Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Motherly advice goes viral

 The world really needs more people like Poonam Sapra and her son Pranav. Especially this year. Together, the mother-son duo from India runs the "Mother With a Sign" Instagram page. They post photos of Poonam holding up signs with wholesome, relatable and humorous motherly advice for living a happy life.

They started the page eight months ago and, since then, they've gained a whopping 108,000 followers. Poonam and Pranav's content is nearly universal because the world is filled with moms who constantly give out helpful advice.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

A retirement home for senior dogs

Marty's Place Senior Dog Sanctuary, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of senior dogs by ensuring they will have a loving home for life. Located in Upper Freehold Township, New Jersey, Marty's Place offers senior dogs (seven years of age or older) physical comfort, emotional care and enrichment in a safe, loving and protected environment.

 Each dog has ample living space, human and canine companionship, medical and dental care, and access to physically and mentally stimulating activities suited to their age and ability. Senior dogs at Marty's Place come mainly from pet owners. Once here, they have a home for life.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Is this an encouraging sign of the times?

Whenever Joseph Beer went walking with his mom, he noticed dozens of neglected street signs and hedgerows in his neighborhood. The 15-year-old, who has autism, decided he wanted to clean up the streets. With help from his dad, he rigged up a trailer to hook on the back of his bike and started pedaling around the streets near his house.

Almost every day, Joseph, from Chatteris in Cambridgeshire, England, has headed off to do more tidying up. He's scrubbed signs that have been left almost unreadable due to moss growing over them. And his neighborhood is grateful.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Tony was lonely, but not anymore

Tony Williams, 75, lives in Alton, in England's East Hampshire. After his wife Jo died, he tried to make new friends. He even put an ad in the paper. But nobody responded. Finally he put this sign in his window. It went viral. Can you guess what happened next?

 Tony received so many emails they crashed his inbox, plus hundreds of phone calls from America, Germany, Holland, Australia, Egypt, India and Japan. Some have suggested their kids adopt him as a grandfather. Tony says, "The love and compassion people have shown has actually brought tears to my eyes. People have sent me the most delightful emails."

Saturday, September 26, 2020

The ultimate birthday party!

 Wolfgang Reader is just three years old. He lives in Toronto, Canada, and his friends call him Wolfy. His obsession is garbage trucks and the men who drive them. He has his own fleet of toy garbage trucks to play with. Friday is his favorite day of the week. That's when the garbage truck comes past his house. With the pandemic lockdown, his parents knew they could not give him a big party. They told him to invite a few friends, and he insisted it be the men who collect his garbage.

Since his birthday fell on Wednesday, his mom doubted the men would come, but his grandmother wrote to the City of Toronto saying Wolfy thought garbage men were superheroes. On the morning of September 9, four bright green garbage trucks, horns honking, rolled up the street to the delight of the birthday boy. His mom said, "The men came bearing gifts, howling out their windows and even took time to play with Wolfy. He even got to honk the horn! Does it get any better?"

Friday, September 25, 2020

When political affiliation doesn't matter

 Gloria Scott, 72, has lived alone in her home in Woburn, Massachusetts, for over ten years. She has little money for maintenance, so she only calls for help in emergencies. Recently she called electrician John Kinney when sparks began shooting out of a light fixture. He realized it was the least of her problems. "There were holes in the ceiling, raccoons were getting in," he said. Her kitchen sink was broken so she only turned the water supply on every few days to flush toilets. Kinney knew Scott needed help, but she would never ask for it. So....

He came back the following Monday and began working for free. In order to make all needed fixes, he needed more people. He started a fundraiser page called "Nice old lady needs help," and within 24 hours, people donated $3,500. Since then, the total has topped $100,000. These donations paid skilled professionals to work on the house, but volunteers also showed up with donated materials. And local restaurants sent over meals! Scott's whole life has changed. According to Kinney, "She's warmed up to everybody. She's so happy. She has all types of new friends. She's out there making lunch for us, laughing and joking. It's a miracle to witness."

Thursday, September 24, 2020

A picture is worth a thousand words

 According to a Facebook friend, this young man had a very old bike. It was so old that the brakes did not work, and he accidentally dented this man's car.

Instead of being angry with the boy, the driver of the car met him a few days later, and to everyone's surprise, gave him a new bike.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

East Nashville Kroger's has a "spiritual mother"

LaShenda Williams, 46, had been homeless on and off in Nashville, Tennessee, for years. She'd been addicted to drugs, and has a learning disability which makes reading and writing difficult. Last year she spent nights sleeping in her car in the parking lot of the Nashville East Kroger store, until they advertised a hiring fair. She visited the store each day to greet staff and buy a few items, so she asked the manager, "Maybe I would work here one day. You got room for me?"

 The manager said she'd help Williams fill out an application online. When the prompt appeared that she had successfully applied, the manager gave her the good news, "You're hired." Williams said, "I couldn't believe it. I hugged her and cried. It was overwhelming. Somebody gave me a chance." She calls herself Kroger's spiritual mother, since she loves and tries to uplift everyone she meets. A few months later, a customer helped her find an apartment, and co-workers and customers collected household items for her. Today, if you want to feel loved, use the East Nashville Kroger automatic check out lane, where she'll assist you gladly.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Paying it forward

 Paying for another person's food is an act of kindness that many participate in. That's what happened on Friday, Sept. 18, at a Dairy Queen drive-thru in Gretna, Virginia. A total of 256 people paid for the meal of the person behind them, according to general manager Janie Fleck.

She says it all started early Friday at 7 a.m. with a person paying it forward. As of 2 p.m., the kindness had been going on for seven hours and counting. Who knows? It may still be going on.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

10-year-old discovers treasure

 When Fionntan Hughes, age 10, of Northern Ireland was given a metal detector for his birthday in July, he could hardly wait to try it out. And the first time he did, he found a buried treasure -- the remains of a 300-year-old sword buried on the banks of the River Blackwater near his family home.

"I felt was a sword and it was just here. I didn't expect to find anything too big," he said. He had no idea what the mud-covered object might be until he dug it up, brought it home and cleaned it up. Experts have confirmed it is several centuries old.

Friday, September 18, 2020

A coffin with a grateful message

Suttie Economy, 94, lives in Roanoke, Virginia. He's a WWII veteran and he has never forgotten how (during the war) the Wrigley company stopped selling Spearmint, Doublemint and Juicy Fruit chewing gum to civilians, so that their entire supply went to the military.

He's known famously around Roanoke for giving it away to friends and strangers alike, as part of his mission to remind people about World War II and to honor the veterans who died for our freedom. Recently he announced he'll continue his mission after death, by having his coffin painted like a pack of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit gum.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Woman donates kidney to officer who arrested her

From 2007 until 2012, Jocelynn James of Franklin County, Alabama, was addicted to opioids and support her drug habit by stealing and breaking the law. Officer Terrell Potter arrested her multiple times. Now the woman is saving Potter's life, because she believes he saved hers.

Last November the officer learned he needed a new kidney, but doctors said the wait would be seven or eight years. As soon as Ms. James saw the Facebook post about Potter, she heard God tell her to donate her organ, and the two were a perfect match. The surgery went extremely well. Ms. James currently runs a non-profit organization that provides drug counseling to women, and this November she will celebrate eight years sober. The former officer now considers her like "another daughter," saying, "It's made a great relationship and bond between us."

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

A crumb from Cracker Barrel

Clair Richardson, RN, of Woodlands, Texas, recently posted this on her Facebook page, along with the photo. She wrote, "Tonight I witnessed an act of kindness that brought me to tears. We were eating at Cracker Barrel, and as we finished I noticed an elderly woman sitting alone, drinking milk and waiting for her meal. She looked very lonely. I wondered why she was at the restaurant at 8 p.m., which is like midnight on old people time."

A short time later, when Clair looked back, three big, burley middle-aged men were moving the elderly woman to their table. "She was smiling from ear to ear, her face all lit up, and she was just talking like she had not talked to another person in a long time. I was seriously choked up, as was my husband. As we left, we left them some money for their meal and thanked them for restoring our faith in humanity. I snapped a picture, but really, I will forever remember this moment."

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Two years of college, free

Hormel Foods will begin offering two years of free college tuition to all the children of their American employees, beginning next year. Not based on achievement test scores or GPA, the new program is a way to create equality in college admissions, and the company hopes many who take advantage of the offer will be first-generation college students in their families.

Called "Inspired Pathways," the program begins in the fall of 2021. The company has 16,000 domestic employees and the program is open to any dependent child of those workers. Hormel has more than 30 plant and office locations in the U.S., mostly in the Midwest, and the kids can attend any community college as long as they graduate from high school and meet the college's entry requirements.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Isolation ends for some seniors

The Dreamweaver Foundation has provided 300 free Facebook Portals to seniors in nursing homes in Nebraska and Iowa. Grateful reactions have ranged from "tears of joy" to an overwhelming sense of relief. Most seniors who received a portal were connected to loved ones for the first time in months.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based nonprofit usually grants wishes to seniors, like hot-air balloon rides, but that stopped when the pandemic hit. According to Dreamweaver Foundation executive director Cheri Mastny, "With a portal, the buttons are super large so it's very easy to touch and use. It has a big speaker in the back, so the sound is much better for someone who is hard of hearing."

Saturday, September 12, 2020

You deserve a break today, so get up and get away...

Rikesh Patel owns 25 McDonald's franchises in Louisiana. After Hurricane Laura hit his town, he called the corporate office and within one day a kitchen-on-wheels dubbed "McRig" arrived in Lake Charles to help feed families in need.
Over the next six days including Labor Day weekend, McRig served more than 10,000 free brown bag meals of cheeseburgers, fries and bottle water to families in need. But there's more. Some of Patel's restaurants are still closed due to storm damage and power outages, but for those employees who can work he's offered to pay time-and-a-half, AND to provide housing if they need it.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Teens give tours to rookie cops

North Lawndale is one of the most dangerous parts of Chicago, Illinois. But local teens are trying to change that. Part of the required training for rookie Chicago police officers is a walking tour of the area, guided by local teens who want future officers to see the good parts of the community, as well as the bad.

Beside the rough edges of North Lawndale,  which lacks grocery stores, youth take police on a tour of a neighborhood garden where "everything is edible and free." For the teens, giving tours to rookie cops is their summer job. They work for an organization that cooperates with police to reduce violence in the area.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Remember Andy leaving his toys behind when he left for college?

A boy's first day of school photo has gone viral after he recreated the iconic goodbye scene from the Toy Story movie to mark the occasion. Obsessed with the Pixar film, Vinny Donnelly has collected all the toys featured in the movie, including Buzz Lightyear and Woody. The 4-year-old stood at the door of his home in Leicestershire, England, to "wave" goodbye to them on his first day of school.

Vinny's dad took the photo which echoes the tear-jerking scene in Toy Story 3 when Andy finally leaves his toys behind as he heads off to college. Since posting the heartwarming image on Facebook, tens of thousands of people across the world have liked and shared it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Could she have planted this bush?

The town of Ladysmith, in British Columbia, Canada, was pretty much unknown until this bush put it on the map. A giant rhododendron spanning 25 feet by 30 feet blooms about 4,000 blossoms every spring.

It's almost 125 years old, and has become such a botanical wonder online and by in-person visitors that it's been given its own name -- Lady Cynthia. Photos of an elderly woman standing next to the bush have circulated on the internet, claiming she actually planted the bush. This has not been verified, but if she's a long-time resident of Ladysmith, she watched the bush grow from a small shrub to the resplendent bush we see today.

Rare book found in dumpster

 In a small town near Lake Tahoe, back in December, 1914, Max Brown was rummaging through a dumpster for a community service project when he spotted a pile of ancient books. It was starting to rain, so the 37-year-old took as many as he could carry home to safety. For six months they sat on his shelf, before he and a friend opened them to check out the delicate pages.

In two of the books he found hand-written inscriptions that said, "From the library of Thomas Jefferson." He emailed an expert at Jefferson's presidential library and asked if she could verify the books' origin. (He did not mention he found them in a dumpster.) The expert declared that they had, indeed, been purchased in 1818 by Thomas Jefferson, who also wrote the Declaration of Independence.

Monday, September 7, 2020

"He was like Spider-Man"

New York City firefighter Brian Quinn was recently lowered down via rope to a panicked woman clinging to the outside of the apartment window and standing on the narrow sill in Harlem. Quinn and a fellow firefighter went to the 17th floor, just above the woman, and he managed to climb down and hold her securely to keep her from falling. "I just said, 'I'm not going to let you fall. We're going to get you inside.'"

Crews eventually extinguished the flames, and the woman was able to re-enter her apartment through the window, without being lowered to the ground. Bystanders below said Quinn's heroics looked like something out of a move. Said one, "He was like Spider-Man, encasing her body to make her feel safe."

Sunday, September 6, 2020

It takes a village to land a plane

 As his plane circled overhead, the pilot searched the darkness of a remote Alaskan village for a runway light. But the runway lights at the airport in Igiugig, Alaska, had failed recently, hampering efforts to airlift a local girl to the nearest hospital 280 miles away in Anchorage. That's when the villagers in the tight-knit tribal community (population 70) sprang into action.

Ida Nelson, a tribal clerk and newsletter editor, said her neighbor made 32 phone calls to mobilize the villagers. Most responded. At least 20 vehicles, including Ida's Honda 4-by-4, lit the runway with their headlights, helping the pilot of the LifeMed Alaska flight to land safely.

Friday, September 4, 2020

A crumb of comfort from Moscow

Do any of your friends spend $700/month for dog food? That's what Anastasia Pomorina does. She lives in a two-room apartment in a high rise in Moscow, Russia, which she shares with more than a dozen homeless dogs. "I never know how many dogs I have," she says. "Does it really matter?

                                                                                              Washington Post
Some neighbors complain about her canines, but others shyly put money into her hand to assist with the dogs. Veterinary inspectors come every now and then to verify her dogs are well cared for. She is part of a small network of six Moscow women called Fluffy Help. There is a great need to care for homeless dogs. Anastasia cannot take a day off. On the bright side, during pandemic lock-down from the end of March to early June, all outdoor exercise in Moscow was banned -- except walking dogs.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Take a blessing. Leave a blessing.

Before it developed into a trademark program throughout the state of Kansas, Paxton's Blessing Box started with a $38 trip to Dollar Tree in Wichita. That's how much money Maggie Ballard and her son, Paxton Burns, needed to fill a crimson box in front of their house with pre-packaged food products in October, 2016. A sign on the box read, "Take a blessing when you need one. Leave a blessing when you can."

So many people donated food to the box that Ballard and her son never spent another dollar. But that's not all. The crimson boxes have become popular in Kansas with 75 locations so far, allowing those in need to grab food whenever they want while others replenish the boxes with donations.

Every first grader gets a.....Jeep?

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Students without WiFi get creative

As millions of students head back to school virtually from their comfortable homes, two girls in Salinas, California, relied on Taco Bell's free WiFI to access their coursework from the restaurant parking lot. The photo below has made the rounds on social media, since it illustrates the digital divide among children in America.

The identity of the children was not disclosed, but the Salinas City Elementary School District recognized them immediately. The district gave the family a hotspot so the children could access classroom instruction from their homes, since the district is currently on full distance learning.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Dogs are man (and woman's) best friend

Gwendola Johnson, 88, of Glendale, California, is forever grateful to her dog Sandy. On July 10, Johnson walked out the front door of her home and fell on the ground. "I didn't really hurt myself," she said, "but I couldn't get up." As she lay on the ground, she saw Kirk White of Glendale Integrated Waste Management. He was walking up her driveway, pulling her trash cans. "When I saw him, I said to Sandy, 'you go get him,' so he did" said Johnson.

Security footage from Johnson's home shows Sandy rushing quickly to White and barking at him. White said, "The way he was barking, like, I have something to show you, come follow me this way, indicated something was wrong." Sandy then led White right back to Johnson and White helped her up and made sure she was not injured.