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Birthday celebration for Kenosha girl inspires "drive-by" parade
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Birthday celebration for Kenosha girl inspires "drive-by" parade

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Alice Palmer celebrated her seventh birthday with friends on Wednesday thanks to her mom, Stacey, who organized a rather creative way to party while complying with social distancing protocols in effect amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Stacey Palmer’s post on the Nash Elementary parents Facebook page, however, didn’t just attract the attention of friends who they expected would be stopping by briefly to say hi and wish young Alice a happy birthday.

Before they knew it, a fleet of 13 First Student buses, including the one that takes her to school each morning, arrived outside the Palmers’ home. The bus drivers had decorated their windows with birthday greetings, and they waved to her as they made a procession around the block.

“She’s been so sad that she can’t be at school with all her friends,” said Stacey Palmer.

Not only did they drive by with glad tidings, they dropped off presents, she said.

But the buses were a “big surprise,” she said, as neighbors came by to greet the birthday girl who was playing in the afternoon sunshine with her brother and sister in the driveway.

“Thank you!” said Alice.

“It’s been neighbors who’ve come by and her friends and some of my friends wishing her happy birthday, while maintaining our social (distancing),” Stacey Palmer said, referring to the state’s Safer at Home order, aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, which went into effect Wednesday.

Grandmother’s idea

Palmer said the idea for the drive-by parade came from her mother.

“My mother actually had shared a Facebook post from someone who did this somewhere else because we knew we would be out of school for her birthday,” said Stacey Palmer, referring to the statewide school shutdown that has canceled all classes indefinitely. “I thought, `You know what? Maybe Alice would like this.’”

The post apparently attracted the attention of First Student’s transportation manager Michael Comstock, said Stacey Palmer. Comstock, in a comment on the page, said the buses, including the driver who takes Alice to school, would be there with a little surprise, unbeknownst to her, of course.

“They didn’t tell us they were going to bring all these buses,” Stacey Palmer said. Neighbors also noticed the curious convoy wondering what was going on.

“It was fantastic,” she said. “I think, when everything is uncertain, bleak and stressful at times like this, everyone likes to do something nice for someone. Our friends, her friends really delivered, that’s for sure.”

Alice was astonished.

“I thought,`Wow. What’s happening?’ Then I saw the (signs) on the window and I was like, `No way!’” Alice said.

Just then, Alice’s friend, Isla Geocaris, and her mother, Dominique, drove by. Isla was waving ecstatically at Alice and exclaiming out the window how she had lost six teeth. She also encouraged her friend to open up a card she had made for her.

“I think this is bringing out the best in everyone,” said Dominique.

Then, they made plans to see each other soon — via FaceTime.

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