Not everyone lives to be 104, and when they do, you hope to have done enough good to warrant a celebration of your life. Gerald was undoubtedly one of them, and he was feted more than he could have expected. It all started when his son, Kevin Mills, posted on Twitter that his father was turning 104 and begged for people to give him birthday greetings.
Mills also posted a cute photo of his father. “This is my father, Gerald.” “He turns 104 on July 12th,” Mills tweeted. “Do you think I can get 104 Twitter birthday wishes?” He’ll be astounded and perplexed in equal measure.” The simple birthday greeting grew into an endearing thread of individuals exchanging photographs and birthdays of people they cared about, with the bulk of them depicting elderly grandparents.
Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, tweeted “For Gerald” and added an emoji of a cake. Even English actor and comedian Stephen Fry joined in on the act, adding, “Happy birthday Gerald! xx” Another user wished Gerald by posting a photo of himself with his grandma and her sister. “Can we get 105 likes for my 105-year-old grandmother Mary on the left and 104 for her 104-year-old sister Tina in the middle?” This is from my visit with them today, where they both reside in their own houses.”
The simple tweet turned into a campaign and even made it to the radio. “Happy Birthday Gerald from 94.5 KHI in Ocean City, MD,” read a tweet, before linking a video of the host talking about it on the radio. Sharon Steed shared an image of her late dad sitting on the sofa next to an adorable dog. “Happy birthday, Gerald!! My dad made it to 86 (this is him before he passed this past Christmas with my dog, Washington); he probably would have talked your ear off and eaten all the cake with you today!”