2016 wasn't one of our better years. There were all those celebrity deaths, the fact that democracy around the globe decided to take up crack rock, and also that ape that got shot. But despite that, despite an entire year spending every minute trying to make us all pray for the sweet release of the void, there were still some bright spots out there, heroes doing everything they could to ... well, not die, or spread disease, or casually stoke the fires of fascism.
A pretty low bar, then. But we'll take what we can get.
The Insanely High Dude Who Braved An Imaginary Fire To Save A Dog
One night, Michael Orchard of New York state noticed that his neighbor's house was on fire. Taking matters into his own hands, he blasted through his neighbor's fence with his car, kicked in the back door, and rescued the family's dog from the inferno.
There was one problem, though.
When the cops showed up, they found Orchard standing there like an action hero, clutching the dog in front of a house that was most definitely not ablaze. The source of the confusion -- the fact that Orchard had taken acid and a shitload of cough syrup -- was quickly identified, and the rescue mission was quickly reclassified as breaking and entering.
The medal ceremony was quickly canceled.
On the plus side, Orchard was very cooperative and immediately paid for the damage to the house. And the dog was unharmed, unless you count the depression he suffered when he realized he wasn't going to get to go for a ride. So although the heroism wasn't needed, was actually counterproductive, and resulted in a disappointed dog, this is still legitimately one of the greatest heroes 2016 has produced, and we should all be deeply ashamed that we're honoring him here.
The Chinese Construction Workers Who Went Absolutely Batshit
In Datong, China, a landlord noticed that some nearby construction equipment had damaged his apartment building. So, the landlord contacted the construction company and asked them to stop dinging up his shit, and while we don't know exactly what was said ... it evidently did not go well. We know this because soon after he had his relatives park their vehicles so the construction equipment couldn't get into the site. At this point, there are a few roads to a peaceful resolution, involving either the police or a profanity-laced argument about the virtue of the feuding parties' mothers. But the construction company forged a new road, as was indeed their right as the owners of actual road-building equipment.