Susan Casado felt well prepared to host a birthday party of 15 to 20 guests for her son, Shemuel (Shemy) Casado, who celebrated his fourth birthday on Saturday. But, after none of the boy’s friends initially arrived, she never expected she’d be hosting nearly 100 surprise guests at her home.
Susan tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she was disappointed when her brother was the only person to show up to the party at first. After seeing that she had tears in her eyes, however, Shemy’s uncle took to a local Facebook group to call for more people to join the celebration. Moments later, a woman arrived at Susan’s home asking for the birthday boy, although the family had never met her before.
“This is weird,” Susan recalls thinking.
As people continued to arrive, the mother realized that her brother had something to do with it, and eventually was shown a Facebook post that he made to advertise the party.
After more unexpected guests continued to arrive, however, Susan began to worry about the amount of food that she had prepared.
“I felt so embarrassed,” she explains.
But guests didn’t care about the food and drinks. Instead, they told the birthday boy’s mother that they were there to “make Shemy’s day,” which only got better once the guests of honor arrived from St. Johns County Fire Rescue.
“My first thought was, ‘Is everybody okay? Is anybody hurt?’ And then they said, ‘We’re coming here to say happy birthday to Shemy,’” Susan says. “They said, ‘We brought you a big toy, we brought you a fire truck.’”
Susan went on to explain that although Shemy has Down syndrome and isn’t quite verbal, he expressed his happiness with giggles and hugs.
“He hugs when he feels happy, so when people came in to meet him, we took pictures and everything and he hugged them to say, ‘Thank you,’” the mom says. “This is the way that he says thank you.”
The mother also added that June 15 was her birthday as well.
“But in the moment, I didn’t care about me,” Susan explains. “It was about my boy.”
When Susan asked her brother why he went through the extra effort to make sure that his nephew’s party was amazing, she says that he told her, “He deserves a good birthday.” As for the firefighters who attended, they told the family that it’s all a part of the job.
One of the firefighters who attended, Jeremy Robshaw, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that they just wanted to “bring a smile” to Shemy’s face.
“As a Department we always strive to do the right thing,” Robshaw says, “and despite the recognition the crew has received for attending it was really an easy decision to show up and support the young man and hopefully create a great memory.”
One year out from Shemy’s fifth birthday, Susan’s already thinking about next year’s party.
“Now I’m supposed to invite everybody,” she jokes.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle: