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New Yorkers Shred Bad Memories On ‘Good Riddance Day’

Good Riddance Day in 2011. (File; Credit: Juliet Papa/1010 WINS)

Good Riddance Day in 2011. (File; Credit: Juliet Papa/1010 WINS)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A crowd gathered in Times Square Saturday to shred their bad memories of 2013 – literally.

As 1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer reported, Saturday was the Seventh Annual Good Riddance Day. A Cintas mobile shredding truck was set up on the Broadway Plaza in Times Square for the public to rip to pieces all physical evidence of humiliating, embarrassing and depressing moments in 2013 for a fresh start in the year to come.

The names of ex-lovers, ex-husbands and even mothers-in-law were written down on slips of paper and thrown in the giant shredder.

Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, told CBS 2’s Andrea Grymes that the shredder was a good way for people to get rid of bad energy.

“They’re shredding the past and saying, let’s get rid of that bad energy and we’ll be ready for the new year,” he said.

Two college students just wanted to get rid of their bad semester, and as one described it, “all my stress, worries and the people who brought me down.”

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, Lisa from Connecticut was also shredding her memories and looking ahead.

“My stepmother being diagnosed with cancer — hopefully, 2014 will be a great year for her,” she said.

People wished away everything from financial troubles to ex-boyfriends.

“Basically, he’s dating my best friend,” said Mikael from Long Island.

Her year played out like a soap opera. As she shredded a sheet of paper with the memory of her ex-boyfriend, she said, “I don’t like him.”

And in a more poignant moment, Amy Johnson and her 3-year-old son, Bodey, shredded the boy’s CAT scan. Bodey, who has Down syndrome, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 2, but is now in remission.

Johnson and her son were the grand prize winners of the Good Riddance Day contest held by Cintas, a New Year’s Eve in Times Square partner.

“It’s really, I think, going to help us but everything in the past, and I’m really excited that Bodey was able to come up here and be a part of this,” Johnson said, “He was diagnosed last year, went through chemo and is in remission now. So we wanted to say good riddance to all the bad memories of the past year.”

Good Riddance Day is inspired by a Latin American tradition, in which New Year’s revelers stuff dolls with objects representing the past year’s bad memories, and set them on fire.

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