Miami woman marks 100th birthday with surprise visit from mayor

Unlikely pair met during Hurricane Irma relief efforts in September

By Nicole Perez - Reporter, Tim Swift - Digital Editor

MIAMI - Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez kept a very important promise on Monday when he visited Ursula Fortaleza at her home in Miami.

In honor of Fortaleza's recent 100th birthday, Gimenez surprised her with a plaque, balloons, a cake and even lit her birthday candles for her.

It was a such a surprise that she had no idea he was coming. She even said she wished she had known so that she could have worn a nicer dress.

Gimenez and Fortaleza met after Hurricane Irma in September.

Gimenez and other volunteers delivered ice to Fortaleza and her neighbors at Robert King High Towers in Miami. Hurricane Irma had knocked out power and shut down the elevators, so Gimenez and the other volunteers made door-to-door deliveries for the older residents.

Gimenez was so impressed with her positive outlook and active lifestyle that promised her then that he would back for her 100th birthday.

"For me, it was a blessing to have met her and to get her words of wisdom ... Maybe I'll get to live as long she does," Gimenez said.

During the visit, the mayor asked Fortaleza the secret to living this long and this well.

"To love everyone," Fortaleza said.

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