We’ve had to change many aspects of our lives as we practice social distancing to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Special occasions such as birthdays can be particularly tough without our friends and family around to celebrate.
Brandon Smith turned 12 on April 11, and although he wasn’t able to have a traditional birthday party with lots of guests, he still found a way to have fun on his big day and connect with others.
Smith is a geography enthusiast, so he drew a world map and his dad, Jody Smith, tweeted it out, asking people to reply with where they were in the world. He then marked the map accordingly with everyone’s locations.
In just two days, the tween received more than 100,000 replies, making his creative birthday project a smashing success.
Here’s the original tweet:
This is my son, Brandon. Today is his 12th Birthday. I can’t give him the party he deserves but Brandon loves geography.
He would love it if you would RT or reply where you are so he can mark it on his map. pic.twitter.com/nO0draKinL
— Jody Smith (@JodySmithNFL) April 11, 2020
“This is my son, Brandon,” the elder Smith wrote alongside a photo of the sixth-grader holding up the blank world map. “Today is his 12th birthday. I can’t give him the party he deserves but Brandon loves geography. He would love it if you would RT or reply where you are so he can mark it on his map.”
Since then, people have been sending greetings, pictures, and birthday wishes from all over the globe. He received tweets from well-known people and groups, such as actress Katee Sackhoff, the San Francisco Giants and the Toronto Blue Jays. He even got a video greeting from Antartica!
“Star Wars” star Mark Hamill replied to the tweet, sending “greetings from Malibu, California”:
Greetings from Malibu, California, USA from your pal, Marð«
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) April 11, 2020
On April 13, Brandon’s dad shared the latest update of his map, noting that he “added some good ones today”:
Here’s the latest update on Brandon’s birthday map. Added some good ones today! pic.twitter.com/j6iBDEXJB2
— Jody Smith (@JodySmithNFL) April 13, 2020
The bottom image here is what the map looked like on April 14. We hope these updates keep on coming!
We continue to be very appreciative of the overwhelming support from all over the globe. Thanks to each and every one of you who took the time to make Brandon’s birthday special!
Here is the latest updated map pic.twitter.com/bDwKEs9w8S
— Jody Smith (@JodySmithNFL) April 14, 2020
“It’s been so refreshing because everyone’s stuck at home, and there isn’t much to do, so maybe the timing was right and people were just looking for something positive to rally around,” the proud father told CNN. “It’s been overwhelmingly positive.”
The birthday boy also told the news outlet that he’s “very excited” by the huge number of responses he’s received.
How cool! We’re so glad this enterprising young man found a clever way to celebrate his birthday!