This 61-Year-Old Waited Alone On His Birthday – But Then He Started To Speak And Everything Changed

Image: Facebook/Patty Rodríguez

The Mexican man sat alone in the restaurant, patiently waiting for his 61st birthday party to get started, one evening in September 2017. Sadly, however, the old boy’s gathering did not get off the ground. At least not until the people around him rallied together to make sure it would be a birthday celebration that none of them would easily forget.

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Image: Facebook/Patty Rodríguez

This story starts in the city of Boca del Rio, in Veracruz, on the East coast of Mexico. A woman named Patty Rodriguez had gone to a local restaurant to catch up with some friends. As she sat and chatted to her group, she noticed something – or rather someone – out of the corner of her eye.

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Image: Luke Chesser

In the eaterie, just behind where she and her friends had congregated, was an older man. He was busying himself organizing a table, presumably in anticipation of the arrival of a number of people. Rodriguez noticed how the man was going to great lengths with the table decoration.

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Image: Alondra Olivas

The man was carefully counting the number of seats, and also making sure that every guest would have a plate. Even though he was carrying out all the preparations on his own, he didn’t miss a trick. He even set up decorations, laid out party hats and placed a fancy cake in the centre of proceedings.
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Image: Facebook/Patty Rodríguez

? For Rodriguez and everyone else in the restaurant it soon became clear that it was the man’s birthday, and he was hosting a little celebration. Once the anonymous man had everything sorted out to his satisfaction, he took a seat at the decorated table. But no-one at the surrounding tables could have expected his festivities to fall quite so flat.

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Image: Veri Ivanova

The birthday boy sat by himself waiting patiently for his guests to arrive. But there was no sign of any partygoers. After a while, people in the eaterie couldn’t help but notice the awkward situation which had developed. The man had been sitting there all alone for an uncomfortable length of time. But still he waited in quiet anticipation.
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Image: Markus Spiske

Meanwhile, the birthday cake was just sitting there forlorn for everyone to see. Along with the festive decorations and carefully laid out party hats, it was becoming a heartbreaking sight for Rodriguez and the other restaurant patrons. Had this poor old man’s family and friends really left him all alone on his birthday?
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Image: Nicola Fioravanti

Then, the man did something that took everyone aback. Clearly frustrated that no-one had turned up to his party, the birthday boy decided that he wasn’t going to wait any longer. The old man rose to his feet, looked around the room and tried to attract everyone’s attention.

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Image: Gaelle Marcel

Then, with the whole restaurant looking at him, the old man started to address the room. “It’s my birthday today,” he began, “I’m 61-years-old and I prepared for a feast tonight. I bought a cake because I was supposed to meet my family here to celebrate my birthday.”

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Image: Alex Jones

What he said next was truly heartbreaking. “I hoped that my children, grandchildren and my wife would come. But as you can see, no-one turned up.” At this point, the man began welling up, and it looked as though he was on the verge of breaking down completely in front of everybody present.
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Image: Facebook/Patty Rodríguez

But the tearful old man managed to hold it together long enough to ask a favor of the strangers in the diner. “That is why I now ask if anyone wants to join me to celebrate my birthday and sing ‘Happy Birthday.’ I would be eternally grateful,” the humbled man requested.

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Image: Facebook/Patty Rodríguez

It didn’t take long for the restaurant’s customers to react to the man’s polite request. Within moments, people had started flocking over to the birthday boy’s table. People hugged him and started rearranging tables in order to make enough room for everyone to sit down around the old man. This birthday party was by no means over.

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Image: Gaelle Marcel

The old boy was a total stranger to everyone in the eaterie, but that fact no longer seemed to matter to anybody. People appeared more than happy to gather warmly around the birthday boy. After all, the restaurant patrons had watched him so diligently prepare a birthday celebration for himself, only for his own family and friends not to show up.

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Image: Facebook/Patty Rodríguez

The spontaeneous party guests donned the unused party hats and got chatting to the man, who turned out to be a Senor Eduviges Villatoros from Chiapas, a state neighboring Veracruz. But after they got to know him a little better, Villatoros told all those gathered something crazy that totally blew their minds.
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Image: Evan Dennis

Villatoros stunned everyone when he revealed that it was, in fact, not his birthday. It turned out that he had not been stood up by his family and friends at all. The baffled impromptu party guests couldn’t work out what Villatoros was talking about. It emerged that the whole blown-out birthday party story was bogus.
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Image: Roman Kraft

In actual fact, the planned festivities were fake and Villatoros had been acting all along. The old boy had been involved in an elaborate plan to carry out a social experiment that evening. The overall aim of the project was to find out how the public would react when confronted with the awkward public situation created by Villatoros.
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Image: Mayur Gala

It had turned out that the citizens of Boca del Rio – at least those who found themselves in that particular diner that night – had responded well. It is unsure what results Villatoros had expected, but it is certain that everyone who came across the quirky story online later was reassured. It is heartening that there are still good people in the world who will step in and help someone in need.

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Image: William Iven

Rodriguez, the woman who originally spotted Villatoros setting up his birthday celebration, ended up becoming one of the party guests herself. She took photographs of the group of strangers sitting around the decorated table wearing party hats and uploaded them to her Facebook page. The story of the birthday party to which no-one arrived quickly went viral.
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Image: Stephanie McCabe

Alongside the selection of four photographs of the experimental event, Rodriguez wrote a description of what had come to pass that evening. Before long, the post had been shared more than 67,000 times, and received thousands of likes for good measure. Many in the online community found themselves moved by Villatoros’ story.

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Image: Delaney Dawson

One Facebook user wrote that they “applaud all the people” who had the compassion to go and sit with Villatoros and transform his unhappy “birthday.” It just goes to show that in a world where so many evil things happen, the majority of us are still decent people. And decent people who love cake and a good party.

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