Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 3, 2013

‘Best birthday present ever’

Flash mob gathers to celebrate teen turning 16

Carrie Stambaugh
The Independent

ASHLAND — Taylor Fletcher got an early birthday surprise over the weekend.

The Ashland teen turns 16 today, but on Saturday her friends and family wished her happy birthday with a flash mob of dancers at the Ashland Town Center Mall.

Shortly before 6:30 p.m., Fletcher and her family were eating in the food court, when the mall’s speaker began blaring Hilary Duff’s “Sweet Sixteen” and people started dancing.

Some of the dancers where Fletcher’s friends and family members, but others were dancers with Cyndi’s Dance Studio in Ironton.

It took her a few minutes to realize what was happening, but pretty soon the teen was overcome with emotion. A wide smile spread across her face, which she covered with her hands, and large, joyous tears began spilling down her cheeks.

“This is what happens on YouTube or those TV shows,” said Fletcher afterward, still trying to contain her emotions.

“It feels like the best thing in the world,” she said. “I really did not see it coming. At first I saw people start dancing and I thought, ‘Oh, cool flash mob!’ Then I see my friends start standing up and I’m like, ‘Why didn’t I hear of this? Why wasn’t I part of this?’ Then it turns out it was for me. So it was definitely something I did not see coming at all.”  

“I have the best friends in the world, and the best cousins in the world, and the best everyone in the world. I can’t believe this is happening to me,” Fletcher added, “Best Birthday present ever. No doubt about it.” 

Fletcher’s mother, Lisa, planned the surprise recruiting Taylor’s younger sister, Sydney, along with some of her friends from school, church and the dancers from Cyndi’s over the last week. Paul Fletcher lured his daughter to mall for dinner.

Mrs. Fletcher said she wanted to do something special for Taylor’s 16th birthday. “She is a great girl, she’s been to Africa twice to do mission work, so I wanted to do something that was not as big as the journey she’s been down and is going to continue to take, but I wanted to do something to shock and surprise her. Something that not every 16-year-old gets,” she explained.

“I got the idea because she loves music and we watch as a family, flash mobs happen and we laugh and talk about how much fun it would be to do for someone else,” she said, “I thought it would be perfect for her. It turned out better than I had hoped for. I was nervous all day,” she added.  

Kelsey Cooper, 18, is Taylor’s friend, and was a member of the dancing mob. “It was so much fun. It was exciting to know she had no idea, then the suspense of her being here. Then going out and making her cry and feel so loved. This is great,” said Cooper, whose younger sister Kendra, 14, also danced.

“It very exciting. It was really fun,” added Toni Vallance, 14.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.