A British garbage man has surprised one of his elderly customers with a birthday cake during his weekly round to mark her 100th birthday.
Ben Bird, who works for Wyre Forest District Council in Worcestershire, UK, promised Dorothy Ballard – known as Mercy to her family and friends – a cake for her birthday if she reached the tender age of 100.
So when the big day arrived and coincided with his weekly collection at her home in Kidderminster, he walked up the garden path with a cake – much to the surprise of Dorothy.
The pair struck up an unlikely friendship after Ben has been collecting her trash for 8 years.
Every week Ben would stop to have a chat with Dorothy for ten minutes, as his colleagues carried on their round, eventually rushing off to catch up with his crew further down the road.
But last Thursday, the day Dorothy turned 100, Ben hung around to hand-deliver a birthday cake adorned with candles reading ‘100’ and make good his promise made several years earlier.
Ben, 30, said: “I stop and talk to her every Thursday. Whenever I walk up her garden path, she will be waiting there for me with her bags.
“I never have a cup of tea or anything – I wouldn’t let her go to that trouble. But I do look forward to our weekly chat and know she does too.
“We have deadlines to meet on our round, so my colleagues usually carry on and I end up sprinting up the road to catch them up.
“But I could not pass Dorothy’s house without stopping to speak to her and check she is okay.”
Dorothy has lived in the same road for 74 years, and got to know Ben after he switched routes eight years ago.
And it was during one of their weekly chats that Ben made his promise to bring her a cake if she reached 100.
So when Dorothy reached the milestone last week and received a letter from the Queen congratulating her, he went straight out and bought a cake to surprise her with.
Video filmed of the moment he surprises her shows Ben walking up Dorothy’s garden path shouting her pet name ‘Mercy, Mercy’ as he passes three balloons tied to a post.
Along with his two colleagues Joe Hillier and Karl Buckley, they begin singing happy birthday as he keeps the candles burning.
As Dorothy opens the door, she bows her head in disbelief that ben has followed through with his promise.
Ben then asks Dorothy to make a wish, but a shocked Dorothy doesn’t know what to say, before Ben suggests she wishes to make it to 105 years.
But Dorothy jokingly replies telling him to “shut up”.
Granddaughter Katy Smith said: “She is always waiting for Ben every Thursday with her bin bags.
“Ben was the first to wish her a happy birthday at 8am that morning and congratulate her on turning 100.
“It was fitting as she loves her weekly chats with the binmen [British term for garbage man].”
Katy, along with Dorothy’s children, grandchildren and great-grand-children, helped celebrate the special occasion with a small get together later that day.
Katy added: “She looks amazing for her age – we all hope she has passed on the good genes to us all.
“She said she didn’t want a big party, so we all went to see her throughout the day to wish her a happy birthday and celebrate it.
“All she keeps saying is she is overwhelmed with all the messages she has received and the reaction to the gesture.
“It’s been such a memorable event, not just for Dorothy but for all the family.”
(Story courtesy of T&T Creative Media)