San Diego

Family, Friends Lead Surprise Birthday Caravan for Clairemont Girl

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As the community tries to adapt to a new normal, communicating and connecting with others can take creativity. A Clairemont family planned a caravan of people, in the form of a parade of decorated cars, to surprise their 9 year-old girl on her birthday.

Dozens of friends and family, remaining in their decorated vehicles, gathered in an empty parking lot and drove in a caravan to Kalea Perez’s home.

“It’s my first time out of the house. I’m excited to see all my family. Even though it’s in this way, it’s better than nothing,” said a relative from her car.

Surprise birthday parties in the time of COVID-19 look different for now.

“I have a quickie birthday sign after work and some rose petals I’ll be tossing her way,” said another relative.

Perez was ecstatic as a caravan of familiar faces paraded by wishing her a special day.

"It feels really good. At first I thought it was traffic but then I’d seen my family in the car and I was like 'Oh my gosh!' And then I started shivering because this was really cool,” said Perez.

She wasn’t the only one moved.

“I just saw my little niece. I love her so much. It sucks we can’t be with her on her birthday. You know it makes her happy so that’s all that matters,” said a relative. “It’s very emotional, very, very hard on a lot of people. Hopefully we can just take it one day at a time and we will get through this together. That’s all we can do.”

Everyone could use a little connection, even if it’s six feet away.

“It went perfectly, my gosh. I feel so many emotions. I'm so happy for her and it was just such a nice way to connect with our family and our friends in such a uncertain time right now," said Kalea’s mother Savannah Underwood. “I  honestly think that this is going to probably be her most memorable birthday yet.”

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