So What’s Up In the World…Don’t Say COVID

Olivia Rencher

Yes, it’s true. COVID-19 has taken over our 2020 resolutions. The best possible news I could share or emphasize is that the year of 2020 is coming to a close. The New Year will start to roll in, hopefully bringing in relief, joy, the simple idea of human interaction. In contrast to the pandemic that forced us to reach for that “out-of-the-box” ideas last March. But I’m not going to waste your time with more news on COVID-19. That’s tired, it’s worn out, it’s old. Instead I’m instead choosing to look into a more positive light. A time of year we all have been anticipating. Could this Christmas save 2020? You will have to find out. So find that comfy corner, grab a cup of chocolate, tuck under that blanket that you found with hours of online shopping. Allow me to take you on a festive train ride on nine other than the polar express. Allow me to bring the experience to your living room. 

 The air is cool and crisp, bringing a rosy pigment to your cheeks. You have plunged your hands into your pockets, attempting to lock in that warmth stored inside your winter coats. You are surrounded by your family, excited for the trip you are soon to endure. The whistle breaks the bliss holiday banter among the red leather seats located in your cart. We are off. The tracks are clamping against the steel rails performing a rhythm that is carried throughout our quest. An abrupt halt lands your sibling on the floor as he is thrown off his seat. We have arrived at our first stop. Throughout quarantine, humans have engaged in many unexpected activities to keep their minds busy. Weird weight loss plans, new recipes, crafts, board games. One app has taken the teenage world by storm, making its come back from its former downfall known as “music-ly.” Tiktok has served as entertainment, an advertisement, a place to put yourself out there. To become “TIK TOK FAMOUS.” Referencing to a video posted on this site that has gone viral in these past weeks demonstrating that kind of holiday cheer. As it now stands at a

compelling 5.7 million views, it has also changed the life of one Adam Shrager, a 54 year statistics teacher. The video begins, showing Mr. Shrager, surprised to find that on his zoom seminar, everyone’s camera was turned off. “Usually, in this class, solidly 90% of the students keep their cameras on the entire class. Sometimes they even send me a note apologizing that they will keep their camera off during a particular class for one reason or another,” Mr. Shrager reports to USA Today. With one student’s utter voice, they all began to turn their cameras on in unison. The students are holding up signs thanking their teacher for what he has done and how he has imprinted on these kids even when disconnected from the physical classroom. The signs reading, “Thank You,” “You Are An Amazing Professor,” bringing the teacher to tears. “He consistently asked us about our mental health, our family members, and furry friends while introducing his own pets to us,” reports one of his students. At least I’m thrilled to report that these students have made one teacher’s year worth while. 

 To continue on the train of good news, our next stop resides in our very own home state. The twin doors close, the whistle chimes it’s voice for a second time and we resume our train ride adventure. We arrive at a fast food restaurant. A Dairy Queen in Brainerd received over $10,000 through the daily, “lunch rush,” but how they achieved such a high sale may surprise you. After one car decided to pay it forward on December 10, it resulted in that same kindness continuing for over 900 cars in counting. “In the past I’ve seen pay-it-forward chains last for 15 to 20 cars, but nothing like this, an employee remarks. It is especially heartwarming to hear as restaurants and chains have been hit hard when shut down last immediately in March. It goes to show what can happen when we come together as a whole. “Many hands make small work.”  The conductor waves his hands shielded with a white glove. The energy is triumphant as we stumble in the transparent doors. Suddenly, when all have reached their seats, the cool air is

interrupted, locked outside with the slam of the train doors. We are concealed by the heat flowing through the vents. To end on a high note our final stop revolves around a kind hearted bus driver that changes her instructed route, so a woman is able to visit her mother at a nursing home. On December 16, the Good News Network reports, Jaqueline Mason was on the way to visit her mother. As visits are limited under new protocol, this trip has been long awaited. Unfortunately, her visit was put on hold when she realized that she had put herself on a bus going in the wrong direction. Mason immediately was in tears as her mistake had cost her such a vital and rare opportunity. The bus driver, Alex Bailey, saw her distress and came to her aid. “When the woman said to me she hadn’t seen her mum in a long time, it just hit my heart,” Bailey explains. With no hesitation Bailey agreed to take an unexpected detour giving Mason that time with her mother. Heroes don’t always wear capes. These random acts of kindness can set an example that one alone can make a difference. As with all good things they must eventually come to an end. Our conductor signals for “last call,” the families slowly make their way back to their seats. The whistle blows for this third and final time. You are watching the windows, the snow is dancing through the dark, obsidian atmosphere, the Christmas lights greet your eyes as you whisk by with such exhilarating speed. The outside world begins to move slower, the train doors open. You have arrived home. You are home. You have worked for these past three weeks. The final effort of your 2020 career. It is now your time to sit back, to relax. To admire your achievements and learn from your mistakes. 

 I’m personally wishing you all a Merry Christmas and hoping you are able to reconnect with some of your family and friends this holiday. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay happy.