(Photo courtesy of Jennifer Robinson.)

A lower M Streets neighbor celebrated her 13th birthday a little differently this year among the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead of a large party — which are prohibited under county rules to mitigate the spread of the virus — neighbors surprised the seventh-grader with a birthday parade Monday outside her home.

“I got a text to have my daughter out on our porch at a certain time,” the girl’s mother, Jennifer Robinson, said. “I thought it was just going to be close friends running by to wave. I had no idea of the magnitude.”

Neighbor Kelli Culpepper Hall organized the parade after talking to a friend who had attended a similar event.

“It’s your 13th birthday, and you don’t need to be alone in the house,” she said.

During Monday’s parade, the girl’s classmates drove by in 15-20 separate cars with signs, noisemakers and pom poms. They dangled out the windows and moonroofs and yelled, “Happy Birthday” while the birthday girl and her mom stood in the yard.

“I didn’t realize how much I had missed seeing each other’s faces,” said Old East Dallas resident Carey Hurst, who participated in the parade with her daughter.

For Robinson and her daughter, the parade reminded them how much they appreciate the East Dallas community.

“The girls were happy to see each other, and it was a genuine expression of how we can support each other,” Robinson said. “These intangible acts of kindness mean so much.”

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