GREENSBORO — Peggy Kline has always been ahead of the times. She got her driver’s license when she was 4 years old and retired before she turned 18.
That is, if you only count the birthdays she celebrated on leap year. Kline, who lives in Summerfield, was born on Feb. 29, which doesn’t “stop the aging,” she said. She is 72 years old, counting the years she celebrated her birthday on Feb. 28 or March 1.
But Kline doesn’t like to count those years — even though she retired from working at a certified public accountant’s office. She said it’s “good humor” to tell someone her birthday in leap years.
Leap year is an extra day added on the calendar that comes about every four years. Kline said it’s easy to remember because it usually comes every election cycle. The chance of somebody being born on a leap day is said to be 1 in 1,461.
Kline said she doesn’t mind having something that makes her stand out. And while she hasn’t run across any other “leapers” over the years, there are plenty of them.
Daniel Rankin of Jamestown is a 7-year-old pilot. Well, no, that’s not right. He has celebrated his real birthday only seven times. He is actually 28.
Rankin is friends with a couple of other “leaplings” and stays in touch with them.
“When you meet somebody else with that birthday you automatically like them,” he said.
His father’s best friend is also a leaper. He is seven leap years older (or 28 years older to the rest of us). They never forget to call each other on leap year and wish each other a happy birthday.
“It’s like a club that you’re in but you don’t have to be accepted to,” Rankin said.
Gibsonville resident Rebecca Foley is celebrating a milestone birthday this year — her 13th (or 52nd). She said she is excited to celebrate what she calls her “true birthday.”
Foley wanted her birthday to be extra special growing up but felt like she had to wait four years.
But just because the leapers didn’t get to celebrate on their “real” birthday every year doesn’t mean they can’t make up for it. This year, they can get a special treat at Olive Garden, which is offering leapers four free desserts.
Foley grew up in New Zealand and moved to the United States in 1997. As she got older, she made excuses about not celebrating her birthday when it wasn’t her “true birthday.”
But this year, Foley has no excuse. She is taking a vacation and going to the beach this weekend to celebrate.
“When it does come around,” she said of her leap year birthday, “it’s really special.”