Long long ago, in the city of New York lived a man named Patrick. Paddy, as his friends called him, was a bit of a recluse, regularly finding himself with nothing but a pint glass topped with Guinness and a folded over newspaper turned to the classifieds as he would hunt for yet another new job to support his favorite habit: Drinking. Nobody ever expected Paddy to amount to much in life. “He spends too much time at the pub,” the townspeople would holler. “He has no ambition,” his own mother would say. Little did they know that his life was a special one. Little did anyone know that his life, hundreds of years down the line, would still be celebrated.
It was a bright, sunny afternoon, this 17th day of March, when Paddy’s life would change forever. As accustomed, Paddy had a stool pulled up to the bar, drink in one hand, paper in the other, chatting with the old barkeep whose children he was putting through college with each sip of the glass. “I heard about the job at the mill,” the barkeep sheepishly muttered as he topped off another round. “This one’s on the house.”
“Aye, well they shouldn’t have put me in charge of the grain if they didn’t want me to mix it all up,” Paddy replied with a nod and lifted the freshly filled pint to his mouth.
“There’s nothing left for me,” his tone turned grim. “They’re right. I’m never going to amount to anything. I may as well just sit at this pub and drink til I drop.”
As if by the grace of God himself, just as Paddy uttered those fateful words, the door swung open and in ran a woman with such a look of panic on her face you’d think her house was on fire. “My house is on fire!” she yelled. “And a newborn batch of puppies are trapped on the top floor! And my house is all the way up 5th Avenue!”
This was it. This was Paddy’s moment.
Paddy stood up with a confidence he had never before been able to muster, threw back the rest of his beer in what seemed like one single gulp, slammed the glass to the bar and began to the door. Yeah, Paddy. This is you Paddy he thought to himself. The hero began running up 5th Avenue but it was taking too long. That’s when he saw a CitySights NY bus full of tourists and got an idea.
Paddy stopped the bus and demanded it turn around – against traffic – to lead him uptown to help save the puppies. The CitySights NY driver knew the responsibility bestowed upon him imperative and began fighting the traffic. For the puppies. He traveled from 44th Street all the way up to 79th Street, where the fire was ghastly ablaze. Paddy hopped off the bus and raced into the home with complete disregard for his own safety. Minutes passed and onlookers began to worry.
But there he emerged, a new man, puppies in hand! Gone was the lonesome bloke who cared more about his Guinness than his own children, and out walked a hero.
“What’s your name?” a man from the crowd yelled.
“Patrick,” he replied.
“You’re a saint, Patrick!” the woman whose puppies were saved shouted back. “You’re a saint!”
Every year from that point forward, on the same day as The Great Puppy Fire, we celebrate St. Patrick with a parade, traveling the same route he took to get from the pub to the puppies. And so began St. Patrick’s Day.