A wheelchair-bound mom who had been told she might be going on a cruise for her birthday was given an even bigger shock when her family surprised her with a new mobility van and joked it would allow her to go cruising herself.
Annette Rivers, 63, lost her ability to walk more than 30 years ago, her family said, but that had not stopped her trying to go about her daily routine.
Recently, Annette had been in need of a new van, as the first specially designed van she bought was now more than 20 years old and starting to have problems.
Ahead of her mom’s big day, on August 5, Annette’s daughter, Yolanda Rivers, 44, secretly bought her a new vehicle and then worked on planning a big surprise.
Annette’s family booked an Airbnb in Orlando, Florida, and at the time of the surprise, encouraged her to head outside.
Initially, her niece, Sharron Williams, said Annette had been thinking she was set to head off on a cruise – but then Yolanda pulled up blowing the horn on her mom’s new van.
Annette could not hold back her excitement, with family members – some of whom were wearing t-shirts themed to the surprise – capturing the moment on video.
She said: ” She has not been able to get around as much due to her disability and loss of transportation.
“Lately, she had been feeling very sad and depressed.
“Getting the family together for a weekend getaway in Orlando and surprising my aunt with her new van put the icing on the cake.
“She was extremely happy, overjoyed, and all smiles.
“The response to the video has been great on all platforms.
“It’s heartfelt getting congratulations from people that you don’t even know.
“Family is very important to us. We’re always getting together to show our love and support for each other.
“This moment was extra special because we all knew how happy this would make her.
“We all pulled it off, leaving her speechless.
“Instead of going on a cruise which is what she was told, she got a cruise of a lifetime, and that’s her new van.”