RACINE (WITI) -- A special needs child in Racine had big plans for his dad's birthday on Thursday, September 25th. Gage wanted the entire world to sign a birthday card! Relatives hoped to get a few signatures, and had no idea their message was spreading rapidly throughout the city.
If you come home from work and see emergency vehicles lined up outside your house, it's natural to assume the worst.
"I seen a big ole crown and saw all the cops, the fire trucks and rescue squad here and I said 'now what?' I thought something happened," said Darrell Watkins, Gage's father.
What happened was police officers, firefighters, paramedics, even the Racine County sheriff came to wish Darrell Watkins a happy birthday.
"I was shocked they were here for my birthday, speechless," said Darrell.
Darrell Watkins, a now 53-year-old mechanic, is a single father raising his 13-year-old son Gage. Gage has been diagnosed with velo-cardio-facial-syndrome.
"I admire my brother. I look up to him because there's a lot of both women and men that wouldn't raise a special needs child on their own," said Sherry Meekma, Gage's aunt.
Meekma, is largely responsible for all of Thursday's signatures.
"Instead of going out to buy his dad a gift, he wanted the world to sign the birthday card he made for his dad," said Meekma.
Meekma and her husband reached out to online publication "Racine Uncovered." They had no idea how far and how quickly their message would spread.
"This is over the moon. This is just - I was not expecting this," Meekma said.
While his words aren't always easy to understand, relatives say the joy on Gage's face says more than any spoken word ever could.
"To see Gage smile and laugh so much, because usually he's very shy, the outpouring from all over the community is overwhelming," Meekma said.
"He did good. I'm glad for him. I'm so proud of him," Darrell said.
Meekma was hoping to get maybe 25 signatures. They filled the card front and back, far more than 25.
To learn more about Velo-cardio-facial-syndrome, CLICK HERE.