WWII vet celebrates 94th birthday at his favorite restaurant

Tuesday, August 20, 2019,
News 12 at 6 O'Clock/NBC at 7

James Cunningham, known as Mr. C, is a staple at the Flowers Café in New Ellenton. (Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- A World War II veteran from New Ellenton celebrated his 94th birthday Tuesday. The celebration was held at Flowers Cafe -- a place he goes every single day.

So, how does he get there? He drives his lawnmower.

“I just like these people right here,” James Cunningham said.

Cunningham, known as Mr. C, is a staple at the café.

“People even say that's Mr. C's table. Is it time for him?” Paulette Flowers, the café owner, said. “They won't sit there if they know it's time for him. He comes every day at 12:30 p.m."

Each day he rides his lawn mower to the cafe -- as long as it’s not raining -- and eats the same meal every time.

“Salad every day,” Cunningham said. “It’s good for me.”

It’s been his routine for nearly 6 years now.

“For three hours here we all take turns talking with him, learning stuff, and letting him talk about his past and stuff,” Flowers said.

To show Mr. C just how much he means to the café, they threw him a 94th birthday party. Although he thinks he's 95. That's because many years ago, he lied about his age to defend our country and serve with his brother.

“They both wanted to serve that bad,” Flowers said. “They wanted to serve their country that bad. The minute their mother told them about Pearl Harbor they're like, we're gone.”

Not only did Mr. C serve in World War II, he was one of the first people to work at Savannah River Site during the Cold War. Today, he was recognized for both.

“If we don't pay attention to our heroes and to our past, shame on us,” South Carolina Rep. Bill Taylor, who came to the party, said.

If you ask Mr. C how he's lived so long, he'll give you a funny answer.

“I don't know,” Cunningham said. “Just meanness, I guess.”

But Flowers isn’t buying that.

“He will always tell you meanness,” Flowers said. “But I think it is people. I think he feeds off people. He loves people -- especially females."

Mr. C may be 94, but in the last 6 years, he's only missed three days at the café. Flowers says he’s the heart of it.

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