Jennifer Hamilton isn’t social media savvy. She doesn’t use Facebook. Nor does she have a Twitter or Instagram account. But to surprise her husband who was turning 32, she did something unusual: She asked strangers to wish her husband, Gary Hamilton, happy birthday on social media.
The Harlem, New York, resident woke up at 5 a.m. last Saturday, caught a subway train at 5:30 a.m., and traveled downtown to post the 150 fliers she made, asking commuters to wish her husband happy birthday.
“We actually just celebrated our wedding anniversary a week before his birthday,” Jennifer Hamilton told ABC News. “So he thought we were just having a low-key birthday.”
“I had been strategizing the whole week,” she added. “I was thinking about which were the busiest train stations in New York City.”
She said she was a little embarrassed at first because people were staring at her tape gun, which was making loud tearing sounds. But that didn’t deter her from parting the crowd in front of a bench to tape the flyer.
“Then I started to notice people actually reading the fliers,” Hamilton said. “I got bolder. They kept me motivated.”
After wandering underground in New York City for a few hours, Jennifer taped 125 fliers in stations from 142nd Street to 25th street.
Commuters in New York City responded to Jennifer's flyers with high enthusiasm.
Here is a picture snapped at Penn Station:
While Jennifer was hitting the ground in the city, Gary Hamilton was still just waking up at home.
“You know how people nowadays are attached to their phones?” he asked ABC News. “I just scrolled down Twitter when I was half-awake.”
He was a little confused to find many notifications of strangers wishing him happy birthday.
Here's a picture of a commuter who spotted the flier at 135th Street:
“At first, I thought they were spams,” he said. “I wasn't really reading those messages.”
Then he received an email from his wife that read: “I know you don’t see me right now. I’m actually putting up all these fliers. Happy birthday.”
Things then started to make sense to Gary Hamilton.
“Then I saw the pictures of the flier my wife made,” Hamilton said. “And I kind of picked up what was going on.”
Gary Hamilton recalled Jennifer asking how Twitter’s “tagging” function worked just two days before his birthday, although, at that time, he didn’t suspect anything.
“When she left in the morning, I thought she was going to the hairdresser’s,” Hamilton said.
“We both like to surprise each other, but she has never done anything on such a magnitude, especially since she is not on social media at all,” Hamilton said.
“I am so thankful that people actually participated,” Jennifer Hamilton said. “I was really nervous at first, but once I knew people were responding, I was just so happy that everyone celebrated Gary’s birthday with me.”
“I am thankful that those commuters took time to do that,” Gary Hamilton said. "I have responded to many of them, and I plan to respond to all of them this week."
He said not all responders were New Yorkers. He even got some wishes from tourists visiting from China and Korea.
“I am from Huston, Jennifer is from Florida. Although New York City has a mean reputation, it is a place with wonderful people,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton said the story is more about Jennifer’s love for him, instead of him getting many wishes.
“There’s nothing wrong with spending a lot of money on birthdays. People do enjoy gifts,” Hamilton said. “But you can have the most fantastic birthday in a whole, wild world with just a few bucks, some paper and some tape.”
“She made this birthday phenomenal,” Gary Hamilton said.