When 77-year-old Frances Buzzard started working as a janitor for Belle Elementary School in West Virginia, staff thought she was just going to be another custodian. But after she went above and beyond her regular job duties, such as polishing the furniture, everyone became enamored with her “old school” work ethic!
However, the sweet woman had been keeping a sad secret for decades. When the principal dug deeper into her past, she had no choice but to confront Frances with what she had discovered. That’s when the elderly woman realized that no matter how many years pass by, secrets always have a way of getting out.
“Miss Frances,” as she’s known by students and staff, was probably confused when an announcement over the school’s loudspeakers suddenly instructed her to report to the cafeteria. There was an assembly underway, so perhaps they needed her to mop something off the floor.
However, when Frances walked into the cafeteria, over 200 students were waiting to greet her with a very loud “surprise!” It was her 77th birthday, which is worthy enough of celebration. But, this occasion was extra special – it was the very first birthday party she’d ever had in her life!
As the students all sang “Happy Birthday,” a cart full of cupcakes and cookies was rolled out of the kitchen. The school principal draped Frances with a splashy birthday sash and glittery-pink tiara, and she was guided to a chair in the center of the room. All eyes were on her, and it was finally her time to shine!
As if on cue, the curtains on one side of the room opened up to reveal a stage with a large screen. A slideshow of this woman’s amazing history showed photos of her throughout her long life, alternating with scenes of important historic events that she lived through.
The cheeky photos showed Frances helping raise the flag at Iwo Jima, standing next to Neil Armstrong on the moon, and yep – this sassy lady was even rockin’ it at Woodstock!
Frances grew up in a poor family and can’t ever recall having had a proper birthday party in her entire life. Back in those days, her family just didn’t celebrate birthdays and Christmas. Frances told the Charleston Gazette-Mail:
“I don’t remember any. They didn’t do things like that. We didn’t have Christmas parties either. They would get us fruits and nuts when they could afford it.”
Oops, but wait – she did actually remember a party she had… but it was rather sad.
“They had me one, but it was so icy and cold, nobody came.”
Of course, everyone happily attended this party, and the look on her face when she discovered this was all for her is priceless. No one ever forgets their first kiss, their first car, or the first President they voted for – and this is a first birthday celebration that Miss Frances will never forget!
Watch this video to see Ms. Frances get a sweet birthday surprise!