Sally and Larry McNabb have been driving Sprinkles the stuffed giraffe in their convertible for 15 years: “It's too much fun not to do,” says Larry
About 15 years ago, Sally McNabb was redecorating her daughter’s bedroom and ordered a giant stuffed giraffe.
She unboxed it in her garage, and it happened to be sitting next to her convertible — and that looked hilarious to her. She tossed it into the backseat and drove around the block of her Colorado Springs neighborhood.
“The kids in the neighborhood were all laughing and waving and jumping and just having a blast seeing this silly giraffe in the backseat. That's how it started,” says Sally, 66, a retired insurance agent. “The next day I drove it to work and the reactions I got from people in the cars were just really funny. They were rolling down the windows and waving or taking pictures of it, and the rest is kind of history.”
At first, her husband balked at the idea of driving with a giant stuffed giraffe in the backseat.
“I said, 'Sally we're not driving around town with a giraffe in the car.' And she goes, 'You've just got to try it. Try it one time,' " remembers her husband, Larry, a 66-year-old retired plumber. “We drove up the main boulevard in town, and like she said, the people were laughing and smiling, so I was hooked. It brings so much joy to people and they laugh and smile.”
When the McNabbs come out of stores, strangers are waiting in the parking lot taking selfies. People have followed the couple home to ask about the giraffe. At a stoplight, a family leaving a funeral thanked them for the smiles. "They said, 'We have been crying nonstop for three days. And today is the first day we've smiled,' " Sally remembers.
They named the giraffe “Sprinkles.”
“He's here to sprinkle happiness," Sally says. “He gives people an unexpected reason to smile.”
In their 2001 Ford Mustang, they have driven with the top down and the giraffe in the backseat from Fort Collins to Denver.
“We've been snowed on, rained on, hailed on,” Larry says. But they keep the top down to keep the smiles coming. “It's too much fun not to do,” he adds.
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Sally even dresses the giraffe up for holidays, from reindeer antlers and a shiny Rudolph nose for Christmas to bunny ears for Easter.
Sally says she’s battled depression throughout her life, but making others smile with the giraffe has made her happier.
“I found I felt more joyful because I was consciously doing something to help other people feel happy,” Sally shares.
Adds Larry, “It's hard not to be happy when you're making other people happy."
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