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Local man celebrates 96th birthday by going 100 MPH

96-year-old celebrates his birthday goin

THERMAL, Calif.- - A Palm Desert man celebrated his 96th birthday by going fast.

When John McDonald turned 90, he made a bucket list, a list of items he's never done that he hoped to one day do.

One of the items on that list was driving a car over 90 miles an hour. Management at the Fountains at the Carlotta, the community where McDonald lives, heard about his goal and helped make it come true. They set up a day for McDonald to go to the BMW Performance Center in Thermal to take a ride around the track.

"It felt like I was flying, on the ground but flying. The turns came up so quick. They were in and out of them before I knew they were in and out of them," McDonald said.

After today, McDonald can finally scratch this wish off the list.

"It feels absolutely amazing to see the joy on his face being able to check off a wish list item. I am truly honored to be a part of it," said Molly Quigley, sales director at the Fountains at the Carlotta.

Bryan Randall, a performance driving instructor at the center, told News Channel 3 it's rare to have someone of age, let along someone of McDonald's age, come around the track.

"That was absolutely incredible. We don't of older people here in the school, maybe 60 or 70 occasionally. Someone that's pushing a century is something unusual. So, for sure it was exciting for us at the school and for me in particular to be a part of somebody's life-long bucket list is pretty amazing," Randall said.

Randall said McDonald was surprised by the speed.

"When he (McDonald) started driving cars, they did not go to 100 as quick as they do now, right, so he was kind of shocked at how fast it happened. Once it did, he was pretty excited about it, yeah, fist bumping and yelling," Randall said.

McDonald says he had a great time going fast.

"I thought, 'Well this is gonna be fun.' It was a fantastic experience," McDonald said.

Other items McDonald has scratched off includes parasailing, skydiving, and swimming over a mile in open water in an Idaho lake. McDonald said he is far from finished from scratching of the bucket list. He will always live by his motto, "Decide what you'd like to do and then do it while you can."


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