Family and friends of Inez Barton and H-E-B employees in Harker Heights release 100 balloons into the air  April 25 in celebration of Barton’s 100th birthday.

Colorful balloons, a banner and cake sat at the entrance of H-E-B in Harker Heights on April 25 as store employees waited to surprise their honorary guest, Nolanville resident Inez Barton, on her 100th birthday.

The party preparations began at Christmas, when Barton, who shops at the store every Friday with her brother, told the visiting Santa Claus that she would turn 100 on April 25. In turn, Santa told store employees.

“Ms. Inez and her family were so excited to see Santa and Mrs. Claus,” said Sarah Carrera, H-E-B administrative assistant. “They told us she was about to turn 100, and one of our store directors promised her a birthday party.”

Inez did not act surprised when she walked into the store and saw employees and her family and friends gathered for the celebration. She remembered what she discussed with Santa last year, she said.

“I wasn’t expecting anything this big,” she said. “It’s so beautiful and it’s great.”

Attendees released 100 balloons into the air in front of the store during the celebration.

Carrera said customer birthday parties are not common for H-E-B, but Barton and her family really made an impression on store employees during their Christmas visit.

“H-E-B really cares about our community and customers, and we treat them like family,” she said.

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