It wasn’t a surprise party but a shock-and-awe birthday party that tri-village community members threw for Shawn Weakliss, ticket-taker extraordinaire at the Lake Theatre, who has become a community celeb, aka “Mr. Weekend,” over the past 18 years, calling the girls “Supermodel” and the boys “Bodyguard” as he tears their tickets and joshing with every kid who enters. 

On Mother’s Day, he mentioned to BJ Richards, who was waiting in the lobby for her daughter to park the car, that his birthday was coming up on May 15 and that he had never really had a birthday party. 

Richards put out the call on social media and over 100 grandparents, parents and kids showed up on May 21 at Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor in Forest Park, packing the back room and letting out a resounding roar when Shawn arrived. 

Lake Theatre Manager Doug Clayton found a way to lure him to Brown Cow, which by happy coincidence, is located in a former movie theater on Madison Street. 

A candle-thick ice cream cake, “Happy Birthday” and “He’s a Jolly Good Fellow,” and myriad handmade cards, complemented the festivities. 

“Shocked” was how Shawn described his reaction. One of his presents was a $200 gift certificate to One Stop Comics, which should keep him buried in comic books until his next birthday.

Ken Trainor