WWII veteran, 96, surprised with new mattress in viral video: 'I couldn’t believe it!'

Megan Sims
·4 min read
William Hanabe Robinson was overjoyed that his six children came together to buy him a new mattress. (Photo: James Robinson)
William Hanabe Robinson was overjoyed that his six children came together to buy him a new mattress. (Photo: James Robinson)

A 96-year-old WWII veteran was beyond excited when his children surprised him with a brand new mattress and his daughter was there to catch the precious moment on video.

A few weeks ago, James Robinson posted a Facebook video of his father, William Hanabe Robinson. In the video, which was taken by James’s sister, Patricia, she can be heard asking the veteran to sit on the bed to talk about an upcoming family reunion. She then asks him to sit back further, which he does.

“Wow, it looks like you’re sitting up higher,” she said. “...Wow, you ever sit up that high? Your feet ain’t even touching the ground...”

The unsuspecting dad continued to move back further on the bed until he finally pushed his hand down on the bed and looked at Patricia.

“This the same bed?” He asked. “...What did you do? It feel different!”

After realizing it was not the same mattress, he exclaimed, “Oh my God!...This is great!”

In the caption for the video, James revealed that he and his five siblings all pitched in to get the bed for their father.

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The video quickly went viral and as of Wednesday, it had over two million views and thousands of shares.

“Love when children come together to do stuff for their parents!!! This was awesome!!!” One commenter wrote. “Loveeeeeee it,” another person said.

“Thank you. Literally the highlight for 2020 for me will include this moment. God bless you all!” One user added.

James tells Yahoo Lifestyle that his father’s hilarious reaction was expected. “Our family is not surprised, he’s a funny guy like that,” he says. “And he appreciates anything you do for him. [But] we were surprised by the number of people that viewed it.”

William, who is an Army veteran, says that he had his old mattress for 15 to 20 years and would experience sinking in the center that caused back problems. Now his viral surprise has been a dream come true.

“Oh my God, I couldn’t believe it!” William tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Oh I love it! I can’t explain how much I love it! It’s so comfortable...I have some good kids.”

James says that William asked for a new mattress for his 97th birthday, which is in June, but he and his siblings decided to get it sooner, which for their close family was a no-brainer.

William Robinson at age 18 as a member of the U.S. Army. He served from 1941-1945. (Photo: James Robinson)
William Robinson at age 18 as a member of the U.S. Army. He served from 1941-1945. (Photo: James Robinson)

“...Anything he wants, we have the means to get it,” he says. “...He’s our father, he’s done everything for us. [If] the man wants a mattress, let’s get him a mattress.”

William has not only made sacrifices for his children, he has sacrificed for this country. The former Army Sergeant enlisted in the military at age 17, serving from 1941-1945. William tells Yahoo Lifestyle that during Pearl Harbor, he had been stationed in North Carolina before being deployed to Germany where he served for two years transporting wounded soldiers from the frontlines to get them medical care.

William received the Good Conduct Medal, the American Defense Services Medal and the European–African–Middle Eastern Campaign Medal. In 2019, he was inducted in the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame.

After the military, William worked with General Motors before serving on the Greenburgh, N.Y. Police Auxiliary for 23 years. Now in his 90s, he continues to be active and lives independently.

“You know what, I don’t feel 96,” He admits. “The only problem I got now is just walking a little bit. I eat good, I’m still driving my car.”

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