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Family breaks Thanksgiving tradition with Verizon Up

By: Megan Schaefer
Watch Video about Verizon Up & Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade

Jennifer Bernard was sitting in the backseat of her mother’s car, still buzzing from the excitement of her birthday celebration. She rang in her 29th birthday watching her favorite artist, Elton John, perform at the Cross Insurance Arena in her home state of Maine.

“My mom surprised me with tickets,” Jennifer says, noting that her mother, Deb, went above and beyond to make her day extra special. “It was an amazing show.”

But the high of the concert quickly faded when Jennifer began worrying about how she was going to repay her mom for such a thoughtful present. That’s when Jennifer received an email alert on her phone.

“On the way home from the concert, I saw that I had an email. So, I opened it,” she recants. The email contained a congratulatory message from Verizon confirming that Jennifer had scored two VIP tickets to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, which she got through the Verizon Up rewards program in the My Verizon app. “I couldn’t believe it,” she recalls, adding that it soon dawned on her that this was the opportunity she was looking for to thank her mom. “As soon as I found out I got the tickets, I said, ‘This is my shot to give back to my mom and give her the experience she deserves.’ My mom is everything to me.”

Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

Verizon Up member, Jennifer Bernard, shares what she sees at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

According to Jennifer, she had never gotten “something of this caliber” from a brand before.

“This was my first experience getting anything like this. It was surreal,” Jennifer, who has been using Verizon Up since the day it launched, says. She then notes that Verizon Up didn’t just give her a reward — it gave her the rare opportunity to share an experience of a lifetime with her mother.

“It was a lifelong dream of my mom’s to go to New York City,” she says, explaining that although both she and her mother are east coasters, they’ve never seen the Big Apple. “And not only did we get to go to New York but we had seats at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Talk about the trip of a lifetime!”Jennifer adds that this would be the first time in over 35 years that her parents would be spending Thanksgiving apart. But Jennifer’s father refused to let Deb pass up the opportunity for a trip like this for the sake of tradition. “My dad was like, ‘Nope. This is an experience of a lifetime. You have to go.”

So, they did.

Xmas treet float

Jennifer Bernard shows off her prime view at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

“When we got to New York, it was cold!” Jennifer sets the bone-chilling scene of the frigid New York morning. But the Verizon Up member wasn’t frozen for long. She notes that when she got to the Verizon VIP section of the parade on 59th and 6th street she was greeted with fleece blankets and warm smiles. “Everyone was so helpful.”

Jennifer explains she stayed warm as she watched the parade from her exclusive seats, revealing that she had a prime spot to take photos and videos with her Pixel 2. “The balloons and floats were so amazing — especially the Olaf balloon,” she calls out her favorite moments during the 91st annual parade. “I also liked the Macy’s singing Christmas tree. Absolutely amazing.”

Olaf float

Verizon Up member, Jennifer Bernard, gets up close and personal with Olaf from "Frozen."

Although this was Jennifer’s first time watching the parade live from New York, the Auburn resident explains she had once before seen the iconic event in real time — from her couch. “We actually watched the parade last year through Verizon’s 360-degree video,” she says, revealing that the immersive experience allowed her to catch the parade from any angle.

When asked if she would attend the parade again, Jennifer quickly responded that she would “totally” try for tickets again through Verizon Up for next year’s parade. “I know my daughter would love to go. Everyone should experience the parade at least once,” she adds.

But Jennifer isn’t going to wait until November 2018 to try and score something through Verizon Up. According to the music lover, she’s eyeing those Jingle Ball tickets. “Oh, man. I’d like to go to that!”

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About the author(s): 
Megan Schaefer has been creating content since she could get her hands on a computer. Now she’s turned her love for storytelling into a career. In 2017, Megan joined Verizon’s external communication team to continue her creative passion.
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