The winter wind stings. But it also stings to spend the season cooped up inside the house all day, which was what many were confronted with during last week’s severe winter weather. One dad named John Wolfe decided to give the finger to frostbite and bring some joy to his neighborhood by setting up a hot-taco and lemonade stand, pushing a snowblower in a halloween mask, and eating dinner dressed as a shirtless Santa Claus in his Albany, New York home.
Pictures of John Wolfe manning the stand and otherwise enjoying himself outside — often shirtless or clad only on a tanktop and shorts —are going viral after last week’s “bomb cyclone” dropped up to 16 inches of snow along with record-low temperatures in some parts of his state. When Wolfe decided he needed to start making his own fun, his daughter Mallory snapped photos and they quickly hit big on Reddit.
Wolfe told Buzzfeed that while he very much enjoys the laughs and the perplexed but entertained looks his outdoor antics leave on his neighbor’s faces, he also likes the idea that giving folks something weird to look at outside might snap them out of the monotony of being stuck inside all day.
According to Mallory, Wolfe has always been a nice guy, but didn’t turn into a full blown goof ball until he quit drinking in 2013. Wolfe’s daughter told Buzzfeed that even when her father was a speechwriter for New York governor George Pataki, he was still drinking “around the clock” for more than two decades.
For Wolfe taking the pictures is just one more part of his path towards recovery. And he said he hopes his kids can see the pictures and are inspired to look at the “bright side of life and [him]self”. He explained to Buzzfeed that, when a person becomes sober, they “uncover the person [they] would have been.” He added: “I’m happy and laughing all the time and I guess that’s what the alcohol was hiding. I lost 25 years of being myself and now I’m trying to make up for it.”