Friends and family sneakily stroll into veterans lunch, surprising 96-year-old with cake on his birthday

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MISSION, Kan. -- It looked like any other Friday at the Village Inn restaurant on Broadmoor Street.

Floyd Mock, 96, always gathers with fellow veterans for lunch on Fridays, but he didn't expect the birthday surprise his loved ones had in store for him.

Mock's friends and family sneaked up behind his crowded lunch table en masse, carrying a large birthday cake and singing "Happy Birthday" as they strolled into the scene. Some of them came from as far away as Oklahoma, surprising Mock with cake, gifts and their admiration.

"There's neighbors and friends and everybody," Mock said on Friday. "It leaves me speechless."

"I was looking around for just one person, and there were a bunch of them."

Mock's nine-and-a-half decades have taken him around the world. The Kansas City, Kansas native served on the European front of World War II, reaching the rank of mess sargeant in the United States Army. Mock also raised two sons, and worked in the railroad industry for many years.

The people who love Mock the most, including his faithful caretaker, Joyce Foreman-Odem saus they couldn't let the occasion pass without a party.

"He's good," Foreman-Odem said, describing Mock's physical health. "He's in better shape than I am."

"I lost my father last year, and my mother the year before that. I said, 'Well, since I no longer have my dad or my mom, Mr. Floyd is my dad.'"

Mock's crowded lunch table was filled with well-wishers. His birthday cake and party decorations were dressed in patriotic hues of red, white and blue, paying respect to Mock's military service and his love of country. Mock, who grew up in KCK's Argentine neighborhood, says he's one of 10 children his parents raised.

"He's modest about what he's done," Gary Swanson, Mock's longtime friend, said. "He's very helpful to everybody else. He's a warm gracious man."

"Life has been good to me," Mock said. "That's all of my life."

When asked about the secret to his longevity, Mock said being honest with others is a key to happiness. He can honestly say he was surprised by this birthday gathering in his honor.

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