Some people are beacons of light in this world. They’re kind, funny, sweet, and selfless — there aren’t many out there who make it their job to make others happy, but there are some.
It’s even more impressive when the individuals who have made kindness their life’s work come from difficult backgrounds or have experienced the darker sides of society.
Todd Kirnan is one of those people. Diagnosed with autism shortly after birth, Todd experienced foster care and abusive treatment. Despite his rough start, by high school people were noticing that he was unapologetically nice.
According to the city of Gresham’s website, Todd was even dubbed “Mr. Gresham” during his teen years after his charitable nature was recognized.
“If you live in Gresham, odds are high that you’ve met Todd. He is a great example of Gresham’s amazing community spirit,” Mayor Shane Bemis said, according to the city website. “We love Todd Kirnan, and we love what Todd Kirnan says about who Gresham is as a community.”
He’s a staple downtown, where he goes about his workday making deliveries and completing odd jobs for the business owners. This includes things like coffee runs, delivering mail, and other mundane tasks that many people avoid.
He gets tips, of course, but he goes above and beyond with his happy demeanor and can-do attitude.
He’s always ready with a smile, a greeting and a hug for anyone he meets. “I like helping people, you know, making people happy, making people smile,” Kirnan said, according to CBS.
The city decided to pull together to do something special for Kirnan, and to recognize his contributions to their community with more than a nickname.
They knew he loved old TV shows, and were certain he’d be thrilled by a big celebration with all the people he’d grown to know and love in the city, so they came together with several surprises, including a ride in an old batmobile, a parade, and a statue.
The Gresham Facebook Page posted a photo of the beaming Kirnan with his bronze likeness, along with a detailed rundown of the big day.
“Todd Kirnan, the city’s beloved Mr. Gresham, basked in the love of his community today — in addition to receiving local and national media attention — as he was honored with a parade and a bronze statue recognizing the good cheer and kindness that he spreads every day in his role as deliveryman, helper and general goodwill ambassador for historic downtown,” the post read.
“The nonprofit Gresham Outdoor Public Art brought the statue by artist Heather Söderberg-Greene to downtown with support from community donations.”
“A street party followed the unveiling, featuring selfies with Todd and the batmobile he rode in the parade, a flashmob dance, and ’80s music — Todd’s favorite.”
“This photo of Todd was taken moments after the unveiling. Thank you, Todd, for everything you do for Gresham and for making your community incredibly proud!”
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