Dad bombarded with birthday messages after sons' billboard prank

A man had to change his phone number after being inundated with calls from total strangers wishing him a happy birthday.

Chris Ferry from New Jersey, US, is only celebrating his birthday on March 16 but thousands of messages have already arrived from strangers wishing him well.

This comes after his sons, Michael (28) and Christopher (30), thought it would be funny to put up a billboard with their father's face and phone number on it, Yahoo reports.

"Wish My Dad Happy Birthday," the billboard in Atlantic City urged passersby.

The siblings got the idea from a childhood prank they used play on their father in restaurants, according to The New York Times

"They'd always tell the waiter it's my birthday, even though it wasn't," Chris said.

"We thought it was going to be a local joke, people would call," Michael explained.

"I guess when we put it on social media, that's when it really started going crazy."

So far, insurance agent Chris has received more than 15 000 text messages and phone calls. He's also had numerous birthday messages on Facebook, the Sun Sentinel reports.

Chris was compelled to get a new cellphone number and leave a voicemail on his old phone thanking people.

"Thank you for calling to wish me a happy birthday, I really very much appreciate it," he said on voicemail.

Although Chris appreciates the strangers' kindness, he can't wait for the billboard to come down on April 6.

"I just wanted to say I love my dad, I love my family, and I'm really glad he's getting attention because he's a great guy," Michael said.

"He always puts others first, especially me and my brother."

Sources: Yahoo, NY Times, Sun Sentinel