Zachary Dowell didn’t have to skip cake and candles on his fifth birthday thanks to the kindness of strangers.

David Dowell was only expressing his frustration when he posted on a Keizer Facebook group that his son, Zachary, would have to forego cake and candles on his fifth birthday. He ended up calling down an angel. 

“What I was trying to do was express the frustration of all the parents who are going through this and the sacrifices the kids were having to make,” said Dowell. “I wasn’t really expecting anything to come of it.”

Dowell is having to take extra precaution because he suffered a heart attack almost a year ago. Doctors installed a pacemaker to help moderate his heartrate, but his body hasn’t acclimated well to the addition. 

The health problems cost him his job as a car salesman and then his family lost the home they were renting from his employer in St. Helens. Dowell’s brother offered him a home in Keizer as long as the family paid the associated bills. 

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with his health issues, he and his family are limiting their exposure as much as possible. The family planned to forego some of the festivities typically associated with a birthday for Zachary, but Keizerite Megan Ford saw Dowell’s post on the Keizer Community Bulletin Board and wasn’t going to let that happen. 

Megan Ford

“I have a son who just turned 5 on March 1, right before all the crazy happened. When I read that his 5-year-old wouldn’t even get a cake it tugged at my heart,” Ford said. 

Ford was at the store buying a cake, candles and ice cream in no time. 

Dowell wanted to pay Ford for the kindness of the gesture and messaged her about leaving money in a folder on the front porch or donating to a charity. But, when he opened the front door, the delivery had already been made. 

“I couldn’t imagine not being able to at least give my child a cake to celebrate. I was extremely happy to be able to help bring some joy during this time of uncertainty,” Ford said. 

Dowell said the outcome was beyond anything he might have expected.

“I felt like we’ve been blessed. We’ve been through hard times recently, but to have someone reach out and make sure our son had a birthday party … she was literally an angel sent to us,” Dowell said.