Birthdays are the universal equalizer. No matter who you are, where you’re from – everyone in the world gets older each year – even the Terminator. And birthdays are often a time for celebration, even amid a pandemic. For one UK dad, his son’s 42nd birthday was an opportunity for a little bit of justice.
It all started when Rob Witts was just 14 years old. To celebrate his dad’s 42nd birthday, Rob hand-made a card that was equal parts thoughtful and snarky. The front of the card featured a smiling cartoon with the words, “Hey everybody! He’s 42! Of course,” while the inside of the card read, “…We won’t draw attention to it, will we?”
As most kids do, Rob proudly presented the card to his dad and immediately forgot about it. That is, until his own 42nd birthday. Now a father of three himself, Rob received an envelope in the mail from his parents. Inside was a beautiful card from Rob’s mom, some pictures from his childhood, and the same 42nd birthday card he had given to his father decades earlier.
A brand new note written inside of the card read, “I guess if you wait long enough, what goes round comes round!” Rob’s dad had also corrected the names, so the greeting now read “Happy 42nd Birthday Dad Rob! From Robbie Dad.”
Fair play to my dad sending me the sarky card I made for his 42nd birthday, astonishing commitment to karmic justice pic.twitter.com/1JdzUskGco
— Rob Witts is staying home (@robwitts) September 10, 2020
Though the card itself was a surprise, the hilarity was not. Rob told The Dad, “He is a really caring and considerate man, and we share a sarcastic sense of humour – lots of bad puns and so forth,” he said. “This act was entirely in-keeping with my dad’s sense of humour.”
Rob now lives about four hours away from his parents, and since the pandemic, their in-person contact has unfortunately been limited. However, It would take far more than a pandemic to keep Rob’s dad from making his birthday a memorable one. The photo of the decades-old birthday card along with the story have gone viral on Twitter, accumulating over 100,000 likes in over a week.
Many speculated that Rob’s dad had spent the past 28 years carefully plotting his revenge, but Rob offered a far more innocent but equally excellent explanation. “He and my mum had been looking in their attic for photos of my sister and me at the same age that our kids are now,” Rob said. “The card had been in one of the boxes, and he saw an opportunity! So it was clever opportunism and luck rather than determined planning, and I think I’m relieved to know that.”
Maybe what Rob’s dad meant when he said “what goes round comes round” had nothing to do with justice at all – maybe it was really about the touching things family members do to show how much they love each other. Whether it’s taking the time to hand-make a card for your dad, or caring enough to hold onto it nearly 30 years later.