Local father, son celebrate rare leap year birthdays

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LA MESA, Calif. -- A father and son from La Mesa who, against all odds, were both born on Feb. 29 are celebrating their leap year birthdays on Monday.

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Fred and Eric Shekoufeh

Fred Shekoufeh will celebrate his 60th year, but it will only be his 15th calendar birthday. His son Eric, who attends UCLA, will be 20, though it will only be his fifth calendar birthday.

“Everybody can have a birthday together on the same day...But when it comes to February 29, not too many people can make it to that one day,” Fred said.

He’s right. The chances of being born on Leap Day are one in 1,461. Even rarer are the odds of both a parent and their child being born on Leap Day – two million to one, in fact, according to Time.com.

“The doctor looked at me and she said, ‘I’m going to bring the baby out before midnight so that both of you have the same birthday,’” Fred said.

Eric and Fred Shekoufeh

Eric and Fred Shekoufeh

Fred says over the years, he’s had a lot of fun with the special birthday. But before he moved from Iran to the United States, he had no idea that it was unique or a novelty – that is, until he got a passport.

“They said, ‘We do not have the 29th in the computer. Do you want to be the 1st? Or do you want to be the 28th?’ I said, ‘I'll take the 28th,’” Fred said.

Eric, who will be five years old by the calendar when he celebrates his 21st birthday next year, has the tough decision of when to celebrate the major milestone.

Fred says the best birthday present he ever received was the birth of his two children.