Five-year-old Raiden Gonzales' community threw him a "wave and roar" dinosaur-themed drive-by parade to celebrate his birthday.
Raiden Gonzales lost both his mother and father at the age of four when they succumbed to Coronavirus. On November 22, he celebrated his fifth birthday, the first one without his parents by his side. However, his extended family wanted to cheer him up. So, they asked their community in San Antonio, Texas, to come together and celebrate his birthday with the biggest, most wonderful parade ever a week later. Everyone in Raiden's neighborhood joined in on the "wave and roar" dinosaur-themed drive-by parade, Good Morning America reports. Surely, even though this has been a tough year for the five-year-old, this will be a birthday he remembers fondly.
Family, friends and loved ones gathered together to celebrate Raiden Gonzalez's 5th birthday with a drive-by car parade on Saturday in San Antonio. Raiden lost both of his parents to COVID-19 just 100 days apart. https://t.co/XRBscrSQdA— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) November 30, 2020
A local fire department, a Batman entertainer, monster truck clubs, motorcycle clubs and classic car clubs were all in attendance. Margie Bryant, the boy's great-aunt, whom he lovingly also calls grandma, organized the celebrations. "It's a milestone birthday," she said. "We just want Raiden to know that we're going to be there for all of his birthdays and make sure he's celebrated, and I know my niece has the cheesiest grin because she knows her boy is in good hands." She added that her nephew was "overwhelmed with joy," as was the family, because of the community's response.
San Antonians and others in Texas show love for boy whose dad, Adan, 33, died in June, and whose mother, Mariah, 29, died last month. https://t.co/vg7NC5gmVp— San Antonio Report (@SAReport) November 30, 2020
The drive-by parade lasted a whole hour—the only hour of the day that it did not rain in San Antonio that day. Bryant shared, "To me it’s like somebody was definitely looking down at us, and it worked out. I would say Mariah and Adan [Raiden's parents] were smiling and proud of what we did for our little man." Raiden lost both his mother to the Coronavirus in October, and his father in June. His aunt explained, "[Raiden] understands what happened with his dad and that his dad is an angel, but he can’t process yet that Mariah is gone and she is an angel too. There are times when he has his moments. He’ll ask why he can’t have his mommy back."
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RAIDEN: Raiden Gonzalez turned 5 on Saturday, just months after his parents, Adan and Mariah Gonzalez, died from COVID-19. The massive car parade, which included appearances by Santa Claus, superheroes and dinosaurs, lasted nearly an hour. https://t.co/kjskDERCBl— 23 WIFR (@23WIFR) November 30, 2020
The five-year-old's experience is only one of many unfortunate stories from the pandemic. "I can't say it enough... I know what it [Coronavirus] has done to us, and I know the hurt that we feel, the void that it has left in our hearts, this little boy who doesn't have his mom and dad now," Bryant stated. "You hear about the deaths, but you don't ever really hear about the people left behind, and in this instance, it's a four-year-old." There is perhaps nothing that can take away the pain this little boy feels every single day, but it is heartwarming to know that a whole community came together to do the best they could to make Raiden feel loved and less alone on his special day. His aunt affirmed, "In these trying times when so many people have lost their jobs and they’re probably struggling, to see them come out and respond that way, is just incredible. We are very, very thankful and humbled at the generosity and the love from people and the abundance of gifts that he received."
A 4-year-old Texas boy lost his dad, then mom to coronavirus. His grandmother's message to the world: 'Take COVID seriously.': Raiden Gonzalez, who will soon turn 5 years old, has lost both his parents to COVID-19 this year. His grandmother's message:… https://t.co/CQMp2YKDw5 pic.twitter.com/QKabSiTqdr— CITIZENS for CHANGE™ 🌊 (@cfcpac) November 19, 2020