Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Birthday Message to My Family and Friends

By Roy Ortega

Thank you all for your kind words and birthday wishes. I am deeply humbled by the love you have shown me all day. Truth is, I sometimes don't feel worthy, even going so far as to ask my family not to fuss too much. It's just another reminder of how old I'm getting, I tell them, and I don't want them to spend their hard-earned money (or mine) buying gifts for me. But I know my mother, rest her soul, would be horrified if I actually started behaving in such a curmudgeonly manner.

In my view, my birthday was not the most important thing that happened today. Far from it. On my way to work, I stopped at Albertson's to buy donuts for the staff. There, I ran into an acquaintance buying a birthday cake for his 3-year old son. I shook his tiny hand and told him it was my birthday too. I can't describe the immense joy I felt seeing this beautiful little guy's face light up when his daddy let him pick out his own birthday cake. I walked out of the store with a sense of glee I haven't felt since my own kids were little.

When I got to work, I got word that we succeeded in finding a new wheelchair for a disabled lady who had come to us yesterday in desperate need of help. The excitement in her voice when she called to thank us brought me more joy on top of the joy I was already feeling.

Countless messages of love from my Jo Anne, my boys, my dear sisters, brother, my in-laws, friends and my boss came flowing in all morning via phone, text and Facebook. Geez, I thought, I don't deserve this.

At noon, Jo Anne treated me to a great meal at Franky's but I thought she had gone too far when I saw the marquee at the bar next door loudly announcing my birthday (see photo). I quickly reigned in my ego accepting the fact that I'm clearly not the only Roy having a birthday today.

When I got back to the office, I got a call from an elderly yardman who last weekend got his lawn mower stolen in broad daylight. I informed him I would gladly give him my old mower. His gratitude and humility touched me deeply and put the topper on a already fantastic day.

So there you have it. A memorable July 19. Not because it was my birthday, but because it was a good day for a lot of other folks who are far more deserving than me. That's the way I prefer to look at things.