He Just Keeps Going and Going

Thursday, September 2, 2010 - 2:09pm

Man uses bunny suit to turn pain into smiles.

There's a grown man in a bunny suit roaming the streets of South Florida, and no, he's not looking for money.

"I've had some people ask me, 'How drunk are you right now?'" says Eddy Rodriguez, a 53-year-old from Kendall, dressed in a furry rabbit suit and American flag cowboy hat.

"They think I'm crazy, and that's OK," he says. "I love life, life is absolutely wonderful," Rodriguez says. "Every single day when I wake up in the morning, it's a gift."

Rodriguez wasn't always like this.

He first wore the rabbit suit as simply a way to get over his fear of public speaking.

Then his life took a tragic turn.

In 2006 his step-daughter Liz died in a moped accident.

Just four months later Rodriguez had a brain hemorrhage and couldn't fully walk or talk for six months.

"I had gone down into a stupor," Rodriguez explains. "I was crying every day over my daughter, I could not focus."

As if that wasn't difficult enough, soon after his business collapsed and his house got robbed.

Instead of asking, "Why me?" Eddy said "Why not turn this into a positive?"

Now every month or so Rodriguez puts on his furry rabbit suit and goes to a place with lots of people, like Coconut Grove or South Beach, with one purpose: to make people smile.

Most of the people who encounter this happy rabbit have his cheerful attitude rub off on them, but not everyone smiles and some just walk on by.

"But you know what," Rodriguez says, still smiling, "Maybe later on, when they go home they think about it and then they get a little smile.

"Everybody asks if I'm on drugs and they want some of what I have. But no, I'm not on drugs."
Nope, this energizer bunny is all natural. He's just dedicated to helping others find joy, even in the darkest of circumstances.

Rodriguez currently works in construction, but he hopes to make his smile and wave campaign a full-time gig.

In fact, he's gearing up for a happiness rally of sorts, on September 25th at Gulfstream Park.

Rodriguez is inviting anyone and everyone to his "Happiness in the Park" event in hopes of breaking a Guinness World Record for smiling and waving.

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