2021 was a year punctuated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Surfside tragedy and mass shootings that left the community reeling. But while South Florida made national headlines for some unfortunate and tragic events, there were some moments this year that shed a positive light on the Sunshine State.
Firefighters were able to rescue a young boy from the rubble at the collapsed Champlain Towers site. A Florida waitress saved a young child from potential abuse. An exotic bird found with a face mask around its beak was rescued.
We uncovered stories about heroic acts that restored our faith in humanity (like this story about a Florida deputy taking it upon himself to rescue animals), as well as some quintessential "Florida" stories that brought a chuckle or two.
Not surprisingly, several of these stories featured alligators. It is Florida after all.
One viral gator video even inspired a Florida man to write his own song.
“Florida man, Florida man, catch an alligator in a trash can, if you can’t do it, no one can,” goes the song, an ode to the gator-in-the-trash-can video.
The oddities of our state don't end there.
We watched as a Florida man openly flirted with a Broward County judge during a court appearance — only to be shot down seconds later.
We saw a Florida sheriff offer some sage advice to criminals contemplating murder.
And one Florida driver jumped over a bridge — as it was opening.
Scroll to the top of this article to watch some of these bizarre moments and more.