When no one showed up to a 5-year-old's birthday, her quick-thinking mom saved the day
She needed a village and the village showed up.
Five-year-old Willa Fitzgerald was super excited to celebrate her 5th birthday party at Hat Creek Burger Company in Keller, Texas, on June 17 with a group of friends from school. However, 20 minutes after the party started, no one had shown up.
“I’m thinking to myself, no, this cannot be what’s happening. As a mom, the last thing I want is for my daughter, for the first time ever at 5 years old, to experience that type of social rejection — honestly, that’s what it is,” Willa’s mom Alexa told WFAA.
Mid-June is a busy time of year for many families and it's understandable if a lot of the invitees were busy or on vacation. But Alexa later recalled on Instagram that 30% of the invitees RSVP’d yes, so she assumed there would be enough for a small party. Sadly, they didn’t show up.
Fearful that her daughter’s birthday would become a disaster, the mother of three young children made a last-ditch effort to get the party started. She reached out to the Keller neighborhood group on Facebook to see if anyone would like to stop by and celebrate with Willa.
It was a long shot, but telling her daughter that no one showed up to her birthday party would be incredibly difficult.
"If anyone has young kids and looking for something to do right now, no one showed up to my daughter's birthday party. It's her first (and likely last) party. We'd love to celebrate with you,” she wrote to the group.
She hoped a few kids would show up with their parents, but that wasn’t the case. The Facebook group delivered in a big way. Within minutes, people began to show up at the restaurant to wish the young girl a happy birthday. “The entire restaurant was packed with families who refused to let my daughter celebrate alone,” Alexa later posted on Instagram. The table went from empty to every seat being taken.
Grandparents, empty nesters, teenagers, and even total strangers showed up to wish Willa a happy birthday. “All walks of life showed up for my baby girl today,” Alexa said, according to WFAA. “It was incredible.” Many of them even brought gifts, which is pretty impressive on such short notice.
Some of the last-minute guests quickly became Willa’s new friends, and they invited her to their birthday parties.
The gesture by the local community was all the more important for the family because they had only lived in Keller for two years and had no family in the area to come to the party.
“I just want to say thank you to all of the people who came today to be with us,” she wrote on Instagram. “You not only showed up for my little girl, but for me as well. You picked me up and encouraged me forward when I felt like I had failed as a mom. Thank you.”
She added the hashtag, “It takes a village.”
“Those parents better be ashamed of themselves,” one of the top commenters wrote. “That’s truly disheartening. BUT, a village was needed and a village came.”