Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Homeless man has close shave with police

His name is Phil and he's homeless. He applied for a job at McDonalds in Tallahassee, Florida, and was told he'd be considered if he shaved his beard. So he went next door to a gas station and tried to shave, but his razor was broken. That's when Officer Tony Carlson appeared. Phil asked for help fixing his razor, and Officer Carlson tightened a screw until it worked. But Phil was having a tough time shaving without any mirror, so Officer Carlson gave him a great shave.

                                                                                                 Tallahassee Police Department
A passerby took a video of the incident and sent it to the police department, where it was put on their Facebook page. It was shared more than 1,000 times on Facebook, but did Phil get a job under the Golden Arches? Phil still needed an ID and Social Security card, and Officer Carlson had good news for him. He'd been contacted by Senator Mark Ribio's office. The staff had seen the story and mailed all the forms that Phil would need. "I didn't do anything special," Carlson said. "It happens all the time."

Monday, July 30, 2018

Thanks to EMTs who work long shifts

An anonymous stranger is making headlines after she picked up the tab for an exhausted group of EMTs who were eating breakfast after a long overnight shift. The medics work for the Toms River First Aid Squad in New Jersey. They had just finished their pancakes at IHOP and asked for the check.

Instead, they were given a receipt from the woman who had already paid for their collective $77 meal. She signed her name "Recovering Addict" and had already left the restaurant. Capt. Alyssa Golembeski said that when she read the note, it brought an emotional hush over the "boisterous bunch" of medics. "It was just a reminder that there is still so much good in the world," she said.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

How most people feel about school teachers

Kimberly Bermudez is a first-grade teacher from Chicago. She recently flew to Florida to see her parents, and the guy sitting next to her on the plane asked what she did for work. She told him how much she loves her job...how she has lots of underprivileged kids, and how amazing their parents are. She said they even go hungry sometimes just so the kids can eat. She mentioned that many teachers dip into their own pockets to buy them stuff, like supplies and clothing..

That's when the guy sitting behind her tapped her on the shoulder. He apologized for eavesdropping, and handed her a stack of five $100 bills. He told her to "do something amazing" with it. After they landed, another guy across the aisle gave her $20, and another gave her $10. She said she is using the money to buy books, backpacks, and other stuff her students need. After she posted something about this on Facebook, other people got in touch to see if they could send in more supplies for her school.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Student helps prevent suicides

There's a span in Sunderland, in northern England called Wearmouth Bridge. Unfortunately, it's a hot spot for suicides. So an 18-year-old  student at East Durham College named Paige Hunter came up with an idea. She attached more than 40 uplifting notes to the side of the bridge.

They say things like "You're not alone" or "Even though things are difficult, your life matters." And now the local police have given her a commendation. They say the notes have already helped save the lives of at least six people. Paige says she's not trying to get attention for herself. She's just trying to help people. But she will hang the commendation on the wall at home, because her parents are proud of her.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Grandmother delivers her granddaughter

Britt Miller has been a 911 dispatcher at Monroe County Central Dispatch in Indiana for 17 years. Until now, she's never actually met anyone she helped. That changed around 7 a.m. one recent morning when Kim Schroeder called to say her daughter-in-law, Bethany, was about to give birth and there was no time to wait for medics. Kim had been a labor and delivery nurse in the '80's, but had not delivered a baby in years. Britt said she had not delivered  a baby over the phone, "so we would do it together.

                                                                                                                              Chris Howell
As reported in the Herald-Times of Bloomington, they did it together, and Brooks Owen Schroeder, 6 pounds and 1 ounce, was born at 6:56 a.m., just ahead of the fire department's arrival. Since then, Britt has visited the family in the hospital and they all listened to a tape of the 911 call. Bethany said the conversation sounded only vaguely familiar because she'd been "a little busy" at the time.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Newborn baby promised a job!

A couple named Robert and Falon Griffin were dropping off their two daughters at a Chick-fil-A in San Antonio, Texas, when Falon went into labor with their third daughter. Robert delivered the baby in one of the stalls in the restaurant bathroom. Mom and baby are both doing great.

The hospital put "born at Chick-fil-A" on her birth certificate and listed Robert as the "attending physician" even though he's not a doctor. The baby's name is Gracelyn, and here's the best part. The owner of the Chick-fil-A franchise has awarded Gracelyn free Chick-fil-A for life! And he promised that once she's old enough, he'll hire her with no questions asked.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Balancing study and play

Most U.S. elementary schools are shortening recess and ramping up the Ritalin so children will be less fidgety, but Eagle Mountain Elementary School near Fort Worth, Texas, is trying a different approach. They tripled recess time in kindergarten and first grade. Instead of 20 minutes of playtime per day, they now get a full hour, divided into four 15 minute periods, in addition to lunchtime.

Some teachers at Eagle Mountain admit they were nervous about how they would keep kids on track academically with all the lost classroom time. But now they say the extra recess has transformed their students. "Their teachers say extra recess has "transformed" the pupils. First grade teacher Cathy Wells told NPR her kids are "way ahead of schedule." Another teacher said she no longer has to continually sharpen pencils for children, since they no longer snap the lead or chew on the wood. Instead they use the pencils for their original purpose -- to write something.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Free supplies for teachers

Ever since 2002, the Teachers' Warehouse in Bloomington, Indiana, has distributed free supplies to K-12 public school teachers in five counties. Last year the Warehouse welcomed 2,012 teachers, handing out $291,894 worth of classroom supplies.

When the doors opened this week, the first teachers went straight to the classroom supply room to stock up on basics: pens, binders, paper. Others hunted down science supplies in the STEM room. Some walked out with art paper large enough for a pre-schooler to trace their whole body onto, or printer paper and ink cartridges. Stuffed animals were available to children to cuddle during silent reading. Most teachers spend hundreds of dollars from their own pocket for classroom supplies, and Teachers' Warehouse, started by the Bloomington Rotary Club, saves them money.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Unusual birthday request

Adisynn Kiker lives in Tool, Texas, where she recently turned eight. Most kids her age would want a party with gifts and treats, but she had a different request. She told her friends and family that all she wanted was food for the rescue pets at the Humane Society of Cedar Creek, near her home. Her mom passed Adisynn's request along on Facebook, where it went viral.

 Donations poured in from businesses and individuals, and Adisynn and her mom helped collect them. In a few days, the shelter posted a list of everything received in Adisynn's name, including 580 pounds of cat litter, 11,591 pounds of dog food, 152 pounds of cat food, 43 gallons of bleach, 7 containers of laundry soap and 60 rolls of paper towels. Said a shelter spokesman, "Our fur babies greatly appreciate it."

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Suits for Soldiers

Hunter & Lords is a high-end menswear store in Columbus, Ohio. During the past four years, between July 4 and Labor Day, the company has asked people to nominate veterans or service members who could use a boost in confidence. Then the store selects eight vets or service members to receive free suits. And these suits are not off-the-rack. They are tailored. Everything from the socks and shoes to the jacket and shirt is custom-made, which is why an entire Hunter & Lords suit costs about $10,000.

"It's a lot easier to join the military than to leave it," says Capt. David Peters after receiving a suit. "The fear and anxiety I felt over the past year has been pretty powerful. This in some ways in like a message from the universe that I'll be okay, that I'll be able to make the transition." The mastermind of Suits for Soldiers, Jim Rieser, admits, "The expression on their face when that clothing goes on their back and when they have their kids watching and their wives watching, that's all I need to see and hear."

Saturday, July 21, 2018

"I've got God on my side."

Birmingham, Alabama college student Walter Carr was recently hired by the moving company Bellhops. The night before his first day of work, his car broke down. So Carr hiked all night, almost 20 miles, to get to work. Police stopped to ask why he was walking along the highway in the dark, and when he told them, they gave him a lift and bought him breakfast.

                                                                                                       Kyle Miller/Greg Corredino
His story eventually reached the CEO of Bellhops moving company, Luke Marklin. He said he was "blown away" by Carr's initiative, so he set up a meeting with Carr and gave him an incredible gift -- the keys to his personal SUV. As Carr accepted the keys, he could barely speak. "Seriously?" he asked. Later he said, holding back tears, "You can do anything you set your mind to do. I've got God on my side."

Friday, July 20, 2018

The real World Cup winners...children

The French soccer team claimed a 4-2 victory against Croatia, ending this year's World Cup final, but one of their players is winning hearts by showing his true character off the field. Kylian Mbappe, 19, is a forward player for the team. He earned about $22,000 for each of the seven games France played in the World Cup.

On top of that, he was given a $350,000 bonus for winning the tournament, which totals almost half-a-million in earnings. But instead of spending it on himself, he is donating all of it, right down to the last penny, to the Premier de Cordee charity, which helps disabled and hospitalized children into sports. He has been supporting the charity since 2017.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Sorority grants dying man's wish

Paul Sonnier, 92, served in WWII and was in the attack at Pearl Harbor. Recently he's lived at SouthernCare Hospice Services in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. That's where he met a social work intern named Jessica Moreau. He always told her that someday he'd teach her to jitterbug. Then, during one of her visits, he said he wished he could have "one last dance with a beautiful woman" before he died.

Moreau and her Phi Mu sorority sisters at the University of Souther Mississippi made his wish come true. "We had such a great time dancing, singing and eating lemon cookies with him," said a Phi Mu Facebook post. Sonnier could not actually get up and dance, but he was delighted to hold the students' hands as they boogied. His granddaughter said, "All these pretty women get to come around him. He gets to hand out flowers and just be himself. He hasn't been himself for a while. Now he's super happy."

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

70 years ago this week, we gave children hope

...hope was candy-coated in Berlin. Here's how it happened. At the end of World War II, Germany was divided into sectors governed by victorious allies. Berlin was also divided, but it lay deep within the Russian sector. Hoping other allies would give up their parts of Berlin, the Russians cut off all road and rail access to the city. For 15 months, allied forces had to fly 15 million tons of supplies, mostly food, into West Berlin to guarantee its freedom. Col. Gail Halvorsen was an airlift pilot. One day after landing a planeload of flour, he noticed 30 children outside the fence of Templehof Airport. Ragged and hungry, they never asked for food. When he passed two sticks of gum through the fence, they did not fight over the treats. They cut the sticks into tiny pieces so each child could have some, or at least sniff the wrapper. Halvorsen was so moved by this unselfishsness that he promised to bring more gum the next day and drop it from his plane before landing. "How will we know you?" the children asked. "I'll wiggle my wings," he said.
Fellow pilots gave him their candy rations, and he dropped candy and gum for two weeks, using handkerchiefs for tiny parachutes. As the crowd of children grew, he received thank-you notes addressed to Onkel Wackelflugel (Uncle Wiggly Wings). When word got back to the United States, the National Confectioners Association offered to donate all the candy Halvorsen could drop. Treats arrived at Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts, where local school children assembled the handkerchief parachutes. By the end of the airlift, 21 tons of candy had been dropped to the children of West Berlin. As one Berliner told Halvorsen years later, "It wasn't just chocolate you gave us. It was hope."

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Here comes the bride!

On June 30, Dulce Gonzalez was sitting in the car with her parents, about to have a panic attack. It was her wedding day, and the ceremony would take place on a beach in Pascagoula, Mississippi. She and the groom and the guests were all sitting in cars at the beach under a torrential downpour. The couple had no Plan B, until neighbors watching from nearby offered their home as a wedding chapel. They even promised to provide champagne.

On her Facebook page, the generous hostess wrote, "I can say it was the fastest wedding we have ever set up (ten minutes). It was the cheapest and the quickest to clean up. We highly recommend impromptu weddings."

Monday, July 16, 2018

Worthy of love

Mary Davis and her husband Ari Kadin have been throwing birthday parties for homeless kids for the last six years. Why do they make this effort? They experienced two miscarriages, and started the charity to help their emotional recovery. Only about 15 homeless kids came to the first party, now about 200 attend one of the six parties thrown each year.

"So many kids on Skid Row need to feel important and loved," Davis explains. "We didn't realize how much joy this would bring us, and it was so healing for me." The couple finally had a child of their own, but have no plans to stop their mission of love.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

What if you won the lottery?

You may have heard of this woman before, but she's in the news again. 55-year-old Rachel Lapierre is a former nurse who lives near Montreal, Canada. Back in 2013, she bought a lottery ticket, something she'd never done before, and she won $1,600 a week for life.

But instead of buying a new house or car, she quit her job and has spent the last five years giving her winnings away. She started a charity called The Humanitarian Book, and now she spends most of her time and money helping poor people all over the world. The BBC just did a big story on her where she talked about why helping others is so important, and she described what real happiness means to her. She said buying stuff is nice, but you don't really need any of it to be happy.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Tapping into inner stillness

A soccer team of 12 boys who were trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand have now been rescued. At first, their coach, Ekapol Chantawong, was criticized for leading them into the cave, which flooded unexpectedly. But he is remembered now as a hero for coaching the team spiritually while they were trapped.

                                                                                                                        Daily Express
Ekapol is a former novice Buddhist monk who still meditates daily. He coached his players how to remain emotionally balanced and tap into their own inner stillness. He taught them to keep themselves calm. While they were trapped under the earth, he taught them some of the basic principles of meditation, which may continue to enrich their lives as they grow into men.

Friday, July 13, 2018

What does "respect" mean?

Generations before David was born, 80 acres of their small family farm in Nebraska was separated out and willed to a distant relative. David grew up hearing the story, and wanted to make the farm whole again. In 2011, he and his family learned the 80 acres would be sold at auction. Now in his 20's, he had to figure out how to raise a lot of money fast. After two weeks of planning he and his dad came up with their "best number." But when they walked into the auction house that night, their hearts sank.

                                                                                                                               Gregg Sutton
The place was packed with over 200 farmers, most of whom had larger farms and could outbid them many times over. When the auctioneer asked for the first bid, David and his dad took a deep breath and made theirs. Then the auctioneer called for a second bid, and silence fell over the room. After many attempts to solicit another bid, the auctioneer took a break. When they reconvened, the second bid was called for, and again there was silence. Finally the auctioneer had no choice but to award David and his father the 80 acres. David was stunned. The farm was complete again. Asked what quality motivated all the other farmers to remain silent, he said, "respect."

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The most loving, perfectest human ever!

Hillary Harris was adopted as an infant. As an adult, she searched for her birth mother and her half-sister Dawn Johnson, but couldn't find them. Then a couple moved into the home next to the house Harris and her husband own in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The woman's name was Dawn and she was from Greenwood, Wisconsin, the place where Harris's sister lived, according to the adoption file. Harris saw her neighbor often, as their homes shared a single driveway. One day Dawn and her partner, Kurt Casperson, ordered a truckload of roof shingles. They were left in the driveway under a tarp which was identified with the name Johnson. Harris was almost speechless.

                                                                                               Courtesy of Hillary Harris
The clues were adding up, but she was afraid to ask. Finally she texted Johnson, "Were you the Loyal Corn Fest queen in 1983," referencing a tidbit in the obit of her birth father, Wayne Clouse, which she found in her adoption file. Dawn replied, "LOL, why are you asking me that?" Harris texted back, "Who was your birth father?" Dawn replied, "Wayne Clouse, but he died in 2010." At that moment, it clicked for both of them. Harris immediately called Johnson, and they talked and cried for hours. The next morning, Johnson went to Harris' house with flowers and a card that said, "Hi, Sis." Over the past year, the two have been inseparable. According to Harris, Johnson is "the most loving, perfectest human ever." (Today's crumb was shared by an alert reader in Indiana.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Kuddos to Bank of America

Richard Overton is the oldest living veteran in the United States. He turned 112 in May. He still likes smoking cigars, drinking whisky and driving to church each Sunday in his truck. But recently someone acquired his Social Security number and his bank account number.  The unknown person made withdrawals from his account.  He's a survivor of Pearl Harbor, Okinawa and Iwo Jima, but could he survive identity theft?

He didn't have to. Bank of American volunteered to restore all his stolen funds. He said he cried when he learned of the bank's generosity. "I couldn't believe it. They made it happen. The executive of the company said he'd take care of this, and he took care of it."

Monday, July 9, 2018

Where else but Scotland?

When "Crumbs of Comfort started in August, 2014, it had one page view and one crumb. Between then and now, we've had over 106,000 page views (about 5,000 per month) from readers in the United States, France, Russia, Germany, United Kingdom and Korea. So thanks, everyone!

Today's crumb comes from Edinburgh, Scotland, where Social Bite, a charity with a chain of sandwich shops, trains and employs homeless men and women in their shops. But after work, employees had to go back on the street, until now. The charity is now building 10 small homes which can house up to 20 people for 12 months each.

The new "homeless" community will will offer job training, counseling, therapy, budgeting advice and education to help tenants get back on track before moving into more permanent accommodations. Once residents complete training and a year-long stay, Social Bite or its partner companies will have job opportunities waiting. By the way, all profits from Social Bite sandwich shops goes to charity. Now that's what we call "taking a bite out of poverty."

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Teaching is still a calling after 81 years

Isabella Dryden of Winnipeg, Canada, retired after a 40-year teaching career, but as soon as her farewell party ended, she went straight back to the classroom -- as a volunteer. "Creative Retirement" asked if she'd teach some classes to senior citizens, and she felt it might be her mission for a few more years.

Dryden never dreamed her new gig would span decades. The 101-year-old says she has not stopped teaching in the past 81 years. "I never gave up that feeling," she said. "Every day I am happy to be in the classroom." What pointed her in the direction of teaching? Her first grade teacher gave her a tiny china cup and saucer for something she did at school. She can't recall what she did, but knows she loved the cup. "I have had it now for 94 years."

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Do cardboard crowns count as gold?

Lloyd and Sandy Howard live in Matawan, New Jersey. This year they celebrated their 50th anniversary with a romantic meal at Burger King. They married in 1968 and on their first anniversary they were running late for a movie so they grabbed a couple of Whoppers. When the same thing happened on their second anniversary, they decided to make it a tradition.

This was their 49th year in a row celebrating their anniversary at Burger King. The only difference was that all six of their grandkids were there, waiting to surprise them. The traditional 50th anniversary gift is gold, and they both wore gold Burger King crowns, so maybe that counts.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Hi Mom, I'm home.

Joanne Loewenstern is 79 years old. She was born in New York City and put up for adoption in 1938. She was always told her mother died at childbirth. I bet you know where this is going.

She never believed the story about her mom, and years ago she hired a detective to look into it. He found nothing, so she gave up until recently, when her daughter-in-law told her about Ancestry.com and got her to send a DNA sample, hoping to find any blood relative. Last May Joanne got an email from a guy named Sam. It turned out he was her biological brother. Then she found her her mom, Lillian Feinsilver, is 100 years old and living in Port St. Lucie, FL., only 70 miles from Joanne's home in Boca Raton. They finally got to meet each other, and Joanne has already returned for a second visit. They have a lot of catching up to do.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

2,340 days of school, and counting!

Kevin Davis of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, recently earned a special honor at his high school. He is the first student ever to graduate with a single absence from Kindergarten through 12th grade. That's 2,340 school days in a row. He even dislocated his shoulder playing football last year and showed up for class the next morning.

He says he watched his parents get up and go to work his whole life, even when they didn't feel great, and that's where he got his work ethic. He plans to study at culinary school next year, and some of his teachers are so impressed by his attendance that they started a GoFundMe page to help pay his tuition. So far he's received $25,000, and promises the money will be spent wisely.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

How far would you walk for a haircut?

In Fruitlands Park, Florida, the luxurious Mia Bella Salon and Spa now sends volunteer hair stylists once a month to the Beyond the Walls Food Pantry to provide poor men and women with free haircuts. Co-owner Danielle Daugherty said only five people signed up the first month, but now more than 40 people are on the list.

                                                                                                                                    Daily Sun
According to Daugherty, "Everyone deserves a luxury haircut. The same people usually come every month. They really rely on this." Some clients walk all the way across town for the haircut, and some depend on the free service as they prepare for job interviews. "It's a godsend," says client Emily Addenbrooke. She says the friendly stylists always cheer her up. "It gives me a new look on life. If I feel depressed, I come here and feel like a new person."

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Kids in jail?"

That's what Shannon Gaggero's six-year-old son asked when his mom told him about children being separated from their parents at the U.S. Mexico border. So with her help, he set up a lemonade stand to raise money to help the families -- not just a physical stand but also a virtual one. They hoped to raise $1,000 but ended up with $13,283.

                                                                                                                  Shannon Gaggero
Gaffero said her family will donate the proceeds to RAICES, a nonprofit in Texas that offers free and low-cost legal advice to immigrants and refugees. She said the experience was a great opportunity to teach children about the importance of keeping families together.  (Today's crumb came from an alert reader in Bloomington, Indiana.)

Monday, July 2, 2018

Hang up and enjoy life!

It's been four long years since La Gautrais Middle School in Ploasne, France banned the use of cell phones. Some expected a negative backlash, but the result has been positive.

The 290 teenage pupils have displayed "more social interaction, more empathy and a readiness to learn at the start of lessons." Students talk and play more at recess. They are active and engaged on field trips, rather than staring at screens. And they say they are closer to their friends as a result of conversing with each other. I wonder if they secretly pass tightly folded notes to each other during class?

Sunday, July 1, 2018

"I'm a Toys R Us kid!"

"I don't want to grow up. I'm a Toys R Us kid," has been a popular jingle for decades, but from now on, there will be no more Toys R Us kids, except maybe in Raleigh, North Carolina.

 On the final day of business at a Toys R Us store in Raleigh's Triangle Town Center, an anonymous good Samaritan paid $1 million to purchase every store left in the store. So instead of spending their final day selling to last-minute customers, store personnel locked the door early and spent all day boxing up the inventory for charity. Shoppers who showed up hoping for bargains didn't seem put off when told the toys had all been sold to a donor, to be given to needed children. "Oh wow, that's nice" said one mom.