A nine-year-old’s birthday had a nice twist to an otherwise sad ending.
Eden Whitford had her birthday party at Goldstream Park and 12 of her friends attended with their parents.
The group did a nature scavenger hunt with a guide from the Nature House and left the picnic table area to go watch their children in the scavenger hunt.
Before they went to do their hunt, Eden’s mother Tracey wanted to set the food down and claim a table because the park doesn’t reserve them, but she did hesitate and wondered if it would be safe, and then decided she didn’t think anyone would touch food intended for a child’s birthday.
She said when they arrived at the park it was buzzing, another child’s birthday party was ending and there were couples and families walking. Some of the parents arrived late to the birthday and some went back to their cars for bug spray and saw the food and cake as they walked past, up until about 20 minutes before the scavenger hunt was over.
After the scavenger hunt they returned to the picnic tables hungry and thirsty, to find that someone had stolen all the food for the party, including the cake. Everyone thought Tracey played a prank on them, but she assured them it was no prank, so they called park management to see if anyone had seen someone walking away with a lot of food, but they had not.
Tracey grabbed a veggie platter that was still in her car and some mandarin oranges to give to the kids. Her friend had a cupcake that they put a candle in to sing happy birthday to Eden, “the kids were really good about it,” she said.
It started to sink in with Eden on the drive home, she said to her mother “Mommy, I just want to cry, who would do that to a kids party,” Tracey said.
Not wanting to vent to her children, Tracey expressed her displeasure with the stolen food on Westshore Mums, a Facebook group for local mothers. She said she was touched to find how many people reached out to try to help make Eden’s birthday special.
“Some of them I don’t even know, but they are all moms so they can relate,” she said. “If I was reading somebody else’s post like that, I’d want to ask ‘What can I do to help.'”
The Facebook group was created seven years ago and has more than 4,000 members.
Tracey had no sooner written her post when one of the moms, a cake decorator, made Eden a complimentary cake. Eden got to pick out a pair of Sweetlegs leggings on the house and a spa owner treated her to a pedicure with balloons, flowers and a cupcake to enjoy.
Another mom reached out to Tracey and said their family decided to buy Eden a gift for her birthday.
Tracey said she used the experience as a teachable moment for her daughter, that both good and bad things will happen in life, but it is important to focus on the positive. Eden’s ninth birthday will be remembered for kindness and great things that came out of it, she said.
“It was really special when all these mums reached out with so many birthday wishes, kind words, and even gifts. Thank you so much from both of us,” Tracey said.