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'It Just Makes Me Happy': Needham Family's Inflatable Unicorn Brings Joy During Pandemic

NEEDHAM (CBS) - It's the type of road that might normally raise your blood pressure, but an intersection near Needham Center has been making people smile.

"People are always rolling the windows down giving me thumbs up and waving," said Matt Smith whose Cape-style home sits on the corner of the intersection. But it's not Matt Smith drivers are excited to see. It's the large inflatable unicorn in his front yard. "We put the unicorn up about a year ago to celebrate a drive-by birthday."

Matt and his wife bought the unicorn as the pandemic was beginning. It was the centerpiece to a birthday parade for his daughter.

Needham unicorn
Unicorn in front of Matt Smith's home in Needham (WBZ-TV)

"As the cars were going by and honking I thought 'you know what maybe it's something we should put up longer than the birthday,'" he said.

One day became weeks. Weeks became months. The unicorn became a pandemic fixture for the Smith family and everyone in the community.

A town Facebook page blew up with comments from people who said the unicorn made them smile during tough times. One person thanked Matt and his family for "making the pandemic seem a little less lonely."

"I've gotten thank you letters written by families and children," says Matt.

When Matt realized what a hit the unicorn was he decided it needed a friend out on the lawn. So now, there's also one of those wiggly, dancing inflatable men you might expect to see outside a used car dealership.

"The proper name is wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man. That's the full title!"

When we visited Matt, we met the Cohen family. Danielle and her two daughters take a break from remote learning every day to visit the unicorn and its purple pal.

One of the little girls explained why they visit: "Even though we are going through tough times it just makes me happy and probably a lot of kids and adults too."

The unicorn won't be staying forever. In fact, its days may be numbered says Matt. "I tell you, I feel like we are coming to the end of the pandemic fingers crossed. It's going to be sad to deflate him at the end of this," he said.

We are all eager to put this pandemic in our rearview mirror. Until then we can look out the side window at the unicorn and the wiggly, dancing dude. The duo of decorations has turned a busy intersection into a destination for people in search of a little magic.


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