'It was emotional': How a surprise parade saved a sweet 16 during the pandemic
REGINA -- A Regina teen didn’t get to celebrate her 16th birthday the way she always planned because of COVID-19, but her mom organized a surprise that made the day special.
Mahayla Hastings planned to throw a big party full of friends to ring in her sweet 16. But since the province limited gatherings to no more than 10 people, and physical distancing became part of day-to-day life, she knew that wouldn’t be possible.
“It was kind of nothing to look forward to,” Hastings said.
But her mom, Danette Potter, knew she had to do something.
“She’s been super disappointed that today wasn’t going to be special,” Potter said. “But your sweet 16 only happens once in a lifetime and we wanted to make it special and memorable for her.”
She organized a surprise parade to drive by their home on the afternoon of Mahayla’s birthday.
Friends, families and neighbours took part by decorating their vehicles with signs and balloons, honking their horns and dropping gifts off for Mahayla.
“I thought ‘what kid wouldn’t want a parade?’” Potter said.
Approximately 15 cars made several laps around the street.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” Mahayla said. “I was kind of annoyed this morning because I knew I wasn’t going to get to see any of my friends.”
But thanks to some planning from her mom, friends were able to be part of her big day.
“I wanted to figure out a way that we could all get together and that everybody could see eachother, and that everybody would be able to wish her a happy birthday,” Potter said. “This was pretty much the only way that was possible.”
Mahayla called the surprise “emotional” and while it wasn’t the celebration she always dreamed of, it’s one she won’t soon forget.