Proud mother rents billboard in New Jersey after daughter becomes doctor

Kendra Busbee got a deal on the billboard -- about $1,250 for the space -- but she says its effect is priceless.

ByTaRhonda Thomas via KGO logo
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
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Kristen Smalls' face and her accomplishments are visible to everyone traveling along Route 130. It's all thanks to her very proud mother.

CAMDEN, New Jersey -- A New Jersey mother is so proud of her daughter's accomplishments that she decided to let the whole city of Camden know about it.

When Kendra Busbee's daughter, Kristine Smalls, received her doctorate in psychology from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine on July 29, it was a full circle moment.

"At the age of 5 years old, she knew that she wanted to be a doctor," Busbee said.

That's why she knew she had to celebrate big.

The moment started in the parking lot of The Pub in Pennsauken.

"She thought I was surprising her with a COVID party in the parking lot," Busbee said.

Then, Smalls noticed the giant billboard.

Her face and her accomplishments are now visible to everyone traveling along Route 130, just south of Airport Circle, near Camden.

"From what I hear, it's about 15,000 cars that drive by here Monday to Friday," Busbee said.

The proud mother rented the billboard for $1,250, but she says its message is priceless.

"We once heard that nothing good comes out of the city of Camden, and we just wanted to let them know this is something good that comes out of the city of Camden," Busbee said.

That's especially meaningful for children, they say.

"The kids there don't really know what's outside of Camden," Smalls said. "Seeing somebody on a billboard becoming a doctor, it is possible."

Kristen Smalls

It's a message that even caught the eye of Mayor Victor Carstarphen.

"So many positive things going on in our city, and this is another big positive," he said.

There's just one more person Busbee hopes her viral billboard post will reach.

"Can we get Beyonce?" she asked with a laugh.

The new "Dr. Smalls" already has a job in Springfield, Pennsylvania, but her goal is to give back to Camden.

"My ultimate goal in life is to come back to Camden and create a resource center," she said.

And when she does, Busbee just might have to book another billboard for her new favorite doctor.