A birthday surprise for 88

Bob Colletta, left, is surprised for his 88th birthday by his wife Mary, right, and family and neighbors in The Plaza at Golden Valley parking lot on Saturday, April 26, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal
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While Canyon Country residents Mary and Bob Colletta have been staying home amid the coronavirus pandemic, Mary still wanted to find a way to celebrate Bob’s birthday.

“We’ve been stuck in the house and his 88th birthday was coming up, so I want something special for him to remember,” Mary said.

She couldn’t have friends or family over or throw him a party, so she thought maybe she’d call them and see if they’d want to meet in the Golden Valley Plaza near The Habit Burger Grill instead.

So, on Saturday when Bob’s daughter called to wish him a happy birthday and asked what he was doing to celebrate, Mary took the opportunity to suggest they go for a hamburger that evening.

Bob Colletta, right, poses for photos as he is surprised for his 88th birthday by family and neighbors in The Plaza at Golden Valley parking lot on Saturday, April 26, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Mary then started the birthday preparations, purchasing balloons and delivering them to the neighbors so they could decorate their cars in the parking lot.

“And then I had to plan how I was getting us there at 6 o’clock,” Mary said, adding that she told Bob she had put an order in that would be ready then. “I had to fib a little bit here and there, but it all came together.”

Upon arriving, Bob, who wasn’t expecting any birthday surprises, said he was completely stunned at the celebration his wife had planned for him.

Bob Colletta, left, touches elbows with grandson Joe Colletta,center, Shawna White, and Sheryl Colletta, right, as Bob is surprised by family and neighbors for his 88th birthday in The Plaza at Golden Valley parking lot on Saturday, April 26, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

“I couldn’t figure out how they were all getting a hamburger at the same time I was,” Bob said, laughing. “It was such a surprise. I don’t know how she did it.”

Appearances from family as well as some of their new neighbors, as the Collettas had just moved to the neighborhood about a year and a half ago, made the surprise all the more memorable, Bob said.

“He just was in shock for so long — it was funny,” Mary added. “It was just great. It really was.”

Bob Colletta, puts on his mask as he is surprised for his 88th birthday by family and neighbors in The Plaza at Golden Valley parking lot on Saturday, April 26, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

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