11-year-old receives birthday surprise of a lifetime

Published: Jan. 29, 2023 at 10:34 PM CST
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SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - An 11-year-old was worried no one would show up to his birthday party. However, the power of social media and the kindness of a community caused his birthday wish to come true.

“I can’t believe so many people came out just for me,” birthday boy Jonah Rose said.

Jonah’s mom Krystal Castillo made a Facebook post late Saturday night asking if a few people with cool sports cars could stop by her son’s birthday party on Sunday. Another birthday party was happening at the same time and only one kid RSVP’d to Jonah’s party.

“My phone just started dinging and people started messaging and calling me,” Castillo said. “This is a mother’s dream. You have no idea how much this means. I had no idea the outreach one Facebook post could mean.”

More than 100 people gathered at Otto’s Express Car Wash in Santa Rosa Beach in support of Jonah.

“I didn’t know this was going to happen today,” Rose said. “That’s all I have to say. I did not know - a huge car show - whatever you call it.”

Cars of all makes and models lined up at the car wash.

“There are so many cars I haven’t revved up or touched yet, but there’s so many I have,” Rose said. “My heart is racing.”

Party-goers said it was all in an effort to make Jonah smile.

“Oh, it’s great,” local resident Derrick Gossett said. “I mean, I see him over there just jumping around, smiling.”

Otto’s Express Car Wash owner Jon Garey said he’d host the party again in a heartbeat.

“We know Jonah loves cars so we wanted to make sure he was going to be part of the car community no matter what for the rest of his life,” Garey said.

Castillo said a miracle truly came true for her son.

“I don’t think there’s any way possible that I could top this - ever,” she said. “I’m in trouble.”

Sheriff’s deputies with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office also came out for Jonah.

The 11-year-old said the yellow Mustang was one of his favorite cars at the party.