Mario Garza and his girlfriend, Sarah, recently moved to Portland, Oregon. Moving is stressful, and more stressful when you’re moving to a new city. Toss in a birthday away from friends and family, and it becomes even more difficult. Sarah’s birthday was November 6.
Garza decided that he didn’t want his girlfriend to be sad on her birthday, so he got the community involved — he stood in Pioneer Square and asked total strangers to record birthday messages, and also started a Tumblr, Say Happy Birthday Sarah. Well-wishers were also able to send “happy birthdays” via Twitter and Instagram. It worked better than expected:
Hundreds of people participated, according to Garza. That means hundreds of people took time out of their day to wish a Portland-transplant and total stranger happy birthday, which is pretty awesome.
Here’s the original video:
Maybe it’s a Portland thing, or just an Oregon thing. I’ve lived in Oregon my entire life, so maybe I’m biased, but the overall impression of Oregonians seems to be pretty laid-back. From Gawker, who (in a very scientific poll of their office staff) ranked it in the top 10 arbitrarily best states:
Portland is a great city. Full of artists and thinkers and other weirdos — it’s the verdant farmers market of your dreams, an easy-to-live-in medium-sized city where the dream of the ’90s is still alive.
The unofficial motto of Portland is “Keep Portland Weird” (based on Austin’s small business-promoting “Keep Austin Weird”), and it’s a city that prides itself on inclusiveness, although there’s a history of racism that many residents prefer to pretend didn’t exist. Portland also consistently ranks as one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the nation, and has hundreds of miles of bike paths.
In any case, this act of kindness on the part of strangers to welcome someone new to the city was really nice. Welcome to Oregon, Sarah! We’re one of the greenest states in the union, and we’re about to get a bit greener come July.