Not everyone gets to turn 104, and when you do, you hope to have done enough good to have people celebrate your life. Gerald was certainly one of them and he was celebrated more than he could have ever imagined. It all started when his son, Kevin Mills, reached out to Twitter and announced that his father was turning 104 and asked if people could send him wishes.
Mills also shared an adorable image of his father. “This is my dad, Gerald. He turns 104 on 12 July,” tweeted Mills. “Any chance I can muster 104 happy birthdays from Twitter? He’ll be amazed and baffled in equal measure.” The simple birthday wish turned into an adorable thread of people sharing images and birthdays of people they loved, with a majority of them featuring aged grandparents.
Happy extended family blowing out candles on birthday cake on a garden party – stock photo/Getty Images
The tweet was flooded with replies and the centenarian received many more than 104 birthday wishes. The tweet garnered more than 423,000 likes. Adam Hill posted a picture of his young daughter and said he hoped she would live as long as him, and wished him as well. “Happy Birthday Gerald. This is my daughter Flora who was born 12 weeks premature and has just come home to us at three months old. Hope she makes it to 104 too,” read the tweet.
Some shared images of their elderly relatives while wishing him. Joanna shared an image of her 101-year-old grandmother and wrote, “Happy birthday Gerald! My nan, Bridget, shares a birthday with your dad and she’ll be 101 this year! Hats off and many, many happy returns to these two very special centenarians and all the others on here!” Another person shared an image of their baby granddaughter and wrote, “Cheers Gerald! My birthday is also July 12th, a toast to us! My new granddaughter thinks the secret to long life is being extra cute but I think you already know that by looking at your pic!”
“Star Wars” legend Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the series, wrote “For Gerald” and shared an emoji of a cake. Even Stephen Fry, the English actor and comedian, got in on the act, writing, “Happy birthday Gerald! xx” Another person shared a picture with his grandmother and her sister while wishing Gerald. “Can we get 105 likes for my 105-year-old grandma Mary on the left and 104 likes for her 104-year-old sister Tina in the middle? This is from my visit today with them where they each both live in their own houses on their own.”
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!”