When you’re a kid, your birthday is a big deal. Birthdays mean parties, and parties mean all your friends come over and watch you open presents before pigging out on cake. Of course, when you’re the parent, these events can become pretty stressful.
One Arizona mom found this out when she threw her 6-year-old son his first-ever birthday party. After what should’ve been one of the best days of the boy’s life went sour, she was moved to tears when the community banded together to give him a birthday do-over…
When Teddy Mazzini was about to turn 6, his mom offered him several options to celebrate his birthday: Disneyland, Legoland, or a party with his classmates.
The birthday boy wanted to have his party at Peter Piper Pizza, a restaurant-arcade in Tucson, Arizona, near the Mazzini’s hometown. Similar to Chuck-E-Cheese, it was a popular spot for children’s birthday parties.
Sure his buds would stuff their faces with pizza and then turn to the bright and loud arcade games, Teddy convinced his mom that it was the perfect location for a party. She made the necessary reservations.
After inviting all 32 kids from his class at BASIS Tuscon Primary School, Teddy received over 15 RSVPs from different parents. Soon, everything was set, and he couldn’t wait for his party — especially because someone special would be attending.
Mike Christy/Arizona Daily Star
Because he worked on an oil rig in Alaska, Teddy’s dad, Ted Bollinger, rarely saw his son very often. However, he insisted on making it home for his birthday and meeting all of Teddy’s friends.
On October 21, 2018, the day of the party had arrived. The restaurant was decorated with balloons and streamers, and 15 home-made goodie bags stuffed with toys, candy, and a thank-you-for-coming note sat on the tables. All that was left to do was wait for guests.
So Teddy and his parents waited. And waited. And waited. After 15 minutes, Teddy’s mom, Sil, figured there might be bad traffic. After 30 minutes, she figured she might have got the time wrong on the invites.
After more than an hour, the family had had enough. Not one of the 32 invited kids from Teddy’s class had shown up. Only one of the RSVPers called to apologize! Sil and Ted were heartbroken for their son.
One look at the look of disappointment on her son’s face inspired Sil to make things right for their son. Despite her husband’s objections, she hatched a scheme. The first step? Take a picture of disappointed Teddy.
Sil sent the picture of her son sitting all alone at the Peter Piper table, and sent it to local news anchor and investigative reporter Nick Vinzant. Nick then used his platform at KVOA to put Teddy’s story in the spotlight.
Since most of the Tucson area follows Nick on social media, the sad picture of Teddy got a lot of feedback instantly — and some major players in the Tuscon area…
Officials with the Phoenix Rising, a soccer team in Phoenix, Arizona, invited him to the next game. The team, the officials said, would love to celebrate his 6th birthday with him.
Following the Phoenix Rising invite, NBA team the Phoenix Suns extended a similar invitation: Teddy could come to one of their games and celebrate his birthday. But Teddy wasn’t interested in the Suns…
However, as a massive LeBron James fan, the six year old was interested in the Sun’s opponent, the Los Angeles Lakers! A budding sports fan, he accepted the offer.
Cheerleaders and a gorilla celebrated Teddy, and bequeathed him a crown and a Beat L.A. poster (which he probably hid when he saw LeBron James).
He was even gifted his own personalized basketball jersey! This was no ordinary birthday celebration for a 6-year-old anymore, but after having been hurt by every single one of his classmates, Teddy deserved to be spoiled and his smile was proof of his happiness.
Teddy wore the jersey as he met players from the Suns, and had the time of his life being the VIP guest at one of the biggest matches of the season.
He even got to sit side-by-side with the Phoenix Suns’ Josh Jackson and watch the game from a front-row seat! While it seems like a kid’s birthday couldn’t get any better, Teddy’s day wasn’t done.
DJ Khaled, known for his music career and Snapchat account, reposted the picture of Teddy with the caption “Bless up and happy birthday to the Young King Teddy! The Khaled Family, @asahdkhaled and the We The Best foundation want to send you a birthday present!”
AFP Photo/Frederick M. Brown
After the game, iHeartMedia’s local hip-hop station Hot 98.3 threw Teddy the party he had always wanted: a pizza and arcade games fest at Peter Piper Pizza! Teddy certainly looked happier in the pictures this time around.
right: Hot 98.3/Instagram
Despite regretting posting the photo due to so many negative comments towards the Mazzini family, Teddy and his parents were incredibly grateful to the kindness of the celebrities and other supportive social media users.
Why nobody attended Teddy’s original party was never revealed, but his classmates’ parents should have certainly known better. Thankfully, some Phoenix celebrities and athletes had their heart in the right place. As for his seventh birthday party? Well, maybe they’ll just take a trip.