A Surrey grandfather was brought to tears for his 63rd birthday, after his children and grandchildren surprised him by meeting across the Aldergrove-Lynden border on the road. (Harj Aulakh/Special to the Star)

VIDEO: Dual-citizen family surprises dad in Aldergrove with cross-border birthday bash

Shangara Sanghera hasn’t been able to see his American grandkids due to COVID-19 border closures

April held an emotional birthday for 63-year-old Surrey resident Shangara Sanghera.

Driving up to the edge of Southern Canada, in Aldergrove, and seeing each of his Canadian and American children and their kids rendered him with a face full of tears.

“It was a total surprise. He had no idea,” his eldest daughter Harj Aulakh, who lives in Lynden, Wash., elaborated.

Sanghera – known as “Baba” or grandfather to his grandchildren – had been convinced by his youngest daughter, Hardeep, to go for a birthday drive on April 8.

When they arrived on a stretch of Zero Avenue near East Boundary Road in Aldergrove, Sanghera was overwhelmed with the sight.

“The border may have divided us but it didn’t keep us apart,” Aulakh said.

[Story continues below video]

In Aldergrove, his son, daughter, and their families, celebrated Sanghera’s arrival with cheering and balloons.

In Lynden, Aulakh and her family, as well as Hardeep’s fiancée, held up a massive “Happy B-Day” sign stretching two car-lengths.

The family of 13 – separated by a ditch bordering two countries – sang the grandfather a birthday tune.

Each household made sure to social distance, Aulakh added.

The surprise was also kept from Kamaljit, Sanghera’s wife, to ensure the cross-border birthday bash would remain a secret.

READ MORE: Canada-U.S. border closing to non-essential travel

Separated by national boundaries, united by blood

As a grandfather, the impact of COVID has meant Sanghera has self-isolated, without seeing his four children and five grandkids.

“We knew he would be emotional because he’s having a hard time being away from his grandkids,” Aulakh said about the surprise.

Especially since daughter Aulakh, and her two children, live on the other side of the Canada-U.S. border in Lynden, Wash.

“We’re a family divided by the border right now,” Aulakh said, reconizing the federal government’s decision to close the border to non-essential travel was to curb COVID-19 spread.

Before the pandemic, the Sanghera family met at least once a week to visit.

But since mid-March, the U.S. side of the family has only crossed into Canada to attend a funeral.

The Sangheras first migrated from India in the early 1970s, and started a family in B.C.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Just Posted

Langley Lodge reports one new COVID-19 death, bringing total to 24

Death toll surpassed 22 on Wednesday, making that specific outbreak the deadliest in B.C.

IHIT names homicide victim found in the Fraser Canyon this week

Police asking for tips into the suspicious death of 29-year-old Alicia Berg

VIDEO: Langley Fundamental jazz band performs for local seniors every Thursday

Music group joined by graduates looking to celebrate and spread cheer in the community

LETTER: Walnut Grove man wants gun ban clarified before taking stance

A local letter writer looked into gun ban and came away more confused by the rules

Langley LETTER: Seniors forced to live in terrible rental units is a form of abuse

Local senior says he’s experienced abuse from landlords and is calling on politicians to take action

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Langley Advance Times to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

IHIT investigating ‘suspicious’ death of Surrey man

Officers found the body while on foot patrol: Surrey RCMP

Most Read