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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A Red Sox game he'll always remember

Sean Wetzonis, Pedro Lugo, Francisco Rios and one of their pals had tickets to see the Boston Red Sox play the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park in Boston recently, when a family emergency prevented their pal from joining them. On the way to the park, they tried to decide who should get their extra ticket. Lugo said he wanted someone who would appreciate the ticket and have the time of his life. As they were passing a homeless man named John, they gave him some money and asked if he'd like to see a Red Sox game. He said, "Hell Yeah, let's go."

The young men happily escorted John to his seat and bought him a beer to enjoy during the game. As they all cheered from the stands, John seemed to enjoy the atmosphere of the stadium. Before he left, he shook hands with his three new friends. "He thanked us for everything," said Lugo. "Maybe the game helped alleviate the stresses that come along with being homeless. -- at least for a few hours at the game."

Monday, July 22, 2019

Former foster child knows a boy needs a dad

Barry Farmer, 32, is a radio host in Richmond, Virginia. He grew up in the foster care system, so he always had plans to adopt a child someday. He never expected fulfill that plan when he was only 21 years old, and with a white child. But that's what happened. He was 21 when his foster care license was approved and he fostered 8-year-old Jaxon, who he soon adopted. After growing up fatherless himself, he says "Being a father means everything to me."

In 2013 and 2014, Barry met Xavier, 11, and Jeremiah, 4, who were both in foster care, and by 2015 he adopted both, giving Jaxon an opportunity to be a big brother. As a dad now with three sons, Farmer says it's important not to forget older children who are up for adoption. "I always say our children in foster care are like diamonds in the rough. Even if you find a diamond in the dirt, it still has value. Once you take that diamond and polish it and put it in a safe place, you begin to see how beautiful it is."

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Another reason to do lunch at Chick-Fil-A?

A manager at a Chick-Fil-A in Severn, Maryland was quick to help when he saw that a regular customer needed more than a chicken biscuit and coffee. Earlier this month, manager Daryl Howard was taking orders when a 96-year-old WWII veteran known to all employees as Mr. Lee came to the register and said he had a flat tire.

Mr. Lee said he barely made it to the store on three tires because one was so bad. Lee was able to park, but had no one to help him change the time. That's when Howard told the staff he needed to help this customer immediately. He jumped into action with hesitating. It took him about 15 minutes to change the tire, and he didn't know someone had taken pictures until later. Mr. Lee came back the next day and was very grateful.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

If we couldn't welcome them back, maybe we can send them off.

Several hundred people gathered at a cemetery in Niles, Michigan, recently to lay to rest a man most of them never knew. About a week ago, Brown Funeral Home (which provided this photo) asked the public to attend services for Vietnam veteran Wayne Wilson, 67, who had no close family. They expected about a dozen people to attend, but word spread far and wide on social media. A large crowd gathered, and more than 150 motorcycle riders led a procession to the cemetery.

In his remarks, Pastor Mike Smith of Niles told the crowd they had gathered "because you refused to let a warrior be buried alone." Someone who knew Wilson said he was a proud veteran, but reluctant to talk of his experience in the service. He'd alway been troubled by public scorn Vietnam vets received when they came home from combat. If we couldn't welcome them back, maybe we can send them off."

Friday, July 19, 2019

Let's hear it for Delta Sigma Theta

Around 16,000 people attended to a big convention of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority in New Orleans, Louisiana, this month. Delta Sigma Theta is a historically black sorority started at Howard University 105 years ago. Everything was already paid for, but the convention was cut short and the girls (including those shown below) had to pack up and leave before the arrival of Hurricane Barry.

Centerplate Caterers still had many pre-cooked meals ready for delivery when the convention ended early. Instead of wasting them, Delta Sigma Theta donated all 17,000 meals to help hurricane victims. Since they were prepped ahead of time, before the storm hit, they were ready as soon as people needed them. A spokesman for Second Harvest Food Bank, which distributed the meals, was impressed that when the convention was cancelled, the first thing the girls thought about was helping people.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Her pitching is bad, but she's still a winner

A minor-league baseball game was played recently in York, Pennsylvania. It was dedicated to troops serving abroad, and local resident Jennifer Miller was invited to throw the first pitch, in honor of her son Shane, who's been stationed in Okinawa with the Marines for the past two years.

She threw the ceremonial pitch, and it was not a good one. The catcher began walking toward her, and she was ready to apologize for such a bad pitch when he lifted his mask, and it was Shane.Afterward she said she'd seen a lot of surprise reunions and secretly wished it would happen to her, but she never expected it. Best of all. Shane's tour is over now and he's home for good, so they'll be seeing a lot more of each other.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Who needs a gym when you can do this?

A little after midnight recently, three teens were on their way home when they noticed steam billowing from under the hood of a car stopped along Highway 20 in Fonthill, Ontario. Aeron McQuillin, Bailey Campell and Billy Tarbett are all car buffs, so they looked under the hood and told the woman driver she needed a new motor, and she should not start the car. She was upset, and told them she did not have any money for a tow.

That's when Billy suggested they push the car to the woman's home in Welland, since it was only four miles away. The teens grabbed their water bottles and pushed her Chevy Cobalt up a hill, and then two hours down the dark Merritville Highway, laughing, joking and appreciating the great "workout." Another stranger, Niagara Falls resident Dan Morrison, saw what the teens were doing and went into "Dad mode." He drove along behind them with lights flashing, to keep them safe. The rescue mission ended at four in the morning. Said 18-year-old Aeron, "this is something we can look back on in ten years and say it was crazy, but it was worth it."

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Do your children have trouble with standardized tests?

Delta flight reveals kindness

Ashley Ober, 16, flew recently from her home in Maryland to a conference at Rochester Institute of Technology National Technical Institute for the Deaf. She is deaf, and she had only flown alone once before. For her first flight, her mom Lynn took her onto the plane, and another family member picked her up. This time she wanted to be independent, and go through security by herself. When she finally boarded the Delta flight, something surprising happened.

One of the flight attendants gave her a hand-written note. Here's what it said. "Good morning, Ashley. My name is Janna and I will be your flight attendant on today's flight to JFK. There are two buttons above your head. A yellow one that controls the reading light, and a big gray one with a person on it that you  can use to call me if you need anything. In case of emergency, the nearest exit is behind you. Please don't hesitate to ask if you need any assistance. Again, my name is Janna and welcome aboard our aircraft."  Ashley took a picture of the letter and sent it to her mom, who wrote, "Accessible communication can be difficult for the deaf community. It's great when someone gets it right."

Monday, July 15, 2019

Need a muffler? Consider Midas.

A 9-week-old kitten recently found her way into the subframe of a 2000 Honda Accord in Lexington, Kentucky. She became trapped in one of the holes, and was carried (hidden beneath the car) from Lexington to Frankfort, where she was discovered -- still stuck. When the driver stopped for lunch, the trapped kitten was spotted by the manager of a Hardee's restaurant. A concerned employee contacted local firefighters and the nearby Midas auto shop for help to free the feline.

A Midas mechanic posted this photo and wrote on Facebook, "After an hour of rear subframe removal, a Lexington fireman and my lead tech and I, with some soap, sweat and prayers, were able to extract the kitten." Though tired and frightened, the kitten was alright. The Midas workers named her Marigold, and she's now starting her new life with an adopted family.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

A silent standing ovation

An autistic student graduated from high school in New York last month. Now a video of him getting his diploma has gone viral because the crowd gave him a silent ovation. Jack Higgins lives about 50 miles north of New York City. He has severe autism which makes him very sensitive to noise. He wanted to walk across the stage like other grads, but was worried about crowd noise. So he did some practice runs with his teacher, where he'd plug his ears with his fingers. Then the principal ran an idea past his parents.

Before Jack walked into the gym, the principal asked other students to be totally silent for him. And the entire gym of teenagers actually stayed quiet for four minutes. In the video, Jack goes on stage, gets his diploma, and fist-bumps the principal. Then, on their own, his classmates rose to give him a silent standing ovation. Jack's principal says it's the most remarkable thing he's seen in his 31-year career.

Friday, July 12, 2019

"Did order a sofa in my sleep?"

That's what San Diego, California, mom Isabella McNeil wondered when she received an alert on her phone that "your couch is shipped." But no, she wasn't sleep-ordering. A few days before, she'd been thinking of a new sofa and browsing through options on Amazon, on her cellphone.

                                                                                                            NBC 7 San Diego
While she was browsing, her 2-year-old daughter Rayna walked up and said, "Mama, phone. Mama, phone," so she handed the phone to her daughter. But she left the Amazon app open, and while Rayna was playing with the phone, she pressed the "Buy Now With One Click" button. Just like that, she bought a $430 tufted gray couch! Lessons learned? Isabella urges parents not to let children play with their phone unless all the apps are closed, and all the passwords are finger-print locked, "because kids are a lot smarter than we think," she said.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Is it okay for a man to cry?

In case nobody liked his poems, Robert Frost also had a day job. He was a farmer, but not a very good one. On December 22, 1923, he realized he had no money to buy his children gifts, so he gathered some farm produce, hitched up his horse, and took a wagon load to town to sell. No one bought anything, and as he returned home penniless, a sense of failure overwhelmed him. He could not tell his family the bad news, so he stopped the horse and "bawled like a baby." Eventually his horse, Eunice, jingled her bells and he pulled himself together.

He said later, "A man has as much right as a woman to a good cry now and again. The snow gave me shelter; the horse understood and gave me the time." Frost's daughter Lesley agrees his ride home from town inspired the poem which made her father famous. It first appeared 96 years ago in The New Republic. Perhaps you remember. "Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; he will not see me stopping here to watch his woods fill up with snow." Lesley said it was her father's favorite poem.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

When a bus stop is also a bee stop

All 316 bus stops in the city of Utrecht, Netherlands, are buzzing with activity. They've been given green rooftops covered with sedum plants. Not only are the succulents good for improving air quality, they also help support the dwindling bee population. And they store rainwater, and provide a cooling environment in summer.

But wait. There's more. Sedum roofs are just one way Utrecht is improving its public transit. During the next few years, solar panels will be installed on every bus stop. And last February. town fathers announced they are replacing their current transit vehicles with a new fleet of electric busses.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Another police "incident"

Sharon Markle, of York County, Pennsylvania, suffers from arthritis in one knee and it's been bothering her lately. Even so, she was recent spotted on a very hot day trying to mow her lawn. She didn't think she was breaking any laws, so she was concerned when West York Borough Police Officer Bridgette Wilson pulled over to the curb by her house. The officer got out of her car and approached Sharon.

Officer Wilson told Sharon, "I'm taking over." Sharon asked, "Are you sure?" Wilson said, "Yeah, go sit down. Your face is flushed."  Then the officer mowed the lawn. Sharon said, "I've never had anybody really do anything like that for me -- just come in and take over. She's awesome." After the lawn was mowed, Sharon asked Wilson if she owed her anything. Wilson said, "just a smile," as she drove away.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Love is truly timeless

John and Phyllis Cook were the talk of the Kingston Residence in Sylvania, Ohio, recently. They'd been dating about a year when they got their marriage license. The two lovebirds each have lost two spouses. John recently turned 100 years old. His bride will turn 103 on August 8. (Her mom lived to be 106.) Their friendship blossomed over the past few months, and since she's a devout Christian woman, she felt it was right to tie the knot.

The Cooks spend their days with each other in the assisted living facility, but they understand the importance of having their own space. "We keep both our apartments," says Phyllis. "He's upstairs and I'm down." But there is still a big spark when they spend time together. When John was asked what is their favorite thing to do together, his response was, "Well, maybe I shouldn't talk about that."

Sunday, July 7, 2019

The ideal airline passenger

Seven-year-old Landon recently flew from his mom's home in Las Vegas, Nevada, to visit his father in Portland, Maine. His mother, Alexa Bjornson, was concerned for her son's safety, so she wrote a note for Landon to give to whoever sat next to him on the plane. It explained how he had high-functioning autism and might often ask, "are we there yet?" She reassured the reader that even if he was nervous during take-off, she'd packed snacks and games to keep him busy. She ended, "If you could find it in your heart to make him feel comfortable and safe, I'd be forever grateful. And she enclosed a $10 bill.

When Landon's plane landed in Portland, his mom received a text message from Ben Pedraza, who sat next to Landon on the flight. When Landon gave him the note, he was glad to help. He told Alexa how he and Landon chatted, and played several games of rock-paper-scissors. They also played video games and cracked jokes. After taking this selfie for her, he said it was a pleasure to help Landon, had donated the $10 to the Autism Society in Landon's name.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

A romantic rugby player

Mark Raby, 52, plays on an amateur rugby team in England. They recently got invited to a tournament in Poland, but it coincided with his 30th anniversary, so he planned to stay home and spend the time with his wife Julie. But she told him it was okay to go. He'd be returning ON their anniversary, so she'd pick him up at the airport and they'd go out for dinner or something.

But Mark knew it was an important day to Julie, so he coordinated with the airport and had 30 red roses delivered. After their plane landed, each of his teammates walked out  of the gate with a single rose...handed it to Julie....kissed her on the cheek...and walked off. Mark was the last to deplane, with the 30th rose, and she was wiping away tears even before he gave it to her.

Friday, July 5, 2019

World's largest anniversary card?

On the 150th anniversary of American Independence, the United States received a birthday card from the people of Poland. Today it's preserved in the Library of Congress. The Polish Declaration of Admiration and Friendship was more than a Hallmark moment.

                                                                                                                   Library of Congress
It was presented to President Calvin Coolidge in 1926, partly in gratitude for American aid during the Great War. It has 30,000 pages (extra postage required) which are rich in color, history, pressed flowers, drawings from famous Polish artists, and notes from military and business institutions. It was delivered in 111 volumes, and signed by (are you sitting down?) 5.5 million Polish people.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Camp Fire hero gets "burnt" car

Allyn Pierce is an ICU nurse  at a hospital in Paradise, California. Last year, he risked his life to save his patients from the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in state history. He used his Toyota Tundra to shuttle patients to safety when the fire got near the hospital. He drove back and forth many times. The flames got so close that his doors were charred and his tail lights melted.

When Toyota heard about his heroism, they decided to replace his truck with a brand new Toyota Tundra, but only after they made a few modifications. They added a heavy-duty roof rack, bigger tires, a lift kit, and an on-board CO2 tank. And here's the best part. His charred doors had become like a badge of honor, so they gave the new Tundra a custom paint job to recreate the original look.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

It's high time July 4th went to the dogs

For dogs who are sensitive to loud noises, July 4 isn't very thrilling. Fireworks can cause them to cower under a bed or even run for the hills.  As for shelter dogs who don't have homes, they can only cower in their cages until the firework blasts are over. But one shelter has a genius idea to help their homeless pups.

"Calming for Canines" at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control is a new July 4 tradition, proving the kindness is patriotic. Last year, 300 people from the community showed up at the shelter's two locations around Phoenix, Arizona. "It was overwhelming to see how the community responded," said Ben Swan, the shelter's development director.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Another Chick-Fil-A hero

Logan Simmons was working a shift at the Chick-Fil-A restaurant in Hall County, Texas, recently when he heard a distressed mother calling for help from the drive-thru lane. The woman was in the driver's seat of her car, and her 6-year-old son in the back seat had gotten the seatbelt wrapped around his neck. His face was quickly losing color.

When Logan heard the screams for help from the drive-thru window, he jumped out of the window and rushed over to the woman's car. He climbed into the car and used his pocketknife to cut the boy free from the seatbelt. The frantic mother was overwhelmed with gratitude for the teen's fast action.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Running barefoot ahead of a tornado

Megan Parson, 25, is a fourth grade teacher at Celia Hays Elementary School in Rockwall, Texas. Classes had just dismissed for the day when the principal's voice came over the loud speaker, telling students there were tornados nearby and they should assume the necessary safety position against the walls in the hallways.

                                                                                                                             Marni Cohen
As students crouched down with their hands over their heads, Parson knew there were already students outside who were waiting to be picked up by their parents. She tossed off her shoes and rain barefoot ahead of a tornado to warn students and their parents to take cover. She says she did not realize the tornado was so close to the school until she saw the now-viral picture one of the parents took of her safety mission.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Falling child caught in mid-air

A 17-year-old Algerian man became a hero last month in Turkey after catching a two-year-old Syrian toddler falling from a third floor window in an apartment building. It happened in Instanbul's Fatih district, which is home to a large Arab community. Doha Muhammed, the daughter of Syrian couple Leyla Abdullah and Yusuf Muhammed, approached the open window while her mother was cooking in the kitchen.

Feuzi Zabaat, an Algerian national working in a shop on the same street, saw that the toddler was about to fall and stood underneath the window. He managed to catch and hold the child just before she would have hit the ground, saving her from serious injury or death. The incident was captured by the security camera of a nearby shop. Baby Doha escaped unharmed, but she was quite frightened and shaken. Zabatt and other locals were seen trying to calm her before handing her back to Leyla.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Helping the children of Chernobyl

A charity in Raleigh, North Carolina, brings children who are suffering from the aftereffects of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion 33 years ago in the Ukraine to the United States each year for a summer of fun. This year more than 60 Belarusian kids got access to free health care, pediatrician appointments and dental work, plus a chance to breath clean air while living with host families in Raleigh for six weeks. Most are from poverty-stricken families in Belarus.

The charity, known as Overflowing Hands, has been running for 13 years. One of the interns, Nastiya Paprauka, attended the program herself for four years. Now 19, she works as a chaperone. Speaking of Raleigh, she said, "The nature is beautiful and the people are kind." Eleven years ago, founder Chandler Ellis realized the children had never celebrated birthdays. Many did not know when their birthday was. One of Ellis' friends owns the Angus Barn Restaurant, and hosts a group birthday party for the children each summer. The kids enjoy pony rides, inflatables, water games and food, all courtesy of the community.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Maybe age really is just a number?

Legendary percussionist Viola Smith is now 106 and actively drumming until quite recently in a Costa Mesa band named Forever Young. Born Viola Schmitz in November, 1912, in Wisconsin, she was one of ten kids. The whole family studied piano, and in the 1920s her dad got Viola and her six sisters together to form the Smith Sisters Orchestra. They were first widely noticed when they performed on the Major Bowes Amateur Hour, a 1930s radio version of America's Got Talent.

After moving to New York City, she joined the Phil Spitainy's Hour of Charm Orchestra, another all-girls orchestra. Her ability to read music fluently and overall musicianship earned her a spot with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. After playing at President Harry Truman's inauguration in 1949, she formed her own band called "Viola and Her 17 Drums." She then turned her attention to Broadway, where she played in the original production of Cabaret. She still believes regular exercise (preferably playing drums) is a secret to long life.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

A crumb from a reader in North Carolina, USA

Hanna Green was making her way to the 8th tee recently at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship in Chaska, Minnesota, when a little girl handed her a piece of blue paper. Lily Kostner, 7, from Minneapolis, told Green she would win, as she stretched the paper across the gallery ropes. It was a poem Lily wrote in gratitude for kindness Green showed her at the Dinah Shore Championship last April, where Green gave Lily a signed golf ball.

Lily was so grateful that she wrote a poem for Green, and read it to her first grade class at Kenny Elementary before saving it to give to Green. With a backup on the 8th tee, Green stopped and unfolded the paper and read the poem. Then she bent down to give Lily a hug. Green went on to win the championship! "I had that poem in the back of my yardage book" she said, because I didn't want it to get rained on. A couple of times on the back nine when I was feeling nervous, I actually read it to myself. I think it really helped me."

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

One way to keep neo-Nazis calm?

When a group of neo-Nazi sympathizers planned an event in the German town of Ostritz recently, the local government didn't refuse to issue a permit. The residents didn't panic. Instead, a Dresden court ruled that people at the rally could not have any beer, and police showed up every day to confiscate their booze.

On the first day of the event, officers seized about 1,110 gallons of beer. And Ostritz residents did their part too. Shoppers including those shown here bought more than 200 cans of beer from the town's only supermarket, until there wasn't any beer left on the shelves. "We wanted to dry the Nazis out," said community activist Georg Salditt, A novel approach.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Some world records are worth setting!

A lot of world records are pointless, like the guy from Indiana who once broke 46 wooden toilet seats over his head in less than a minute. But this world record actually made the world a better place. A huge crowd of scuba divers from several states got together recently in Deerfield Beach, Florida, and tried to beat the world record for "largest underwater cleanup."

                                                                                                Mike Stocker / Sun Sentinel
In the shadow of the International Fishing Pier, they cleared trash from the ocean floor, and they all had to be in the water doing it at the same time. Since they were near the fishing pier, they pulled out about 1,600 pounds of lead fishing weights, along with an unknown quantity of trash. Someone from Guinness came down from New York City to witness the cleanup. The previous record of divers was 614, set in Egypt in 2015. The American final count was 633, so we won the World Record by 19.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Are most humans selfish, or honest?

What would you do if you found a wallet stuffed with cash. Would you keep it, or try to return it?A team of economists recently conducted a mass social experiment involving 17,000 "lost" wallets in 40 countries.

Most wallet drops were in public places in large cities, with about 400 observations per country. Each wallet contained no money, or a small amount of money, or a lot of money, along with a grocery list and the owner's business card. Overall, 51% of people who found a wallet with a small amount of money reported it, compared with 40% of those who found an empty wallet. When a wallet contained a large sum, the return rate was 72%. There were some surprising non-returns. Wallets dropped off at the Vatican, and at two anti-corruption bureaus, never were returned. But almost universally, wallets with more valuable contents were likely to be returned.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

How many college juniors do anything like this?

Aneesh Agarwal is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "I was shocked," he says, "to learn than 10 percent of the population doesn't have health insurance, so that 30 million people across the country don't have access to good, quality, affordable care." He's been interested in social innovation for several years, so he created a phone app connecting people to their nearest affordable health care clinic.

He says many people are not aware of their healthcare options, so his Clinic Locater App introduces users to the free or affordable clinics nearest them. Clinics have to meet certain requirements to be on his app. Patients must never be turned away for inability to pay, or for whatever service they need. So far, his app has over 1,000 clinics logged across America. He was surprised to find so many.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Kelsey wants kids to have a fresh start

A 7-year-old girl in Fort Wayne, Indiana, set up a lemonade stand in order to help girls escape from human trafficking. And the idea was all her own. She set up her stand near her home, selling lemonade, Gatorade and water for $1 and donated her profits to Destiny Rescue. It's a Christian, non-profit organization that has helped save 4,000 children from sexual exploitation around the world since 2011.

She admitted her business started off a bit slow. "It made me feel happy, but then it made me feel anxious," she said, "I'm like uh oh, is this my only customer?" But customers soon arrived, and she was able to raise $472.04 to donate to the good cause. Her dad said "Its not something her mom or I asked her to do. This was all her idea."

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Bet this is what you'd have done

On June 10, Ryan Warren and Chantal Leroux won a 50-second shopping spree at Bragg Creek Foods, a locally-owned grocery store in a community south of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The prize gave them a little less than one minute to grab all they can from the shelves. Whatever they grab, they keep. Leroux immediately imaging lots of things for her own cupboard, but a few seconds later an idea came to her. "What a great opportunity to give!"

The couple decided to contact the Food Bank to see what was most needed. Then they walked through the story to figure out a plan. "We knew we had to go non-perishable," said Warren, "so we could X the meat aisle off our list." Just before 8 a.m., Warren started racing around the store. His first stop was baby food and diapers. After a frantic 50 seconds, he managed to snag $593.58 worth of grocery items -- all for the Food Bank.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Encore crumb from February, 2016

If you click the link at the end of this Crumb, you'll be in the town of Shintomi in the spring, where up to 7,000 people each day visit a carpet of pink flowers called moss phlox, planted around a private residence. Its not just the incredible color and fragrance that draw visitors. It's the love that planted each flower. The garden was originally a dairy farm owned by Mr. and Mrs. Kuroki, who married in 1956 and brought up two children. After 36 years of happy marriage, Mrs. Kuroki suddenly went blind. Convinced her life was over, she remained secluded inside her house and never smiled.

                                                                                 Facebook/ Shintomi Michiyakuba
Her husband was convinced she would smile again if she had at least one visitor each day. Then he discovered a pink flower which can be enjoyed not only by sight but also by smell. For two years, he chopped down trees and created a foundation for a garden which eventually surrounded their home. Now, a decade later, the garden draws visitors from near and far, and Mr. Kuroki can be seen walking around the property with his wife, who is always smiling. To see the couple and some of their visitors, turn up your sound and click on this link.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVXpBqj67BY

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

This dad will never forget his Father's Day gift

Marvin Bowers of Renton, Washington, learned on Father's Day that his two step-daughters are changing their name to his. Jia Dennison, 22, and her sister Jazelle Dennison, 19, have had Bowers as the sole father figure in their lives for 12 years, ever since he started dating their mom, whom he married. "I forget he's my step-dad," says Jia. "He treats me and my sister like we're his own."

Jia and Jazelle surprised Bowers on Father's Day with a letter explaining that their last name would now legally be Bowers. What give Jia the final push to change her name is that she wants to hear the name Bowers (and see it on her diploma) when she earns her nursing degree next year. She'll be the first person in her family to earn a degree, and feels her step-dad deserves some credit.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Can a hug prevent suicide?

Officer Ron Little of the Chandler, Arizona, Police Department, showed up recently when a 26-year-old man climbed over a fence on an overpass, intending to jump down into speeding traffic on the Price Freeway. Little managed to talk him back to safety, by offering him a hug.

It happened on March 29, but the department just posted chest-cam footage online. First, Little radioed in and told everyone to stay off the bridge because he didn't want to scare the jumper. Then he told him his name, and offered to give him a hug if he climbed back over the fence. Little kept talking about the hug for about five minutes, until the man climbed back to safety. He got the hug as promised, and cried a little on the officer's shoulder. The video ends with them walking off the bridge together.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Raising Men Lawn Care Service

Rodney Smith, Jr., 29, was born in Bermuda and now lives in Huntsville, Alabama. He's visited all 50 states, FIVE times, thanks to his Raising Men Lawn Care Service Foundation. He travels from state to state, helping people with disabilities, or single mothers, or military veterans by mowing their lawns for free.

Hoping to inspire young men and women to make a difference in the world, he runs his foundation 100% by word of mouth on social media. He announces where he's going to be by uploading a selfie with a state sign. After that, requests and nominations flood in. He says people sponsor his hotel rooms and donate money to make his travel possible. He travels with his friend, Yuri Williams, who dresses up as Spiderman while visiting children's hospitals, and also mows lawns. (Thanks to a faithful reader for providing this crumb.)

Saturday, June 15, 2019

From custodian to principal

A faithful reader in Indiana shared this crumb. Newly-appointed principal Michael Atkins, 39, leads Stedman Elementary School in Denver, Colorado, the same school district where he originally worked as a custodian. As a child, he felt racial discrimination in his predominantly white schools. After graduation, he balanced raising his daughter with part-time college and a job in education. He applied to be a teacher's aide, but was offered a custodial position instead. He accepted it and enjoyed the work.

After receiving promotions and changing schools, he reconnected with a second-grade teacher -turned-principal who'd invested in Atkins and his family. She offered him a paraprofessional job. Soon, equipped with a degree and certification, he graduated to teacher and then assistant principal. He started as principal on June 1, vowing to bridge racial and cultural divides.

Friday, June 14, 2019

PB & J, seasoned with love

Eva Chapman of Daytona Beach, Florida, is only six years old. She recently found out one of her friends at school couldn't get enough to eat at home. Her school offers free hot lunches to kids who can't pay, but Eva worried they might go hungry during summer break. So back in April, she told her mom she wanted to have a food drive.

She wanted to collect jars of peanut butter and jelly, because it's one of her favorite things to eat. In less than two months, she's already collected over 1,000 jars from people as far away as Canada. And she's inspiring other people to do good. Her school principal says parents, students and other area schools have also started summer food drives. If you want to donate, you can mail jars to NextHome at the Beach, ATTN Nicole Chapman, 110 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL 32114.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Remember work-outs in gym class?

Rather than making kids run laps around a gym track, an alternative school in Dubuque, Iowa, is allowing them to earn PE credits by helping disabled and senior citizens. Instead of push-ups, they can do yard work for folks in the community who can't do it themselves.

The teacher who launched the program says he's seen a noticeable impact on the teens, as well as homeowners. "The students aren't typically too excited in the beginning," he says, "but once they get involved and start doing the yard work, they become more motivated. What they really like is helping people. They really like giving back to people and meeting the person whose yard they improved."

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

"Only God can make a tree."

Volunteers in India (including children and the elderly) recently planted more than 66 MILLION trees in just 12 hours in a record-breaking environmental drive. About 1.5 million people were involved in the huge planting campaign, in which saplings were placed on the shores of the Narmada River in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

India has committed under the Paris Agreement to increasing its forests by millions of acres before 2030 to help combat climate change. Planting saplings in the river basin increases their chance to survive. Volunteers planted more than 20 different species of trees.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

An Amish prayer for all of us

During twenty-five years in Indiana, I've made some dear Amish friends. Instead of building churches, Old Order Amish worship in each other's homes, or under a tent if weather permits. After hearing a sermon, the congregation sings German hymns without any instruments. An Amish man was at worship one Sunday when he saw a little girl singing. It inspired him so much that he wrote this poetic prayer.

It was just a usual Sunday, we were met with one accord, 
Gathered in the house of worship, singing praises to the Lord.
When my eye beheld a daughter of the great Eternal King
And my heart within grew tender as I watched that daughter sing.
Solemnly she held her hymnbook while she listened quite intent
To the preacher's earnest reading, line by line the old hymn went.
Then our voices rose together, lifting song into the air,
And she too was sweetly singing, gladly sending up her share,
Though the deepness of the meaning was beyond her childish mind;
And the number which was called for Mother dear had helped her find.
As I watched, my own heart smote me and I had to bow my head,
For I'd heard a mighty sermon, though not a word was said.
Many times I too can hardly understand God's how and why,
And deeper shades of meaning He has hidden from my eye.
Oh that I might go on singing like the little maiden here
Even though the way's perplexing and the next step isn't clear.
Oh, that I might pour my efforts into doing what I can,
Well content with my small portion of our Father's master plan!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Couple says "I do" in center court

Kari Bordner is a guidance counselor at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. She's been dating social studies teacher Jeff Vest for about 15 years. Vest is retiring this year, so they decided to make their union official. In the school gym.

They decided to wed at center court on a day they knew the gym would be available, the last day of school this year. They didn't tell anyone until the night before, when they sent invitations. Kari wore a while dress, and Jeff appears to be wearing some sort of coaching uniform. Green shirt, shorts and sneakers. So definitely not too formal. There's a video of the ceremony, and it sounds like quite a few people were in the bleachers.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Teens: You can't live with them, and sometimes you can't live without them

Catherine Ritchie has lived in the same home in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, for 58 years. Recently she was getting ready for bed in the bathroom when she turned around and the head of her bed was burning. "It was covered with flames," she said. She tried to put the fire out, but quickly gave up and called 911, and also hit her emergency call button. Then things got worse. "The smoke was so bad I couldn't get out of my room. I felt along the wall and felt a door and walked into a closet by mistake. I finally did find the door.

Meanwhile, four teens a few houses away were "looking around for something to do." The boys, ages 14-17, went outside and smelled smoke. Then they heard a house alarm go off, and they jumped into action. They tried to break down the front door of Ritchie's home, but they couldn't. Then Nick Byrd, 14, managed to get through the back door. He ran inside and found Ritchie in the hall, lost in smoke. "The young man was right there," she said. "He picked me up and I said 'I can walk' but he said, 'We're getting out of here.'" Ritchie got outside safely, and so did the teens. Firefighters stopped the flames before they spread. Ritchie said she's very grateful, saying the boys "were just special, as young as they were."

Saturday, June 8, 2019

We're never too old to dance

London-born Suzelle Poole, 78, who now lives in Dallas, Texas, has performed all over the world, but she's still trying to improve her technique. She made her professional debut when she was ten, and continued dancing for 68 years, so far.

"My chin can always be higher and my toes more pointed," she insists. She still practices six days a week, while teaching up-and-coming ballerinas. She also performs at nursing homes for people who are older than herself and unable to go out. She believes everyone would benefit from being taught ballet, adding, "I'm always practicing and striving to improve."

Friday, June 7, 2019

Dancing with the Principal at the senior prom

When Helen Danis, 97, told her granddaughter, Julie Huddon, that she never attended a prom, 48-year-old Julie decided seventy years was long enough to wait. Helen said she graduated during the Great Depression. Money was short and she could not afford to go to her prom. Julie's son Evan was a senior this year at Pilgrim High School in Warwick, Rhode Island. After checking with the principal to make sure Helen could attend, Julie invited her.

Helen and Julie joined Evan and his friends as they rode to the prom on a trolley.  Later in the evening, Helen was named honorary prom queen! All the seniors clapped and cheered for her. Then they named school principal Gerald Habershaw honorary prom king, and he danced with Helen. Remembering her grandmother, Julie says, "She had a smile that didn't leave her face."