We can all admit it: while coronavirus lockdowns might be necessary, they’re no fun! Its incredibly boring and, even worse, it can negatively affect our mental health. Recently, one worker from Disney World simply could not stand it anymore. So he started delivering smiles on his bike – all while staying safe himself!
One By One
Billy Flanigan has worked at Walt Disney World for nearly 40 years, as of 2020. Unfortunately, due to coronavirus, Flanigan found himself out of work as a singer and dancer at the park. Even now, with Disney World back open with limited capacity, entertainer schedules are severely impacted. During the lockdown, Flanigan decided to check in on one of his favorite coworkers, Hannah Laird. So, the Disney castmate rode his bike over to his friends’ house.
When Flanigan checked in on her, just to make sure she had been fairing alright, Laird felt incredibly touched. “He stood on the sidewalk, and I sat on my stoop, and we chatted for a while,” she wrote on Facebook. “When he left, I burst into tears. I hadn’t seen my friends or castmates in weeks, and it was amazing to have a face-to-face interaction with someone (safely distanced, lol!).”
Given Laird’s response, Flanigan felt inspired to visit and check in on his other friends, neighbors, and coworkers, one by one…
Inspired by how much the act meant to his friend, Flanigan has been hand-delivering smiles door-to-door! Since lockdown, he has cycling and checking in on each of his neighbors and friends, hitting each at least once a month. “This is my way to be social and be safe at the same time,” Flanigan explained. “I ding-dong the doorbell, back up, and do my song and dance.”
Even when they live far away, Flanigan does not mind. The Disney World employee loves cycling! He uses the trips as a chance to ride his favorite roads and also discover new ones. So, not only does Flanigan keep his friends happy, he keeps himself fit – what a win-win!
Flanigan recently estimated that he’s met around 265 people so far and cycled more than 3,000 miles. Even more impressive, the entertainer writes personalized songs for each of his neighbors! “He’s just the perfect example of how a little act of kindness can go a long way,” says his friend and neighbor, Becky Roper. Meanwhile, his driveway performances, now called “Flanigrams,” have been become a hit online as well!
“Brighten Someone’s Day”
These days, people look forward to their Flanigrams all month long. Admittedly, not all of them have gone perfectly, like when he visited one female coworker. “I have had a husband answer the door and say, ‘She’s just gotten out of the shower…'” Flanigan recalled to the Orlando Sentinel with a laugh. Thankfully, nearly all of the Flanigrams have gone off without a hitch. When Flanigan started posting the encounters on his Instagram, his popularity really shot through the roof!
However, Flanigan’s friends weren’t the ones getting surprised – they decided to strike back! They prepared a party for their coworker by creating a socially distanced car parade to mark his 60th birthday. “I have never had a true surprise, and they pulled it off,” said Flanigan. Still, while the Disney World worker appreciates that everyone loves his performances, he does not quite understand it. “It’s just a short visit, a little song, it’s silly,” Flanigan said. “But I love to make people smile. If I can brighten someone’s day, I want to do it.”