MOUNT POCONO, Pa. — A World War II veteran from the Poconos celebrated a very special birthday on Friday at his favorite breakfast spot.
It was a dreary walk into ShopRite in Mount Pocono for Robert McWilliams from Paradise Township.
But once inside, it was all sunshine and smiles.
“Hey, Shorty, they are going to put me on the news!”
Robert, or “Pop” as he’s known by people at the grocery store cafe, is now 95 years old. He’s sharp as a tack and always ready to give people a good laugh.
Robert was greeted to a special breakfast in honor of this milestone birthday and immediately wanted to share how he made it this far.
“You know what my secret is? Be happy. Keep smiling. No sense being sad. You can’t change nothing. What can you change,” said Robert “Pop” McWilliams.
Robert comes to ShopRite for breakfast almost every day with his son Brad.
Brad says he made a promise to take care of his parents in their old age. With “Pop” still around, he wanted to do something special for him.
“I made the decision when I retired that I would take care of both of them. (Mom) passed away, and now my job is to take care of him. It’s sometimes stressful I have to admit,” Brad said. “(It’s) never boring when he is around, that is for sure.”
Now besides being a character, “Pop” is also a World War II veteran and even at 95, he still remembers stories like it was yesterday — including one story where he was supposed to be guarding President Dwight Eisenhower’s plane.
“I snuck up in the woods, I had to go to the bathroom. There was no one around so I said, ‘oh, hell, I’ll sneak up into the woods.’ Guess who come along but the Sergeant of the Guard and I am not there guarding the plane,” said Robert McWilliams.
Some of Robert’s closest friends say he is one in a million.
Whether he is telling old war stories or just goofing off, he’s a guy you want to be around.
“He is amazing. So much knowledge. Hilarious. He kept it calm today. Impressive,” said Diane Oney, Paradise Township.
As for what’s next on Robert’s wild journey?
“I am going gambling. I hope to win a nickel. You never know. Hey Pinky! Yeah, buddy! I just try to have fun, honey. It’s the military secret. Be happy,” said Robert.
Happy Birthday, Robert! Here’s to 95 more years.