Billboard

Dad receives thousands of birthday calls after sons post number on brilliant billboard

Two boys got their dad a pretty neat birthday gift, as several thousand people called him on his big day thanks to an ad they took out on a billboard.

Chris Ferry celebrated his 62nd birthday earlier this month, and although he might have appreciated a nice birthday message or something of that ilk from his sons, Christopher and Michael Ferry. But the boys had something different in mind.

Birthday Billboard Credit: CBS

They decided to spend around $2,000 to put up a billboard with their father's face and his phone number, erecting the advert on a road by Linwood, New Jersey. They had a simple message: "wish my dad a happy birthday", and Ferry says that many people - from all walks of life - obliged him.

The sign first went up on March 16 - Ferry's birthday - and before long, he had received a text from a man named Nick. Nick wished him a happy birthday, but Ferry replied: "How do you know it's my birthday coming up?" Nick then explained that he had seen the billboard, and it was only a matter of time before this amusing birthday prank truly paid off.

After Nick's text, Ferry was greeted with a veritable cascade of birthday calls and messages from all four corners of the globe; Ferry told Inside Edition that he's received texts from the likes of Kenya, Luxembourg, Ireland, Guatemala, Nepal, the Philippines and Australia.

"I can see my texts go from 10 or 20 to over 600 in a matter of minutes," Ferry revealed, saying that he has not "been able to use my phone in a normal way" since the prank began. Some call to wish him a happy birthday, others regale him with tales of their own fathers, but the joke continues to roll on.

Michael Ferry says that his father's had to delete thousands of texts, so popular has the prank become.

"He’s actually handled it really well, but last night he was a bit overwhelmed. He deleted about 3,000 texts, which took him about an hour and a half to do, and then got about 2,500 within 15 minutes when more news stories aired across the country."

Ferry 3 Generations Credit: Michael Ferry

Speaking to CBS, Ferry said that his newfound rise to fame was amusing... at first. "It was fun until this morning. Then I wanted to kill them [his sons]. But I’m going with it, having a good time," he said.

Chris and Michael, the practical jokers, said to KYW-News that this was meant to be a "birthday for him to remember".

According to the pranksters, the idea for the joke originated back when they were kids; when they went to eat, the boys would tell servers that it was their father's birthday, then watch him squirm awkwardly as Ferry was brought cake he didn't want.

Ferry family Credit: Michael Ferry

"I called my brother (Michael) and said, 'What if we put dad's picture right on the billboard and say wish him a happy birthday?' The prankster in me came out," explained Chris.

"We thought it was going to be a local joke, people would call," explained Chris. "I guess when we put it on social media, that's when it really started going crazy... [My dad] drove immediately to the sign and took a picture with it."

Billboard selfie Credit: Michael Ferry

It's gotten so bad that Ferry has had to change his voicemail; now, it says "thank you for calling to wish me a happy birthday, I really, very much appreciate it...", but he is looking forward to the billboard coming down in April.

His sons, however, say that they're planning to have an even bigger billboard for their father's 63rd birthday.