Come the pandemic, come the Arctic panda. That’s the new moniker for nine-year-old Mira McCagg and her inflatable panda suit, spreading cheer to Yellowknifers in isolation.
Mira’s mother, Natasha, said: “It just gives us something to do while we’re inside all the time. It instils social service projects and giving back in small random acts of kindness.”
Mira first dubbed herself the Arctic panda when donning the old Halloween outfit to break open a Covid-19 piñata. Natasha said the video of that moment “uplifted people’s days, they were just saying really positive things.”
That got the family thinking of other ways they could give back to the community while staying safe.
So Mira suited up and danced and drummed outside the Avens seniors’ community, waving at people inside.
“One couple came out … and they were like, ‘This is so cute. You just made our day. We’ve been stuck inside here with no friends, no family, no visitors,’” Natasha said, noting they kept a safe distance away.
Watch: The Arctic panda in action
The Arctic panda now has her own Instagram page and Facebook group. She’s offering her services – free of charge – to anyone celebrating a birthday or other occasion in isolation who could use a song and dance, whether at a safe distance outside their doorway or by video.
Over the weekend, Mira and her family helped a boy celebrate his ninth birthday. Natasha said the mother of the boy said “this is the best birthday ever” after having a group of strangers, including the rare panda, wish him a happy birthday.
“Mira’s little random acts of silliness – singing a birthday song in an inflatable panda suit – turned that young person’s day around and turned that family’s rest of their afternoon around,” Natasha said. “This is really beautiful.”
The Arctic panda is now working on other ideas. One person has requested an Arctic panda cooking video while Natasha is hoping for a video explaining cross-contamination with glitter.
“Glitter seriously ends up everywhere, right? And I think that would be cute and it would appeal to young and old,” she said.