It started with a post on Nextdoor, which was then cross-posted on a popular local Facebook page.
“In need of a MAJOR favor from all who are willing!” wrote the poster, Columbia Pike resident Ashley Johnson. “I have a sweet sweet kid I met while volunteering at a homeless shelter 4 years ago. The shelter closed and his family was forced out but I still pick him up and try to give him good experiences.”
The post continued: “His 6th birthday is today and sadly I didn’t get to host a party this year BUT I just got a last minute reply from the fire station, and they’re willing to do a drive by and lead the way for a mini birthday parade… My family all lives out of state, but if anyone is free and willing to line up tomorrow around 5:15p, on 16th Rd. and Walter Reed, next to Pupatella, to jump in behind the fire truck when it passes to do the drive by Walter Reed Community Center, where we’ll be waiting, please let me know!”
Little did Johnson know, but Arlington residents and first responders would show up in a big way for 6-year-old Jessiah.
Friday night, several fire department vehicles, 16 Arlington County police cruisers and about 50 cars full of local residents paraded down the street, in perhaps the biggest traffic jam the Columbia Pike corridor has seen since the start of social distancing.
ARLnow staff photographer Jay Westcott was there to capture the moment.
The coronavirus outbreak may have curtailed traditional birthday parties, but it could not curtail kindness among neighbors and the big smile on Jessiah’s face.