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"Best Birthday Ever!"

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Lane O’Neil laughs in excitement in front of his mom Tiffany

Lane O’Neil laughs in excitement in front of his mom Tiffany while being hugged by his brother Van Thorson on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. As a surprise for Lane’s eighth birthday, his mom made a Facebook post asking for anyone with old cars to drive by his party as a surprise since Lane loves cars. 

“Best Birthday Ever!!” Lane screamed as he ran back into the yard and shade to escape the 95-degree heat of Saturday afternoon. Moments before, Lane had gotten back from two VIP drives around Buffalo: the first in the back seat of a classic car and the second on the back of a motorcycle. The best part, Lane had no idea earlier that day that this is what his Saturday was going to include.

Blue and purple birthday balloons were hung along the fence

Blue and purple birthday balloons and streamers were hung along the fence for Lane’s birthday on Saturday. The colors were chosen in honor of one of Lane’s favorite games Fortnite.

Lane O’Neil looks over his brother Van Thorson’s shoulder

Lane O’Neil looks over his brother Van Thorson’s shoulder as the two figure out what a mouth harp is on Saturday. When the collection of cars from the car club drove by, Lane was given a number of small gifts from the members as they passed by as well as lots of birthday wishes.

Lane O’Neil, 8, wanted a birthday party this year. And his mom was set on making sure that he had one to remember. After asking on Facebook for anyone with old cars to drive by and surprise her son, Tiffany O’Neil, Lane’s mom, was happily surprised by the group of cars that showed up to parade by her son’s birthday party. Tiffany wanted to make sure that this year’s birthday was a special one for Lane. He and his siblings switched to homeschooling this year to avoid unnecessary risk of contact with COVID-19, so Tiffany wanted to make sure that this birthday was something fun and out of the normal.

The picnic table under the tree became the hiding place from the sun

The picnic table under the tree became the hiding place from the sun between trampoline jumps during Lane’s birthday party on Saturday. The table held snacks and party supplies while the nearby canopy offered shade for the adults and the coolers.

Tiffany O’Neil’s friends from work stopped by to show off their bikes

In addition to the car club, two of Tiffany O’Neil’s friends from work stopped by to show off their bikes and wish Tiffany’s son Lane a happy birthday on Saturday. The kids took turns riding passenger around the block on the bikes, leaving several of them more than excited about motorcycles.

Lane O’Neil holds tight to the junior membership certificate he was gifted

Lane O’Neil holds tight to the junior membership certificate he was gifted to the car club and watches as cars continue to move by on Saturday. Because of COVID-19 Lane is completing school from home this year and so his mom wanted to make sure his birthday was extra special.

One minute Lane was jumping on the trampoline with his siblings and the next he was searching for his shoes so he could be front and center as a line of cars spread out along the street - honking, waving and shouting birthday wishes to the car-loving eight-year-old. The surprise parade featured about a dozen members of the Model A & Pioneer Car Club and was topped off by other community members who swung by on either side and by a few motorcycles who came to wish him a happy day. 

“Whose the birthday boy?” people shouted as they drove by

“Whose the birthday boy?” people shouted as they drove by, cueing Lane to throw his hand in the air and shout “I am!” A few cars pulled over to say hello others slowed to gift small presents like car magazines to Lane before continuing forward to let the next parade car come through.

Lane hops into Dan Wasserburger’s car for a drive around town

Lane hops into Dan Wasserburger’s car for a drive around town in honor of his birthday. Before leaving out for a ride, O’Neil was given a framed certificate to be a honorary junior member of the car club and a visor.

 Lane received a few gifts from the parade as well as an honorary junior membership to the car club with a certificate and visor. After much laughter, shock and a couple drives through town, Lane returned to the shade to cool off and to explore his new goodies bearing a grin even longer than the line of cars that stopped to surprise him. 

Lane O’Neil hugs his sister while wearing his new car club visor

Lane O’Neil hugs his sister while wearing his new car club visor on Saturday. Lane was joined by his siblings and in watching the surprise car show. Lane did not know that any of the cars were coming but didn’t stop smiling as they drove by.

Lane races across the street in his homemade shirt with an 8 on the front

Lane races across the street in his homemade shirt with an 8 on the front to tell his mom about his motorcycle ride on Saturday. Lane gave her a big hug and then crossed back across the street to their backyard. “Best birthday EVER!” he shouted as he ran out of the sun and into the shade.

 

Photojournalist

Jessi Dodge joined the Bulletin as a photojournalist and a Report for America corp member in 2020. If you have ideas or comments, reach out at jessi@buffalobulletin.com.

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