100 year old man gets a “Wu W.H.O. Kung Flu parade” (it’s what I call it when we can’t gather anymore.)
Peter Zagara – who is known to his loved ones as Pop – from Toms River, New Jersey, turned 100 on April 13, however the day before his three-figure birthday, his family and friends threw him an unforgettable socially-distant parade party that saw dozens of his nearest and dearest driving past his home to offer up their well wishes.
The surprise curbside celebration moved Peter to tears of joy, according to his grandson PJ Franovic, 35, who revealed that the man of the hour was stunned by the sweet parade.
‘He was definitely crying, overwhelmed,’ PJ told Good Morning America. ‘He said, “I never saw anything like that.”‘
A sweet video of the surprise, which was filmed and shared by PJ, shows Peter coming out of his New Jersey home and walking into the driveway – while someone blasts his favorite song, Frank Sinatra’s Come Fly With Me, out of a large amp.
Peter asks his grandson what is going on, to which PJ replies: ‘Well it’s your birthday Pop, and you’re turning 100! And we’ve got to make sure that you have a party with the right amount of people for it, so we’ve got some people driving down.’
When asked how he feels to be turning 100, Peter replies: ‘I can’t believe it.’
And it’s then that Peter catches sight of the line of cars turning onto his street, and is left open-mouthed in shock, bringing his hand to his face as cars from the local police and fire departments drive past – followed by a host of other vehicles.
Peter begins smiling and waving to the cars, many of which have signs taped to them wishing the man of the hour a very happy birthday, while his grandson exclaims: ‘This is for you, Pop!’
‘When you turn 100, not even coronavirus should stop the celebration,’ PJ wrote while sharing the video on Instagram.
‘We all love this man too much to let a tiny little Global Pandemic get in the way. Happy Birthday Poppa! What an incredible life you’ve had so far and hopefully, many more years to go.
‘Thank you to all the friends and family that came out. Thank you to the local Police & Fire Departments for making it truly memorable. See you all again at 101! Buon compleanno nonno!!’
Peter’s birthday parade continues with a line of fire engines and cars driving down the street while blaring their sirens – and they are closely followed by a taco truck that has ‘100’ written on its side.
Indeed the only bittersweet element to Peter’s special day was that he was unable to hug his nearest and dearest to say thank you, with PJ revealing that he was desperate to embrace his grandfather, but knew he had to put the 100-year-old’s health and safety first.
‘He was trying to get close and hug but I couldn’t,’ he told GMA.
Peter, his grandson revealed, has led quite the incredible life, with PJ sharing that the 100-year-old is a WWII veteran who fought for Italy, and then spent five years as a prisoner of war in England.
After returning home, Peter married his late wife Grace, and the couple had two children together. After her death, Peter remarried a woman named Luda, whom PJ praised for looking after his grandfather so well.
‘I firmly believe he wouldn’t have made it to 100 if it wasn’t for her and the bond they have,’ he revealed.
PJ, who organized the parade alongside his sister Stefanie and his wife Theresa Bufano, who is expecting the couple’s first child, added that his grandfather felt like a ‘rockstar’ after the special celebration.
‘He feels like it’s his world and we’re all living in it and that’s how I want it to be,’ the proud grandson said.
PJ’s video sparked a slew of comments from Instagram users, many of whom shared warm wishes for Pop.
‘I just [love] this,’ one person wrote. ‘This is very beautiful. This was posted by our local news station in Toronto [and] I had to see the whole video. HBD to your grandpa!’
Another chimed in: ‘Happy Birthday sweet Pop!!!! Here is to many more happy years!’
‘Happy belated birthday Poppa, that just melted my heart,’ one user added.