Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

On Patient's 100th, Party Thrown by Her Doctor; Rosa Benjamin Thrilled by Surprise 'Appointment'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

On Patient's 100th, Party Thrown by Her Doctor; Rosa Benjamin Thrilled by Surprise 'Appointment'

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHN CARTER

When the good doctor's oldest patient turned 100 last week, he knew there was only one thing to do.

"I figured if that old girl has been in this world 100 years, I just have to hook her up," said family physician Bob Brown, chuckling. "I wanted to make sure she and her family had a surprise party they will never forget."

He did and they won't.

Brown, who practices at Soutel Drive and Moncrief Road, told Rosa Benjamin of the Northside he needed to see her and apologized for making her appointment on her birthday, and made sure her appointment was the last of his morning session.

(He admits that the "surprise" element of the party may have lost a little steam when he arranged to have a limo pick her and her family up for the "appointment." )

After a cursory medical exam, he escorted her to another room for a birthday lunch provided by Popeyes Chicken, Benjamin's favorite place for spicy wings.

After lunch, Brown escorted her to Winn-Dixie across the street -- a store Brown was instrumental in getting built in the community -- where store director Bob Beck, Winn-Dixie district manager Matt Briller and other store staffers were waiting with a birthday cake. That, her family said, genuinely surprised her.

The guest of honor made her way across the store, with the help of a walker, and everyone sang Happy Birthday and offered a congratulatory Pepsi toast (Benjamin's favorite drink). Then the birthday girl (with a little help from her 78-year-old son) blew out the candles as her daughters dabbed tears from their eyes.

"It was beautiful," said Maxine Gordon, the 70-year-old daughter who lives with her in the Sherwood Forest area. "Dr. Brown did the most amazing thing for my mama. She was so excited. She kept looking in the bags of groceries Winn-Dixie gave her and saying, 'Is this for me?' She was overwhelmed."

Born July 5, 1905, Benjamin is originally from Tifton, Ga., and has lived in northwest Jacksonville the past 38 years. She has been a patient of Brown's for 15 years. …

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