I’ll be the first one to admit it – I hate people!

I have no patience for dumb people, slow people, people with a ton of questions, people who have an attitude, etc. Basically, it’s anyone in that group of unnamed individuals that offer even the mildest of irritations. I’m sure that you have gathered, from reading my posts on here over, that I don’t have tolerance for any of it.

Also, in case you haven’t noticed over the last few years it has become pretty much awful to deal with people online. It isn’t hard to lose your faith in people. Seeing the constant arguing, the horrible things happening in the world, and the downright loss of humanity that some display can be disheartening.

Despite all of this, much like The Grinch to the Who’s living in Whoville on Christmas morning, I have grown a little bit softer this year. Mainly because I have had the pleasure of seeing the good in people more than once.

Don’t get me wrong – I agree with all of the meme that overall 2019 was a dumpster fire. However, with Christmas so close, I thought I would share some of these bright spots and hope that it will also help restore your faith in humanity – because let’s be honest, most days it feels like we are going to hell in a hand basket.

Example 1: Birthdaypalooza Signatures

Are you tired of hearing about my birthday yet?

I still can’t quite believe that I was able to fully shut down a city block for my own personal party. It was all due to the residents on my block who agreed to sign my application. For the application to be approved, I needed to have 90% of those who lived on my block sign the application.

Out of the 33 people, 30 of my neighbors agreed without much persuasion. In fact, one neighbor even helped me get a few of the other neighbors that she knew by explaining what I was doing and telling them to get in contact with me and sign. Only one person didn’t sign – and apparently it was due to some neighborly drama. I was torn, because I kind of wanted to know the gossip but also didn’t want to get involved with any drama.

But honestly, my neighbors didn’t need to sign the application. They weren’t going to be invited and there was nothing in it for them. If anything, it was going to inconvenience them because they were going to have to move their cars and not be able to get down the block on a Saturday night. Funny enough, for two weeks after the fact, I heard neighbors who lived just off of the block complaining about the party and asking each other if the party was even done legally. They were shocked when I actually stopped to present them some fast facts.

SEPTA, who everyone in Philadelphia LOVES to complain about, was actually was pretty helpful too. Let me clarify, one woman was. The first one I spoke to lectured me and wasn’t helpful. My girl Jennifer went above and beyond the call of duty on the day of the party to help re-route the bus that drives up my street.

And yes, there was a group of girls who invited themselves to the party and helped themselves to some food. I might not be great at math, but 30 helpful neighbors and one helpful SEPTA employee vs. a trio of party crashers and two or three whiny, butt hurt white guys is a pretty good average.

Example 2: Birthday Video

I swear this birthday story isn’t about my own!

When it comes to birthdays, however, I feel that everyone is entitled to having a special day that is all about them (unless you are a twin, then you’re shit out of luck and have to share a special day). My friend’s birthday this year fell on the day before Thanksgiving.

So, I wanted to do something extra for him.

We tend to text after work about the local news. One day, these texts gave me an idea – what if I could get the anchors and reporters to make videos for him. Then I would send the videos sporadically throughout the day and surprise him.

Now, I had connections with some of the newscasters from high school, co-workers, and through friends. So, I reached out to them first. That took care of about three people. It also helped having their videos to show to other people, in case I was able to come across the news van. Last thing I wanted to do was make them think I was some kind of weirdo.

Of course, my office is directly across from the police headquarters, which makes the chances of seeing the news van much higher. So, for more than two months leading up to his birthday, I would check out the window of my office building to see if the van was parked outside. It got to the point that even my co-workers started to check for the van when they were leaving the office.

I didn’t know what to expect from the videos, but all of the anchors and reporters got super into it. One of them, Annie McCormick, actually also helped to get a video of my friend’s favorite reporter. We ended up with eight videos to send him. Everyone pitched in and he loved the videos. I also compiled all the videos into a single video to end the day. Here’s the video

Example 3: Family Illness

Earlier this year my father was diagnosed with CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia). It’s a form of cancer that impairs your immune system, but you just kind of live with it until it reaches a certain point where they will start treating the disease with blood transfusions. At least that is kind of how I have had it explained to me.

I haven’t told many people about the diagnosis because – well, partly it makes it more real to talk about it, and also I don’t really know what to say. My father says he is feeling fine and is seeing the doctors and this type of cancer has an 83% survival rate five years after diagnosis.

However, the few who I have told have been supportive. When a parent or loved one is sick, it can be awkward to talk about and many people simply don’t know what to say. But having people take the time to ask how he is doing and how I am doing has meant a lot over the last year.

As you celebrate the holidays this year – Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Solstice, or even Festivus – feel a little more jolly knowing that there are people out there still working to make the world a better place. The best part about it? To them, it’s probably not even work; it’s just how they live their lives. Because it’s just how they are, they get overshadowed by the trolls and deplorables. We just have to work a little harder to shine a light on their brightness.

Padraic Maroney hails from upstate New York, suffering from middle child syndrome.  His writing career began after moving to the Philadelphia suburbs while in high school. He wrote for The Bucks County Courier Times’ Reality section, written by local teenagers, and has the distinction of writing a weekly gossip column for a college newspaper at a school he didn’t even attend! His love of pop culture led him to intern at Teen People, where he met Janis Gaudelli, and realized he could turn being a millennial into a career. Since then he’s alternated between writing and marketing, but always focused on Millennials and everything they bring to the table. Padraic is a lover of shenanigans, 80s music, and the movie “Scream.”

You can follow his additional adventures on Instagram: @padraicjacob

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