Joe Cuba asked for 100 cards for his 100th Birthday, he got 81,574
Written by Selina Hallam
Stephanie Veitenheimer, who works at the retirement community where 100-year-old Joe lives in Wichita Falls, Texas, told the BBC that she had asked him what he wanted for his birthday and he'd said, "Nothing really, just happiness," so she came up with the idea of 100 cards for 100 years. Stephanie originally posted this photo of him on Facebook on February 19th.
Holding a handwritten sign saying he would like to receive 100 cards for his upcoming birthday, Joe and his family could never have imagined that people as far and wide as England, Poland and Hong Kong would be joining tens of thousands of US residents in wishing him a very happy 100th birthday.
As KFDX News reported, his birthday, March 2nd, has now been declared Mr. Joe Cuba Day in Wichita Falls and the city's Mayor Stephen Santellana said, "We need to do this more often. We need to celebrate someone who has fought in a war or served this country, lived 100 years. We need to wrap our arms around that person every single time."
Jarvis Polvado, Brookdale Midwestern's Executive Director, said, "We opened an envelope that probably had 50 cards from Puerto Rico. We've gotten a card that came from Hong Kong. Just a single card and they spent $300 to express mail it from Hong Kong, so he would get it in time for his birthday."
Social media users have been sharing images of the cards they have been sending Joe, with some even making their own cards to wish him a happy birthday, like Hungary's Bea Smith, who drew this amazing portrait.
Joe himself told KFDX, "I didn't expect many. It was a surprise that so many came and wished me good luck. Good blessings and I appreciated that. It's real gracious of them. I appreciate it. And really I don't deserve all the gifts and glory, but I accept it and I thank them for coming and wishing me well. That's the best thing. I don't have to have a lot of goodies as the saying goes, but I enjoy them."
The power of social media and the hearts of people all over the world have combined to ensure that Joe Cuba can celebrate his centenary in a wonderful way - with thoughtful birthday cards as well as much more. Hopefully more people like Joe will get to experience such a heartwarming commemoration in their lifetime, too.