Kelowna woman celebrates 102nd birthday from apartment window | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna woman celebrates 102nd birthday from apartment window

FILE PHOTO - Elsie Chandler got a unique birthday surprise this week for her 102nd birthday, Feb. 1, 2021.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Ken Schneider
February 06, 2021 - 8:30 AM

Kelowna resident Elsie Chandler wasn’t expecting visitors for her 102nd birthday but received an “amazing” surprise outside of her apartment window from a group of dedicated Save-On-Foods employees.

Chandler is a regular customer at the Save-On-Foods location across from her apartment where she lives independently on Richter Street. She hasn’t had visitors because of the pandemic, so for her birthday, Feb. 1, a few employees decided to bring the party to her.

“Somebody said ‘Happy Birthday’ and I’m in here and thought ‘well I’m not talking to myself, so I went to the bedroom window and looked down and there’s about 15-20 Save-On employees standing underneath my apartment, waving and (singing) Happy Birthday to me, and someone’s standing there with a bunch of balloons and flowers,” she said.

“They waved and said, ‘we love you, we miss you.’”

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Chandler doesn’t have any family in town, she said. 

Accustomed to living on her own, her spirits haven’t been dampened from the pandemic.

“I’ve been on my own for 22 years now and I’ve kind of got used to my own company… I don’t go out every day, but I do cross the road to do my shopping at Save-On,” she said. “I don’t rely on anybody other than myself. I think that’s the old English in me, if you can’t do it yourself, you can’t have it.”

Her theory behind her longevity is her attitude, to accept what you have and don’t worry about what you don’t, she said.

“I don’t expect more out of life than I get every day,” she said. “Every day when you wake up, it will bring you something new each day.”

Chandler was born in England, and worked as part of the Air Raid Precautions wardens during the Second World War.

“I think it’s amazing these people came over and started to sing Happy Birthday outside of my window… I’m very lucky that these people would bother,” she said.

Her friend George Johnson lives on the balcony above her and got to watch the scene unfold.

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“I’ve got an inkling she’s been a real favourite of all the staff and employees at Save-On,” he said. “The manager who was also in the group, took off his mask and blew her a kiss, it was priceless.”

Her visits to Save-On are special and everyone seems to know her, Johnson said.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, “Elsie has been almost reclusive which is totally out of character for her,” he said.

In the last three or four years, her birthdays have gained some media attention after Johnston offered her a glass of wine for her 98th and held a surprise party for her since she had outlived her other friends and family.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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