Julie Bricker's mom told her daughter she didn't want a big party to celebrate her 60 th birthday. So the dutiful daughter from Boca Raton, Fla., obliged: All she did was place a birthday wish to Mom on a billboard on a major Florida highway.
"I was trying to come up with something out of the box," Bricker, 27, told ABC News. "I tried to think of something unique that would make her feel loved on her birthday."
As Bricker says, "Mission accomplished."
Bricker's mom, Mary Jane, received more than 500 calls and texts from complete strangers Thursday, her 60 th birthday, thanks to the billboard.
Bricker, who works for an advertising firm, enlisted the help of a client, Clear Channel, to secure a digital billboard atop South Florida's Interstate-95 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday. She then had someone from her own firm design the billboard, which included a photo of her mother along with the words "Wish Mary Jane a Happy 60 th Birthday" and a phone number.
The phone number listed was a Google voice number that Bricker created, she says, but the calls and texts still went to her mom's cellphone.
"My mom got a call before she saw the billboard and was wondering why this guy was calling her [to wish her a happy birthday]," Bricker said. "So my dad picked her up and said, 'I need to take you for a drive,' and took her on 95 and she saw it and said, 'Oh, no, she didn't.'"
Oh, yes, she did.
"The response was insane," Bricker said. "It was text after text and call after call, from all across the country and even Jamaica."
The calls only increased after photos of the billboard were shared on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and blasted out on the local news.
"She called me right after she saw it and she was like, 'Seriously, Julie?'" Bricker said.
After her shock wore off, Bricker says her mom saw the humor and the good intentions behind the billboard birthday wish. It was certainly a birthday she will not forget.
"The best part was that everyone was so nice," Bricker said. "Just to know that so many people took time out of their day to wish her a happy birthday."
"She does so much for everyone so it was so well-deserved and so special," she said.