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Sunday, March 31, 2019

Scotland's youngest school teachers

Meet Britain's youngest teachers, the babies who are visiting primary school students in order to help them learn about empathy. The three babies are all children of teachers at Ardgowan Primary School in Greenock, Scotland, who are on maternity leave. Once every two weeks, the babies are brought to school to meet the students.
                                                                                                                                     SWNS
The tots range from 3 to 10 months old, and teach the students by allowing them to see how babies grow and develop, while learning about empathy, understanding and responsibility. Curious primary pupils are encouraged to ask questions about what the babies like to do, and how to manage them.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

This is your pilot, and co-pilot

Dr. John R. Watret was taking off on a Delta flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta recently when a woman asked the attendants if her two children could meet the pilots. The attendants agreed, and as the family returned to their seats, Watret overheard them talking about the "mother and daughter" flying the plane.


"I thought that was amazing," he said. "I was in awe, so I asked if I could visit them," and the attendants agreed again. He met Capt. Wendy Rexon and her daughter, First Officer Kelly. He was even more delighted to learn Wendy's husband is a pilot for American Airlines, and her father is a retired pilot. And Wendy's other daughter (fasten your seatbelt) is ALSO a pilot.

Friday, March 29, 2019

"A lot of people don't think they're beautiful."

Eighth-grader Gabby Fogg attends a middle school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Recently she started a positivity campaign in the girls' rest room at school. She put a Post-it note on the mirror that said "you are beautiful." Josie Homestead saw Gabby's message and decided to join in. She left a stack of Post-its in the bathroom and encouraged other girls to leave messages.


According to Josie, "Everyone kind of joined in and I think pretty much every girl in the grade wrote one. So I think it also creates that sense of unity and it unifies everyone together with this cause." The campaign is shifting the focus from the physical image girls see in the bathroom mirror to inner beauty -- for anyone who may need a boost.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Little Bunny Fu-Fu: the romantic version

Back in 1998, a guy from New Hampshire named Mark DeAngelis proposed to his future wife in a very unique way. He met her at an Easter egg hunt, where he was dressed as a bunny. She was surprised when the giant bunny got down on one knee and proposed. She said yes. Now fast forward 20 years.


Mark's wife Jolene was returning from a vacation in Florida with their two daughters, so Mark got a new bunny costume and met her plane at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. As soon as she saw the costume, she knew it was Mark and started laughing. Then he popped off his bunny head, got down on one knee and proposed again. When she said yes again, he gave her a platinum ring (for 20th anniversaries) and put it in a giant silver egg for her to open. Jolene told reporters she was shocked, and talked about what a great husband and dad Mark has been all these years.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Police officer hailed for kindness

Earlier this month Ryan Paul of Woodbridge, New Jersey, called 911. Ryan is 12-years-old and has autism. His parents taught him to call 911 for emergencies, and he could not find his teddy bear. So he told the dispatcher, "The teddy bear fell down again. Don't worry. I'll rescue you. Goodbye again. See you again." Ryan hung up before the dispatcher could reply, and protocol demands an officer be sent for all terminated calls. So officer Khari Manini arrived at Ryan's house shortly after the call.

                                                                                                                                  WGN-TV
Manzini was just the man for the job. Using his specialized training received from the POAC Autism Services for dealing with special needs citizens, he was able to work with Ryan and figure out why he called 911. Then the officer joined in the search until he found the missing bear, and Ryan was delighted. "Ryan was very happy to see me," he said later, "and I was actually happy to see him, and happy and that we had gotten the teddy bear back."  Ryan's parents promised they will now teach him what kind of emergencies warrant a 911 call.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Obeying Matthew 6:6 pays off

In the Bible we read, "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray unto thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." A family in Lee County, Alabama, took this guidance to heart when their neighborhood was struck by an E4 tornado in March. It took the lives of 20 local residents.


Jason Smith, a volunteer aiding with rescue relief, was astonished to find a home that was entirely missing except for one part. "It was grandmother's prayer closet," he said. In the now-viral photos he posted, all you can see all that is left of the house are two slabs of wall that Smith was told were part of a prayer closet, where the entire family hid and survived. No doubt they prayed.






Monday, March 25, 2019

Hank can eat all the shoes he wants

Today's crumb includes no city or state, but it was shared by a trusted reader in Indiana. It's about a dog named Hank, seen below. Six years ago, when he was still a puppy, Hank ate a pair of his owner's shoes, but he made up for it on March 23, and now he can eat as many shoes as he wants.


Everyone in the family was in bed asleep on March 23 except Hank's owner, who stayed up late on the couch to finish watching a movie. Suddenly Hank began barking in the next room and would not stop. When his owner tried to quiet the dog, he looked outside and noticed his yard was glowing orange. A wooden work shed containing paint and gasoline was on fire. "We got everyone up; 911 on the line; the whole family and both dogs out front in a matter of seconds. Our neighbor's shed went up like a torch," he said, but firefighters arrived quickly and put the fire out. Except for one charred wall, Hank's house was not damaged, and nobody was hurt. "Hank saved so many lives that night," said his owner, "and he can have all the shoes he wants -- or steaks!"

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Troublesome dog adopted

Pete Buchman has worked in construction since graduating from high school, but when he lost his job in 2014 he was unable to pay the rent on his apartment and had to move into a tent. He enjoyed it for a while, but it was hard on his 9-year-old dog Buster. So Buchman brought Buster to Faithful Friends Animal Society in Wilmington, North Carolina, and found a homeless shelter up the road for himself. Buchman would walk five miles every day to see Buster, and began volunteering at the shelter, walking other dogs for two or three hours each day.


After national news mentioned Buchman's story, a local man give him a truck for free. Transitional Housing gave him six months free rent at a nearby apartment complex. A fire security company offered him a job, which he still has, and folks from around the world donated over $39,000. But Buchman never stopped volunteering at the shelter, even after his beloved Buster died. Soon the shelter asked a favor. Would he consider fostering a troublesome dog named Matteo who barked at everything and hated women? His answer was "yes." He had bonded with the dog during long walks and took him home for a weekend. Before long he adopted Matteo, and since then the dog has stopped hating women, and only barks when Buchman starts the vacuum cleaner.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

What? No waffle fries?

According to Noblesville, Indiana, police, a cow escaped from transport trailer and enjoyed a night on the town this month. The busy bovine roamed the streets, while the person responsible for the cow was trying to capture him. Police finally received an animal complaint near the corner of Tegler Drive and Bergen Boulevard.


After roaming near the Koto Japanese Steak House, the cow apparently saw the word "steak" and led officers across a busy street while walking toward a safe haven -- a Chick-fil-a restaurant, where ads show cows urging people to eat more chicken. Officers finally wrangled the cow after a one-hour chase, and it was returned to its owner without any waffle fries. The police department said on Facebook that "NPD was able to 'run with the bulls last night.'"

Friday, March 22, 2019

The American dream is still possible

A 17-year-old student in Jersey City, New Jersey, has already been accepted by 17 (that's seventeen!) different colleges, which is unusual because he's been homeless on and off since he was young. His name is Dylan Chidick. He came to the United States from Trinidad with his mom when he was seven, but he's a U.S. citizen now.

Even though his family has been homeless several times since he was young, he still managed to make it into the National Honor Society, and he's also president of his class at high school. He says his mom's courage is what inspires him to work so hard. He's determined to lift his family up so they don't need to struggle so much. He's still waiting to hear back from The College of New Jersey, near Trenton. It's his top choice, because it's close to his mom. He will major in political science.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

What does "empathy" mean?

Members of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, feel great empathy with Muslim members of the mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, where at least 50 people were shot recently while worshipping. The synagogue in Pittsburgh lost 11 of its own members in a shooting last October.


"We're unfortunately part of a club that nobody wants to be part of, and we wanted to reach out to New Zealand in the same way everyone reached out to us," said Tree of Life president Sam Schachner. The synagogue's GoFundMe page hopes to raise $100,000 to "show them that love is stronger than hate."

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Music can soothe a child's fears

A school security officer is praised for a heartwarming moment of kindness with a frightened middle school student recently. Meaghan King, a special needs teacher in Santa Rosa, California, said the special needs student had been standing in the school hallway because she was afraid to go outside. "She was having a hard time transitioning from the hallway to outside," said King. "Transitions are tough." That's when school security officer Chris Morrison noticed the child.

                                                                                                 Courtesy of Meaghan King
As seen above, she walked up to offer the youngster some comfort. She noticed that the child was anxiously clutching a Kermit the Frog toy. Inspired by the toy, Officer Morrison gently started singing "Rainbow Connection" (The lovers, the dreamers, and me) to ease the child's fear. And it worked! Said Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Jeneane Kucker, "Morrison is a very caring officer to go out of her way to assist a teacher with this child."

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

a "cream-filled" donut tweet

Billy By's dad owns a donut shop in Missouri City, Texas, where he bakes donuts fresh every morning. But one day recently his dad felt sad. His parking lot was empty, and he had no customers. Billy saw how depressed it dad was, so he snapped some photos of the empty shop and parking lot, and shared them on Twitter.


The boy's tweet generated more than 254,000 likes and 147,000 retweets. Some responded to the message, calling on others to come to the store. Soon the store was crowded with customers buying donuts, and before closing time they were all sold. The same thing happened the next day, all thanks to a son who cared enough to tweet.

Monday, March 18, 2019

A crumb from the Dalai Lama

"The destructive effects of hatred are very visible, obvious and immediate. A hateful thought overwhelms one totally and destroys one's peace and presence of mind. Generally speaking, hateful thoughts arise when we feel hurt, when we feel we have been unfairly treated by someone, against our expectations. If one reacts in a negative way instead of a tolerant way, there is no immediate benefit, and a negative attitude is created which is the seed of one's future downfall.


"Hatred makes the best part of our brain, the ability to judge between right and wrong, become totally inoperable. It is almost as if the person has become crazy. Insofar as the destructive effects of anger and hateful thoughts are concerned, one cannot get protection from wealth, nor can education guarantee one will be protected from these effects. Nor can law guarantee protection. The only factor that can give refuge or protection from the destructive effects of anger and hatred is the practice of tolerance and patience."

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Teens save child on ski lift

An eight-year-old slipped and was left dangling from the side of a chair lift nearly 20 feet in the air. It happened at Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, Canada. A teenager named James Macdonald saw the boy and doubted he could not keep a grip for very long, so he asked a nearby man for orange netting usually used to mark ski boundaries.

                                                                                                                                   CNN
Macdonald and two friends had just finished skiing down the mountain. One friend tried to calm the boy, who was panicking, while another slipped padding from a pole and inserted it into the net to give it more support. Once the net was ready, Macdonald calmly instructed the boy to remove his skis. He then told the father to release his grip on his son. He did, the the boy dropped safely into the net. About 10 people who held the net cheered loudly. The boy was not hurt.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Purse lost, and found

A teenager who lost her purse at her Indiana high school in 1954 is finally getting it back, including a 65-year-old prom invitation she tucked inside.


As the Greater Clark County School system was preparing to demolish part of old Jefferson High recently, someone recovered a long-lost purse belonging to Martha Ina Ingham from behind a cabinet. The tiny time capsule several sweet mementos that Martha, now in her 80s, assumed were gone forever. There was a wallet with Martha's ID and Social Security card, photos, Juicy Fruit wrappers and newspaper clippings.


There was also a 1953-54 Jefferson High basketball schedule, a coral lipstick and a pin. Best of all, there was a note from an admirer asking Martha to the prom. "Dear Marty, I've heard that Paul has asked you to go to the prom with him. If he hasn't, I would like very much to take you. Love, Torchy" There's also another note from a boy named Carter. "Paul is an alright guy. But you'll never catch him. He runs to fast. Ha! Ha!" The school put this information on its Facebook page, asking anyone who knows Martha to be in touch. Maybe Carter or Torchy or Paul will reply.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Go to the library (for a prom dress?)

High school proms are often unforgettable celebrations for teens preparing to start a new chapter of their lives. But unfortunately, prom outfits can be very expensive. That's why the public libraries in Dallas, Texas, started giving away hundreds of free prom dresses to high school students.


For the sixth year in a row, the libraries hosted their Fairy Tale Closet program, during which students are encouraged to hunt through racks of free new, and gently used, formal wear that were donated by residents and retail outlets.  The event not only helps graduating seniors to save money for college, but it helps teens feel more comfortable using the library as a valuable resource for their academic and personal needs.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

A crumb from Raleigh, North Carolina

There's an eatery in Raleigh called State Farmers' Market Restaurant. It's owned by Gypsy Gilliam, and she might be the "world's best boss." Recently she shut down the whole restaurant for a few days so she could take all 20 of her employees and their families to Disney World.


She paid for everything, including hotels, tickets to enter the park and all the meals. One employee named Jessica Burr got pretty emotional. She has a five-year-old son, and says she never could have done this for him on her own. Gilliam told local news that she wouldn't have her business without her employees, and she wants them to know how much she appreciates them.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

This is what best friends do

Tanner Wilson is a high school senior in Norman, Arkansas. One of his best buddies is Brandon Quails, who has some disabilities and uses a wheelchair. Tanner says Brandon has been a really good friend to him, and has always been there for him, so he wanted to do him a favor.


Brandon's always used a regular wheelchair, even though it makes his arms tired, because his parents cannot afford an electric chair. So without telling Brandon, Tanner started saving money from his part-time job working as a mechanic. After saving for two years, he showed up with an electric wheelchair and surprised Brandon at school. Brandon had no idea, and broke down in tears. He says he couldn't believe anyone would do that for him.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Recommended reading for all ages

John Steinbeck wrote timeless novels including The Grapes of WrathEast of Edenand Of Mice and Men. But a few years before he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962, he realized he'd lost touch with his favorite topic, the people of America. So in 1960 he had a custom camper built on the back of a GMC pickup for an ambitious cross-country road trip. At the last minute, he decided to take his wife's 10-year-old poodle, Charley. He drove 10,000 miles through 38 states, using the tools of his trade to depict the sounds, smells, colors, hopes and fears of American in his 1962 book, Travels with Charley.


His unique camper, named Rocinante after Don Quixote's horse, has been restored and is now on display at the National John Steinbeck Center in Salinas, CA.

Travels with Charley is more an observation than a diary. As he and Charley moved slowly from state to state, Steinbeck wrote, "I wonder why progress looks so much like destruction." He concluded, "I suppose our capacity for self-delusion is boundless." And later in California, "The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark that stays with you. No one has ever successfully photographed a redwood tree. They are ambassadors from another time."

"Crumbs of Comfort" recommends reading Travels with Charley, even if you recall it from college. You'll find it improves with age and will leave you wiser than before. If your local library does not have a copy, visit http://www.amazon.com/Travels-Charley-Search-America-Steinbeck/dp/0140053204

Saturday, March 9, 2019

You want fries with that? And a side order of joy?

Art Mason lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is planning to retire, again. He used to work in a factory, and when he was about 60 he retired. But he needed something to do, and his local McDonalds didn't have enough people. So the manager asked if he'd fill in for a few weeks, and he agreed.

                                                                                                              Boyd Hulppert, KARE
After a few weeks, he agreed to work a few more weeks, and now he's been at the drive-thru window for 29 years, because he says he's "a people person." He's outlasted every other employee, plus all the managers and even the original owners. People love him, and one brought him a scarf recently so he'd be warm when the window is open. He says he doesn't want to retire so young, but it's finally time. His last day is May 10, which is also his 89th birthday.

Friday, March 8, 2019

A total cure for PTSD

When former paratrooper and helicopter mechanic Adam Ely of Oklahoma offered to fix his daughter's friend's car, it was a light-bulb moment. The work was easy. He saved her $80, and he decided, "I'd like to do more of this." So he and his wife set up Hard Luck Automotive Services in 2017. He never turns anyone away, promising, "If you can afford the parts, I'll fix it for free. One of his customers, single mom Tamesha Rayes, needed her car to take her eight-year-old son to school. Adam called around to get her the best price on parts, and gave her some coupons to bring the cost down farther. Then he fixed her car for free. Adam even let her son, Tysen, help out. Now Tysen tells everyone he's going to be a mechanic when he grows up, "just like Mr. Adam."


Adam walks with a cane because of knee and back injuries, but this does not stop him from helping others. "It's such a good feeling to give back to people," he says. "I get so much more out of it than they do." His free car repair work also helps him deal with flashbacks and other post-traumatic-stress-disorder symptoms which have challenged him since he left the military in 2007.  He admits, "Doing this gets me through the PTSD 100%!"

Thursday, March 7, 2019

A kindness club for 5th graders

Parker Elementary School is in Elk River, Minnesota. There were some issues in the fifth grade of kids not being very nice to each other," said a social worker at the school. Teachers had talked to students and told them something had to change, because "that's just not how you treat people."


Fifth-grade teacher Matt Greenhoe was talking about this in class when student Ady Bollinger suggested they form a Kindness Club. Since then, the club has blossomed. Ady says they started the club to feel safer at school and stop bullying. It has initiated several kindness projects. There is now a bucket on display where people can drop notes about random acts of kindness they have seen. Club members read these during school announcements. Before Christmas, club members started Operation Candy Cane, where they gave all 600 students a candy cane with a note. During Holly Jolly Week, they put kindness notes on lockers of students with special needs. Now they are rehearsing a play based on the book "Stop" about a girl who is bullied and the friend who helps her. Greenhoe says students give up recess time to work on the Kindness Club.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Fireman speaks child's language

Lt. Mike Rheault is a firefighter in Manchester, New Hampshire. Recently he responded to a call from an apartment building where three floors of smoke alarms went off all at once. As he was checking out the building, he saw a young boy standing in the doorway of an apartment. His name was Tegan and he looked like he wanted to say something.


Using his intuition, Lt. Rheault asked Tegan if he knew sign language. The fireman's parents were both deaf, so he knew sign language well and he introduced himself as Mike. After Tegan signed his own name, Tegan's mom Amy pulled out her phone and recorded Lt. Rheault teaching her son to sign "fireman" before giving the boy a high-five. Tegan's mom said her son was just standing there like, "Oh my god, someone is signing with me." She said he is not going to forget that, and neither is she. The station later delivered a fireman's had to Tegan.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

"Do you know this lost dog?"

Jason Gasparik found a lost dog wandering near Ballantyne Commons Parkway in Charlotte, North Carolina, recently. He checked it for a microchip, and found one, but sadly it was not registered and no data was available. But Jason didn't give up. He posted information about the lost dog on his social media accounts and several lost pet Facebook pages.

                                                                                                  Photo by Julie Holmes

When none of his efforts found the dog's owner, Jason went the extra mile, standing with the canine on the corner near where she was found, holding a sign that said "Do you know this lost dog?" During the two days Jason stood by the street, the canine's owner, Ed, was driving around looking for his lost lab named Indy. Because of a back injury, Ed could not walk easily, but he'd stop his car and ask folks if they'd seen his dog. When he showed his photo of Indy to a lady walking her own lab, she remembered Jason's social posts and his hours on the street corner. She connected the two men, and Indy was happy to be reunited with her rightful owner.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Young boy launches crochet crusade

Nearly everyone, whether they crochet or not, has probably heard about Jonah Larson. The 11-year-old from Wisconsin became a master crocheter before most people even think to pick up a crochet hook. He's only been crocheting for six years, but already crochets at lightening-fast speed.

Jonah was only five when he found a crochet hook in a bag of craft items. He learned by watching crochet video tutorials. Because of his Instagram and Facebook accounts, people began noticing his beautiful pieces and his story went viral. He now uses his skill to teach others, and also raises money and awareness for Roots Ethiopia, a non-profit organization located in the Ethopian village where he was born.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Do parents read bedtime stories anymore?

Belinda George is principal of Homer Drive Elementary School in Beaumont, Texas. She doesn't call her children students. She calls them scholars, and since mid-December, she's been reading them a bedtime story every Tuesday night. She sits in front of her iPhone in her pajamas and reads a story which is streamed via the school Facebook page.

                                                                                                 Kim Brent, The Enterprise
"I want to extend what I do beyond 4 p.m.," she explains, "and I'm not in every child's home so I don't know if they have someone to read to them at night. I don't have children of my own, so I love these kids with all my heart." Parents and children love the principal's outreach. Keava Turner has four children, and they all watch the live stream bedtime story. "I have a 14 year old, a third-grader, and a first-grader," she said, "and even my 10-month old sits still to watch and listen."

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Remember when people wrote thank-you notes?

Don is 86 years old. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and last month he bought a VCR (remember them?) from Matt Shoukry on eBay for forty dollars. Don never bought anything on eBay before, so he didn't know he could leave feedback online. So instead, he sent a hand-written thank-you note. In his note, he explained that he recently found a bunch of old tapes, but had no way to watch them. He thanked Matt for the prompt delivery and said the VCR was like new.


But that's not all he wrote. He mentioned that he saw footage from his retirement 25 years ago which he'd never seen before, adding, "Jeez, we were young." And he was able to watch his wedding video, and see some family and friends who are no longer with us. Some tapes showed him skiing with his kids before they were grown up. Matt was so blown a way by the thank-you note that he framed it. He also wrote back to Don to say thank you, and offered to digitize all his tapes so they're easier to watch.

Friday, March 1, 2019

"The wheels on the train go round and round," usually

Almost 200 Amtrak passengers were featured on the news last month after they were stranded aboard a train for more than 30 hours because of a blizzard. The train was going from Seattle to Los Angeles when it hit a tree that had fallen across the tracks near Eugene, Oregon. Because of record snowfall and power outages in Eugene, Amtrak officials decided passengers would be safest if they stayed on the train, which provided heat, light, food and bathrooms.


Later, one passenger remembered, "We really wanted for nothing except someplace comfortable to lie down and a shower." Passenger Rebekah Dodson told CNN that "strangers are playing cards. A teenager played his ukulele to kids to help them go to sleep. Ladies were dancing in the aisles. It's been like a giant kumbaya party."  Dodson also thanked Amtrak staffers aboard the train for "working over 30 hours while we were stuck, and still being polite and professional."