First responders, a motorcycle club and even Santa Claus turn out for Simi Valley boy’s drive-by birthday party

Local News

When a Simi Valley boy had to cancel his 8th birthday party due to social distancing guidelines, the community stepped up to make sure he still had a celebration to remember.

Jasmin Hernandez says she asked a few neighbors to drive by their Belinda Street home Friday to deliver birthday greetings for her son, Cruz Natoli, from a safe distance. The invite ended up spreading much farther.

The expected group of family and friends drove by, waving signs and balloons. And so did firefighters, police officers and public works crews.

Santa Claus even made a special trip down south, along with a group of motorcyclists who rumbled by, stopping to sing “Happy Birthday.”

Tall letters were propped up on the front lawn reading, Happy birthday Cruz.

“Just seeing his smile was well worth doing that,” said Candice Jones, who helped organize the large response. “That’s why we do what we do in this community.”

Natoli said he was surprised by the turnout, and it may even be his best birthday ever.

His mom was also overwhelmed by the support.

“There’s no way I could thank everybody for this,” Hernandez said. “It’s the best — more than I could ever imagine.”

But Natoli’s grandma said the celebration did feel bittersweet, telling her family, “I wish I could give you guys a hug.”

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