Sharing a smile: Local positive posts spread during pandemic


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — 2020 has been filled with a lot of serious, sometimes depressing moments. It’s why just about everyone is searching for a little ray of hope.

While they may be small, there have been several little rays of sunshine social media moments around Sioux Falls helping to spread a few smiles.

“We don’t ever get to do much so we like to play the dice game Farkle,” Sioux Falls comedian Jeff Seiner said. 

It’s a game Jeff Seiner and his wife Melissa have played thousands of times, usually with the same result.

“This is not a joke, I haven’t won in four years,” Seiner said. 

“I thought he was just letting me win the whole time because he’s such a nice guy like maybe he’s just letting me win, but then I finally realized he’s really just horrible at the game,” his wife Melissa Wendt said. 

But last week, his big moment finally came.

“That night I said I was going to beat her and I actually did,” Seiner said. 

In true comedian style, Jeff messaged the mayor of Sioux Falls about his triumphant win.

“Jokingly I said I’m going to write the mayor and I’m going to get a parade because I actually beat you,” Seiner said. 

The next day, Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken responded to his message. 

“Hey guys good morning, Mayor Paul TenHaken here, Jeff I’m talking to you specifically today, I understand after four long years of losing nightly Farkle games to your wife, you finally won. And this is a big deal,” Mayor TenHaken said in a video message to the couple. 

“I was blown away that he actually sent a video,” Seiner said. “I thought it was really cool to take time out of his day for something that was so silly.”

“I’m like I can’t throw a parade, but I can take a video and send it back to you. Believe it or not, I do that for people all the time, because if it’s one small thing I can do to brighten their day during this somewhat difficult time, I love doing that kind of stuff,” Mayor TenHaken said.

“It was on the front of the mayor’s Facebook page,” Chad Theisen said. 

The mayor has also taken time to cheer on one of Sioux Falls’ favorite social media shares this summer.

“We are hungry for the smallest glimmer of hope right now it seems like and a two-foot stalk of corn growing out of a curb is probably the biggest celebrity of the year,” Mayor TenHaken said.

The 57th Street corn stalk may have been removed, but its Social Media fame is far from over thanks to one Sioux Falls family.

“My kids and I were having breakfast and we kind of just decided to see hey, let’s see if the corn is still out there, maybe we can save her? So we drove over and sure enough, right on the corner of the street, there was the corn laying there, so we said, hey, let’s transplant her,” Theisen said.

The Theisen family is now sharing this famous corn stalks’ journey with others online.

“I’ve got people all over the Midwest, people have reached out all the way from the coasts, the other day we got mail from California, Oregon, all over the place, they’re sending kind, encouraging, happy letters, I think it’s cool that its really touched people,” Theisen said. 

“It’s nice, these are pretty serious times, so it’s nice to have light-hearted things like this where everyone can kind of relate to maybe a child missing a toy,” Flyboy Donuts owner Ben Duenweld said. 

Just down the road at Flyboy donuts, another social media star is rising.

“I saw that there was a baby doll on one of the tables so I knew it was someone’s important something so I brought it inside and I think my sister took it from there,” Duenweld said. 

Instead of just sharing a picture of a lost and found doll, Flyboy Donuts is letting the doll do a little exploring.

“She thought someone probably would want to claim it so she thought she could do some fun things propping it up, including in the plane above me,” Duenweld said.

A little social media fun that has smiles soaring throughout Sioux Falls.

“Anything that will take my attention off COVID or some of the other negative stories around, people are all in,” Mayor TenHaken said.
So whether it’s a donut shop doll… 

“Just one of those funny, light-hearted things that happens every once and a while,” Duenweld said.
Or a stalk of corn transplanted from the curb.

“The times we live in, you need something to believe in something just for hope. We’re just excited to be a little small part of that story with Cornelia and Cob,” Theisen said. 

People are thrilled to be a part of a post that can bring a little joy.

“I think a lot of people are just tired of being down and seeing negative things and if this can make them laugh a little bit I think it’s cool to cheer them up even if it’s for a day,” Seiner said.

Even if the laughter comes at their own expense.

“It didn’t really bother me because we played a second game and I annihilated him, so it was fine,” Wendt said.

The positivity is always worth it in the end.

“Congratulations, press on keep fighting, keep playing those nightly Farkle games–don’t let up, don’t give up, perseverance my man, it’s what we do in Sioux Falls, keep going, Farkle forever,” Mayor TenHaken said in his video message. 

So many fun little stories being shared around KELOLAND right now, if you hear of any others, we want to know about it and help continue spreading a little more laughter. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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