Pillar Point man brightens days with birthday wishes

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 8:07 AM EDT
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PILLAR POINT, N.Y. (WWNY) - Over the years, one Pillar Point man has granted thousands of birthday wishes.

“People going to work in the morning come they stop at that sign, they go very slow around the corner because they are reading the birthdays,” John Mossing said.

It’s hard to miss as you drive onto Pillar Point. There’s a painted “welcome sign” on County Route 59, but if you look closer, you’ll see the words “happy birthday” and names of Pillar Point residents.

“I guess I’m old fashioned,” Mossing said. “Ladies before gentlemen. That’s why the red’s always first.”

For more than a decade, Mossing would come out to this birthday sign bright and early to hang hand-painted name plates he made from scratch.

“They would stop in the morning as I was putting them up and they’d say ‘thanks, I appreciate that!’”

Since 2003, Mossing says he’s painted about 2,000 signs. His inspiration: decades as a Gouverneur gym teacher

“At the elementary school I taught in, we put up a birthday poster for every kid and every teacher in the school,” he said.

The first sign Mossing hung was for his grandson, Lee Bauter, who ended up building what the birthday sign is now.

Mossing never charges any money. Anyone who wants one, gets one.

Bauter looks up to his grandpa for that.

“Trying to do what’s right and leave your own little corner of the world better than you found it,” Bauter said.

Mossing doesn’t get around as well as he used to, so after he makes the signs, son-in-law Stacy Bauter puts them up.

“If you see somebody’s name up and you didn’t know it was their birthday, you’ll give them a call, wish them a happy birthday, or beep your horn when you go by or something like that,” Mossing said.

It’s something to make everyone’s special day a little more special.

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