Teen's Birthday Surprise From His Late Father Has The Whole Internet In Tears

by Sarah Hosseini
Originally Published: 
Image via Facebook/Chandler Mae Crow

Michigan teen gets gift from dad who passed away and no one can stop the tears

Turning 16 is a huge milestone. But celebrating a birthday, or anything really, after losing a parent can be fraught with emotion. For a teen in Michigan who lost his dad unexpectedly a couple of months ago, it was a day of surprises, happy-sad tears, and remembrance.

Johnathan Crow’s dad didn’t get to see his son turn 16, but he still got to be part of his special day.

On his birthday, Johnathan’s sister Chandler Crow blindfolded him and took him to their local music shop. The teen is a huge heavy metal fan and has been looking at the black Dean Razorback guitar ever since he started taking lessons. (The Dean Razorback is a badass guitar that’s popular among heavy metal rockers.) He didn’t know it, but waiting for him at the shop was the exact guitar he’d been eyeing. Chandler recorded the sentimental reveal and her brother’s emotional response. The Facebook video resonated around the world and is making everyone cry, because just watch it.

The video starts off with the teen reading his dad’s birthday card, almost in soft whispers. Then he waits patiently as the music shop workers open the surprise from the box. His eyes wide the entire time. He approaches the half open guitar case almost looking in disbelief.

“It’s for you man,” one of the employees says.

“Dad bought it for you before he passed away … for your birthday,” says Chandler.

And tears. Him. Me. Us. Everyone.

“I was definitely overjoyed that my father gave me one last thing to remember him by,” the teen tells USA Today. “I know a lot of kids don’t get that.”

Johnathan’s father, died unexpectedly of a heart attack on April 1, according to CNN. He ordered the guitar months in advance to make sure it arrived in time for his son’s birthday.

“It was a really emotional moment for everybody,” store owner Pete Kruse shares. “Not a dry eye in the house.”

John Crow had been taking his son to guitar lessons at that same local music shop in Port Huron for the past year. “His dad brought him in for lessons every week,” Kruse said. “He was a very involved dad.”

Anyone who’s into music knows the sound comes from the player, but certain guitars are better for achieving different sounds. And then there’s the look of it. Kruse said the Dean Razorback is “very sharp and angular. It looks almost like lightning.”

Crow ordered the surprise guitar in late January, but died two months later at age 49 and the guitar stayed at the store. Johnathan’s sister got the call that it was there and kept it a secret for his birthday.

“We tucked it away for him so nobody would play it,” says Kruse.

The video on Facebook has been viewed over 11 million times as of this morning. Beyond the video being viewed a bonkers number of times, several have come forward to donate money to the teen for future guitar lessons. In just two days donations were at around $17,000.

“We don’t need to give Johnny lessons for the next 16 years,” Kruse says laughingly.

Johnathan also received backstage concert passes from one of his favorite bands, Alice Cooper, for a show in September.

The outpouring of support is incredible. And sometimes just something as simple as kind words can help you get through hard times. Many people are commenting on the video with their experiences of losing a parent, grief, and offering words of encouragement.

“It’s good to feel you’re not alone in this,” Johnathan says.

“I discovered music and it was amazing how it made me feel,” he said. “It made that sadness go away, it made me more like my father, who I so aspired to be.”

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