The Christmas spirit was alive and well in Florida this week, leading to an avalanche of heartwarming stories.
But don’t worry: This is Florida, so we still have plenty of the regular madness, too.
So join me now — won’t you? — on another action-packed…
Florida Man Friday!
We’ll begin as we always do with…
The Most Florida Man Story Ever (This Week/Christmas Spirit)
Well, Florida Man was certainly hearing angels on high:
The arrest occurred around 11:30 p.m. at 16 2nd Street North in downtown St. Petersburg, after police received a report from a witness. Officers said when they confronted Richard Ellis Spurrier, he said he was handing out marijuana “because it was Christmas.”
Police said Spurrier had 45 grams of marijuana on him and a hidden sword in his cane. He was arrested and faces a charge of possession of marijuana.
All that and a hidden-sword cane. Well played, Florida Man, well played.
Now That’s What I Call Giving
I don’t ask readers here for much, so let me ask you: You don’t have to give up a perfectly good organ that you’re still using, but have you signed your donor card?
It’s Begining to Look a Lot Like Christmas
Happy Holidays! We had some fun synchronizing our Patrol Car lights to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra song "Wizards In Winter."Chief Bernadette DiPino & the men and women of the Sarasota Police Department want to wish you a safe and peaceful holiday season. (Special thanks to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra & Adam Lind with NC Management for special permission to use this song, Wizards In Winter.)
Posted by Sarasota Police Department on Monday, December 16, 2019
Outstanding effort — don’t just skim past the video.
Two days late, I know, but this story didn’t pop up on my feed until after Christmas.
Florida Woman Walks the Thin Blue Line
HONORING OUR FALLEN OFFICERS: A Florida woman has made over 300 Christmas ornaments to honor fallen law enforcement officers from all over the country. 💙🎄
— FOX 35 Orlando (@fox35orlando) December 25, 2019
Caution: This item contains onion fumes, dust, and a high concentration of allergins known to affect the eyes, nose, and sinus passages.
And Even More Christmas Spirit
Baio wasn’t really looking forward to Christmas. She had just emptied her savings account to repair her car and was left with no money to buy gifts for her family, but a generous couple dining at Speggtacular on Christmas Eve couldn’t help but make Baio’s Christmas one she’ll never forget.
“It’s a Christmas miracle to me,” Baio said.
It takes Baio about six weeks to make $2,000 in tips. This Christmas Eve she made all of it in one night from one generous couple.
What a very merry Christmas this has been.
And Even More Christmas Spirit, Plus Baby Yoda
After nearly a dozen packages were mistakenly left at her door, this Florida woman took it upon herself to deliver each package and ensure it arrived before Christmas https://t.co/ilGOZ9UpEZ pic.twitter.com/kumNgOJUv8
— CNN (@CNN) December 26, 2019
— Craig Pittman (@craigtimes) December 26, 2019
— Florida Man (@FloridaMan__) December 26, 2019
We also have an update to last week’s story about the Florida Man who paid $4,600 worth of overdue utility bills so that no one in his county would have to spend Christmas in the dark.
ABC News reports:
Today, one week after the News Journal featured Esmond in a front-page story about his good deed, his simple act of kindness has reverberated across the globe and inspired hundreds, if not thousands, of others to follow in his footsteps.
“To say overwhelming, or anything like that, is an understatement,” Esmond told the News Journal while sitting at the dinner table in his Gulf Breeze home on Monday. “When you start getting messages from different countries all around the world, talking about how you’ve inspired them, it’s just mind-boggling to me.”
In about 11 months, I’ll tell you something wonderful my wife did this Christmas, maybe in time to inspire others to do something similar next holiday season.
In the meantime, let’s get back to Florida Man Friday with some less …inspired… stories.
Everyone But the Husband Saw This Coming
The details are just oh-so-Florida-Woman:
One day last month, a young woman walked into a Tampa Amscot branch and tried to cash a $1 million cashier’s check.
Lin Helena Halfon, 26, told employees there that she was going to use the money to buy a yacht in Miami with her husband, 77-year-old Tampa businessman Richard Rappaport, court records show. Rappaport’s name was also on the check and because he wasn’t there, Amscot employees refused to cash it or three other checks Halfon brought in later that day.
The eyebrow-raising attempts sparked a criminal investigation that resulted in Halfon’s arrest last week on charges of money laundering, organized fraud and exploitation of an elderly person.
Can you imagine trying to cash a million-dollar check — even if it were a good one — at a payday loan place?
I Did Not See This One Coming
It is with complete sincerity that I tell you this might be the most evocative story of our times.
Other than that, I got nothin’.
News Brief: Only in Florida
• Florida woman crashes through Baton Rouge assisted-living home after break-up. (Breaking up is easy to do; it’s the cleanup that’s hard.)
And now, back to our regularly scheduled news.
Range Safety, What Is It?
You might not be surprised to learn that as a convicted felon, Florida Man wasn’t supposed to possess a gun, or the wallet containing four credit cards and an ID that weren’t his.
Now That’s a Dirty Cop
Officer Adrian Jesus Valle of the Miami Police Department (MPD) was arrested for a DUI at 8 a.m. yesterday after other officers say they watched him leave a strip club in a white Dodge Charger. The report says Valle blew through a red light, needlessly turned on his police emergency lights, and refused to take a Breathalyzer test once stopped.
All this happened on a Thursday night, too. Makes you wonder what Valle gets up to on the weekends.
He Sees You When You’re Fighting on the Highway They Closed for You…
— Florida Man (@FloridaMan__) December 25, 2019
From the Twitter replies: “So is there new king of Florida? Forgive my ignorance but this is how I assume Florida elects a new king.”
That’s correct, yes.
Meanwhile, in Colorado…
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good heist.