Fred Shekoufeh is technically turning 15 today while his son, Eric, is celebrating his fifth birthday.
“It’s a pretty funny coincidence,” the younger Shekoufeh told ABC News.
Fred said that his son was born late in the night on Feb. 29, 1996.
“When we were in the hospital, my ex-wife looked at me in the room and said ‘Look what you’ve done to me!' She said, ‘This is going to be your birthday present,’” he recalled.
The likelihood of being born on Feb. 29 is a 1 in 1,461 chance and, according to population records in the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 226,000 people who have leap day birthdays in the U.S. Nearly 5 million people in the entire world are celebrating their birthdays today.
“I realize how valuable it is to be born on this day,” Fred said. “Mentally, I’m one of those guys who consider themselves young.”
It's not always easy having a leap year birthday. Fred explained that when he was moving from Iran to the U.S. in the 1980s, immigration employees questioned his age and date of birth. “The computers weren’t as sophisticated back then,” he said.
“People will crack jokes about it,” Eric added. And when it isn’t a leap year, Eric celebrates his birthday on both Feb. 28 and March 1. Fred celebrates his birthday on Feb. 28.
“It’s really cool when I actually do have a birthday,” Eric said. “There’s way less confusion.”
This year, the Shekoufehs will not be able to celebrate together. Eric is at UCLA for school and Fred lives in San Diego. But they still both plan on celebrating the day.