Diane the turtle has turned 50!
She wore a tiny party hat and watched as her New Hampshire community celebrated the milestone. Her owners, twin brothers Jim and Brad Tonner, threw the party at their store, TwinDesigns Gift Shop.
Diane’s story begins back in 1968, when Jim was a bedridden 12-year-old as he battled arthritis. His friends and family did what they could to cheer him up, using a little basket tied to a string to send things up to him on the second floor of their home, where he was recovering.
"One day I pull up the basket," Jim told InsideEdition.com, "it's this little tiny green turtle in the basket, and it's Diane.”
The little gift changed his life.
Diane has been by Jim's side ever since and is quite popular. She has appeared in newspapers and has attracted visitors far and wide, from ages 2 to 102.
"People come from all over and they bring their parrots and their dogs and cats. She has friends from — you name the country,” Jim said.
The brothers even wrote a pair of books about her and have a livestream of her tank on the website DianeTheTurtle.com.
At 50 and fabulous, she has already outlived the average life expectancy of many common types of pet turtles. Diane is a cooter turtle, which has a life expectancy of 40 years.
The secret to Diane’s longevity? Homegrown romaine lettuce and strawberries, said Jim.
"She loves strawberries," he confessed. "She comes over the side of the tank and kids bring her strawberries and it's wonderful."
But who exactly gave Jim this lifelong friend?
"We'll never know who did it," he said. "It was a surprise. That generation is all gone now. It was an act of kindness that probably cost 25 cents and it spread to thousands of people over 50 years.
"You never know what your little act of kindness can do."