Meet the World War Two veteran below!
Video credit: Good Morning America
You have to admit, getting to the age of 100 is more like winning the lottery than anything else. Yes, diet and exercise will help but we can’t fully control how our body and genes respond and we can’t always control environmental factors either.
In that sense, Joe Cuba is a very lucky man. Not only is he turning 100 on March 2, but he is also a World War Two veteran. It’s quite ironic in a way that someone who was at most risk of death would reach such a grand old age considering that a lot of people don’t even make it to half his age even in peacetime.
Because he was quite blessed, his only wish for his birthday is to be happy. That’s when his caregiver at the retirement home he stays in came up with a brilliant idea: ask people to send 100 birthday cards for Joe’s 100th birthday.
Joe was down for that idea and soon a picture of him holding a handwritten sign became viral, being shared thousands of times on social media.
It reads: “I’m a WW2 veteran who will be turning 100 on 2 March 2019. I would like to receive 100 birthday cards.”
And the response was, to say the least, overwhelming.
Joe didn’t receive 100 cards…he received 10,000. Now he says he’s “really excited” to get all those cards.
Speaking to BBC News, he said: “I really didn’t expect all the cards. I got a whole bunch of them – and I couldn’t thank everyone enough.”
Stephanie Veitenheimer was the brains behind the idea. She works at Brookdale Midwestern Community in Texas where Joe lives.
She told BBC News: “I asked Joe what he wanted for his birthday and he said, ‘Nothing really, just happiness,’ so I said, ‘Well, why don’t we get you 100 cards?’”
Cards were sent from places like Puerto Rico, Guam, Germany, and the UK.
The packages are being placed on a table inside an empty apartment where Joe lives so that he and his daughter can look at them.
Even people from Japan, Australia, and New Zealand have said their cards were on the way. The response was “just mad,” she said.
Joe’s birthday appeal has proven so popular that people have taken photos of their cards and shared them on social media before sending them over to him.
Eline van de Laar from the Netherlands tweeted: “My card is ready for posting. Joe Cuba, here it comes,” accompanied by the hashtag #Kleinemoeitegrootplezier (little effort, big fun).
People on Instagram have also started using the hashtag #joecuba in their posts.
Other artists have also chosen to draw portraits of Joe and thank him for his service. Joe was a technical sergeant in the United States Army Air Forces during World War Two.
One artist named Bea Smith said her drawing is on its way to Texas from Hungary.
Petenoir posted “a little kindness” for a “complete stranger,” writing: “I don’t know him, I sure do wish him the happiest 100th birthday and certainly thank him for serving in a war that impacted the world.”
Joe has also received flowers for his birthday which is on March 2 and he has a lot of fun plans for the day itself. “All of my friends will come over for dinner and a get-together,” he said.
His new-found fame will also bring him a week’s worth of celebrations such as parties and visits from schools. He can even expect a visit from a young kangaroo.
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