best to follow the CDC’s recommendations.

“I’m happy they're taking it seriously,” she said.


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