Alfred Birch, a 97-year-old from Massachusetts, was in the hospital when his granddaughter Julia Geswell asked if she could take a picture of him for Facebook.
While he wasn't completely sure was Facebook was, he agreed to hold up a sign that read: "My daughter does not think I can get 98 likes for being 98 years old. Can we prove her wrong?"
Within hours, the post surpassed its original goal of 98 likes.
And within days, the post had thousands of likes, and people as far as Russia and Peru were sending Birch their birthday wishes.
The post now has more than 22,000 likes, and one stranger even photoshopped Birch's head to an image of an astronaut, noticing that he used to work with NASA.
A commenter created an image of Alfred Birch as an astronaut, celebrating his work with NASA. (Courtesy of Julia Geswell)
"[My grandfather] knows what the internet is, so I explained to him that I put it on social media and people are sharing it with other people," Julia Geswell told InsideEdition.com. She said her grandfather "loves seeing all the happiness on Facebook."
She explained that he had been rushed to the hospital days before the photo was taken for congestive heart failure. Geswell said that after the scare, she and her mom wanted to spend more time celebrating his life, which prompted them to post the photo.
The image was posted online on March 6, in anticipation for his 98th birthday on March 28.
Geswell said she is close to her grandfather who, for the past 15 years, has lived with her and her mom. He sits across Geswell at the dinner table, and his bedroom is right across the hall.
As a birthday present for her grandfather, she has begun preparing a binder filled with all the birthday wishes from people around the world.