Happy Birthday Ellie! My Daughter And Her Friends Celebrate Pal’s Milestone Despite Lockdown


I’ve been to at least 100 drive-bys in my thirty-plus year career… at least 100. The word… with connotations of bloodshed… violence… even death… invokes fear… anxiety… and anger. Often times it’s followed by a funeral. Black cars in procession… a casket inside.

Something’s changed… and I saw it first hand.

We celebrated Ellie’s 15th birthday this weekend under the social distancing rules of the coronavirus lockdown. A pandemic drive-by of sorts. Ellie is my daughter Sophia’s close friend. Covid-19 has isolated teens like everyone else, leaving them with texting, Snapchat and TikTok as ways to communicate and even celebrate the milestones they’re missing.

Parents formed a car caravan to drive our kids to the “party.”

That is until the “drive-by celebration” trend took hold across America. Processions of cars honking horns…paying homage to everyone from senior citizens in nursing homes… to first responders in hospitals…. to Ellie’s birthday.

I was along for the ride. I loved it. Forget me. Ellie loved it. There were balloons and signs… my daughter Sophia made a poster-board birthday card.

Sophia’s card counted up the number of months, days, hours and seconds in her friend Ellie’s 15 years.

There was no cake. No one noticed. There were no gifts. No one cared. There was a whole lotta joy. Looked like Ellie cried. Ya couldn’t get close enough to tell. Ten… fifteen minutes in, the revelers and their drivers hopped back in their cars… and went back home.

Ellie’s driveway was decorated with balloons and signs.

My wife says it best…”Our kids watch us. They act and react the way we do.” I agree.

However…this weekend…my teenage daughter and her teenage friends taught this old journalist a joyful new meaning for a nasty old term. And I’m so grateful for it.

Sophia and her friends celebrated without even getting out of their cars.

These teens made a difference. It’s what we like here at Sparkt.

About Marty Griffin
Marty is a past recipient of three prestigious Regional Emmys for Outstanding Investigative Reporting and also won a Broadcast Achievement Award for an undercover story about Michael Irvin and the Dallas Cowboys. He was named the Best Talk Show Host in Pittsburgh in 2008 for the Pittsburgh Achievement in Radio Awards. Marty shakes things up weekdays 9 am to noon on KDKA Radio.

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