Random meeting in Nashville leads to birthday surprise for Charlotte mother

Random meeting in Nashville leads to birthday surprise for Charlotte mother
(Kristen Hampton | WBTV)
(Kristen Hampton | WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - You might say Sarah Blackwell was a little shocked to see a news car pull up to her West Charlotte home Monday morning. And she was equally surprised to see a reporter approaching her door with flowers.

Several members of the WBTV team were in Nashville over the weekend attending the MidSouth EMMY Awards show. My flight didn't leave Nashville until late Sunday night. Around 5:30 p.m., I requested a ride to the airport on the popular ridesharing service Lyft.

John showed up in just a few minutes. Several minutes into our rainy ride to the airport, we started chatting about life and family. "Where are you from?" was just a little of the small talk I started out with.

John, who lives in Nashville, explained that he was born in Statesville and has a mother still living in Charlotte.

"Really?" I asked as I explained I live in Charlotte too.

"Tomorrow is her 86th birthday," John said. He explained he'd surely love to be there to help her celebrate, but couldn't make the trip.

We hatched a plan that ended up being quite the surprise for John's mother.

I made a video with John where he told his mom he loved her and wished her a happy birthday. He said on a scale of one to ten, his mother was a twelve.

We said our goodbyes and exchanged numbers.

Monday morning I secured a lovely bouquet of roses and put John's mother's address in my GPS. Every parking space around her house was full of cars belonging to family and friends who were over to help Ms. Blackwell celebrate.

The news lady who showed up unannounced was only given strange looks for a second. When I explained I had a special delivery all the way from Nashville, I was invited in to meet the woman of the hour.

I explained to Ms. Blackwell that I'd met her son just the night before in Nashville. I told her how he wanted to be there to wish her a happy birthday in person, but instead he sent me.

"He asked me to bring you some flowers, so here I am," I told her as the room broke out in applause.

Ms. Blackwell reached up to hug me and right then I understood just how much this meant to her.

Lyft is a service that randomly assigns drivers to requests as they're made. Had I left any earlier or any later for the airport, John would not have been my driver. I wouldn't have met the guy whose mother lives in the same city as me. I wouldn't have been able to help him make his mom's birthday extra special.

You could say, "it's a small world," but I'd also have to add, it's a beautiful one too.

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