Sunday, April 25, 2021

Railway employee saves boy, and more.

After saving the life of a little boy who fell on the tracks, an Indian railway employee went viral on the Internet for his kindness. Now he's being praised again -- this time for giving the boy's family money the Ministry of Railways gave him as a reward.
When 30-year-old Mayur Shelke was given $660 from the Ministry in a special ceremony, he decided to donate a good portion toward the education of the boy he saved. "I'll give half of the amount, given to me as a token of appreciation, for that child's welfare and education," he said. "I came to know that his family isn't financially strong. So I decided this."

Saturday, April 24, 2021

"He was miming for his life."

Marcel Marceau's talent for pantomime entertained audiences around the world for over 60 years. It also saved hundreds of Jewish children during the Holocaust. Born to a Jewish family in Strasbourg, France, in 1923, he was a fan of Charlie Chaplin and dreamed of performing in silent movies. When he was 16, the Nazi's invaded France and the Jews of Strasbourg fled for their lives. Marcel changed his last name to Marceau to avoid being identified as Jewish, and he joined the French resistence.
Masquerading as a boy scout, Marcel evacuated a Jewish orphanage in eastern France. He told the children he was taking them on a vacation in the Alps, and led them to safety in Switzerland. He made this perilous journey three times, saving hundreds of Jewish orphans. He was able to keep the children quiet by entertaining them with silent pantomime. According to a friend, "Marceau started miming to keep children quiet as they were escaping. It had nothing to do with show business. He was miming for his life."

Friday, April 23, 2021

Crumbs of Comfort ends in 3 days

This daily Crumbs of Comfort blog started seven years go. Since then, 2,368 crumbs have been viewed 180,000 times by readers in the United States (561), Russia (85), Germany (47), India (17), France (11), and several other nations. One reader from Spain wrote, "Thanks for your crumbs. I have posted three of them on my blog, citing the source, to improve my English. Thanks again from Barcelona." The time has come to end this blog, so you will only receive three more daily crumbs before we go "off the air." It's been an honor to share good news with you, and I thank you for your kind support.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

A springtime crumb

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.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

That's a good boy!

A family's beloved pet dog nearly drowned after falling into a backyard pool when the owners were not home. It happened in Boksburg City, South Africa. Byron Thanarayen, the pets' owner, said he and his wife were initially confused when they returned home and found both dogs wet.
The family decided to check their security cameras, where they discovered the smaller dog, Chucky, had fallen into the pool. Fortunately, the larger dog, Jessie, was nearby and worked to lift Chucky to safety. It reportedly took Jessie 34 minutes to successfully lift Chucky out of the pool. Apparently the smaller pup's wet fur kept causing him to fall out of Jessie's mouth.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

A dog crumb, from the Detroit River

For four days and three nights this past February, a dog stranded on an ice floe in the icy waters of the Detroit River beween the U.S. and Canada struggled to stay alive. Concerned parties on both sides of the boarder tried to find a way to save the pup, but the extreme elements were against them. That's when Jude Mead and his son, who own a marine construction company in Windsor, Ontario, set off in an airboat. They were able to pilot their way aross the ice. They found and rescued the dog with relative ease.
After surviving so long in sub-zero temperatures, under the threat of prowling coyotes, the pooch was in rough shape and was taken to an animal hospital. He suffered frostbite and dehydration, but vets speculated that his matted fur was a blessing in disguise, since it helped keep him warm. After recovery, the lucky pup was named Miracle and put up for adoption. Many applied, but when the man who plucked him out of the ice stepped forward, the shelter staff agreed nothing would feel more right than reuniting them.

How you can make your own crumb

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Just trying to make people smile

NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal played in 15 All-Star games, but now he's earning a reputation as an MVP in another arena -- random acts of kindness. This month, the 7'1" giant of nice scored again, by crushing the layaway balance due on an engagement ring for a young man he met while jewelry shopping. When Shaq overheard the groom-to-be asking how much money he still owed, Shaq stepped up and put the balance due on his own credit card.
O'Neal said, "The guy just came in; he was a young kid, hardworking guy. I told him, 'You know what? Tell your girlfriend I got it. Take care of her.'" The young man almost turned the offer down, but Shaq convinced him with this reassurance. "Don't worrya about it. I do it all the time. I'm just trying to make people smile, that's all."

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Escuse me, Princess...

As she entered the Magic Kingdom, one of the security guards said to Allison, "Excuse me, Princess, can I have your autograph?" I could see his book was filled with the scribbles of lots of other children.
I suspect the guard asked the same question to many little girls. Allison could not get over the fact that the guard actually thought she was a real Princess!

Friday, April 16, 2021

A second dog crumb...from Abu Dhabi

Monica Elkhalifa lives in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. When her six-year-old Shiba Inu became impossible to entertain with long walks and toys, she taught him some new tricks. She says, "I just thought it would be fun to teach him a few numbers, just an exercise to keep him busy. I was overjoyed when he learned the number four. After that, he quickly learned five to ten. I had to develop new ideas to keep him mentally active and build on earlier lessons.
With a tap of his paw, Akira, who knows more than 90 words, can also do simple addition problems by pointing to the card with the correct answer. Shiba Inus are very clever and independent. Akira often looks behind the television to see where the people and animals are. He now trains five times a week, in ten minute sessions, and Monica says he looks forward to it and it's making him more calm. The next challenge is to master subtraction.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Thumbs up means she's a good girl.

A 10-year-old Norfolk collie named Peggy was unable to continue herding sheep when she became deaf at age 8. Peggy's owner subsequently relinquished her to the care of a local animal shelter, where animal welfare manager Chloe Shorten and her husband Jason took her home. They already had two other sheepdogs, and soon realized that Peggy wasn't happy woolgathering, so they came up with another solution.
Chloe remembers, "We started by teaching her to look at us for hand signals." Peggy eventually learned to respond to body language instead of traditional verbal commands. Chloe says it took time for Peggy to "learn that we love her, and understand our praise." These days, while Peggy is semi-retired, she still heads out with the flock from time to time, happy in the knowledge that a "thumbs up" means she's a good girl.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

"They were my kids. They still are."

A group of Louisiana State University fraternity brothers always felt their fraternity house cook was like a mother. So when they discovered she has been working two jobs to pay off her mortgage, they decided to help. Alumnae of Phi Gamma Delta learned their former cook, Jessie Hamilton, now 73, had 16 years left on her mortgage. To make the payments, she was working as a cleaner at Baton Rouge Memorial Airport, and as a cook at a country club. She needed $45,000 to pay it off.
During her years at the FIJI house, from 1982 to 1996, Hamilton, a single mother of three, would start her day at 4 a.m. to get to campus in time to have the boys breakfast, lunch and dinner ready. She was a listening ear, who also drove them to doctor's appointments. She stayed in touch with some of them, including Andrew Fusaiotti, 52, who owns a car dealership in Mobile, Alabama. When he heard of her need, he alerted his fraternity brothers, and in the end, 91 brothers donated an average of $560 each to give their former cook $51,765 -- enough to pay off her mortage plus $6,765 to enjoy. She said, "They used to tell me they loved me, and now they've proved it."

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Who would keep them together?

It all began in January, 2019, as Pam Willis scanned Facebook. She saw a post titled "Seven Siblings in Need of Forever Home." She says it hit her "like a ton of bricks." The children's parents had died in a car accident one year earlier, and they had been placed in foster care. Pam tagged her husband Gary on the post. By day's end, they decided to adopt them ALL. "If not us, then who?" she asked. "Who would keep them together?"
Pam and Gary already had a six-bedroom home, and the last bedroom would soon be vacant. "Why else would our nest that had raised our first five babies be empty just in time?" she wondered. "It was only to make room for our new babies." Two months after making initial contact with the foster care agency, Adelino, 15, Ruby, 13, Aleecia, 9, Anthony, 8, Aubriella, 7, Leo, 5, and Xander, 4, were placed with Pam and Gary.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Happy birthday to an unsung hero

In May, 1944, a 23-year-old British secret agent named Phyllis Latour Doyle parachuted into occupied Normandy to gather intelligence on Nazi positions in preparation for D-Day. Taking advantage of the fact that Nazi occupiers and their French collaborators were less suspicious of women than men,she posed as a poor, teenage French girl selling soap. She used the knitting she always carried to hide her secret codes.
"I always carried knitting because my codes were on a piece of silk. I had about 2,000 codes I could use. When I used a code I would pinprick it to indicate it had gone. I wrapped the piece of silk around a knitting needle and put it in a flat shoe lace which I used to tie my hair up," she remembers. For 70 years, her contributions to the war effort were largely unheralded, but she was finally given her due in 2014, when she was awarded France's highest honor, the Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. She celebrates her 99th birthday this month.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

First grader deserves an A++

Kamryn Gardner is seven years old and attends first grade at Evening Star Elementary School in Bentonville, Arkansas. Earlier this year, her class studied how to write a persuasive letter. Each student used lined paper to write a letter, but Kamryn's letter was so persuasive that it went viral. She was disappointed with girl's jeans at Old Navy, since the front pockets were always fake. In her letter, she told Old Navy that she wanted to put her hands in her pockets, or put things in them.
Not only did Old Navy write back. The firm also mailed her four pairs of new girl jeans with REAL front pockets. When she returned from spring break, the box was waiting at school, and she surprised. She assumed it was a birthday gift. Old Navy wrote, "Thank you so much for taking the time to write to us abaout pockets on girl's jeans. Our kids product team appreciates your information." So now that Kamryn has her jeans, the only question is, what grade will she earn for her persuasive letter? We recommend A++.

Friday, April 9, 2021

The secret of graceful aging

He may be best known for his rooftop dance while playing a chimney sweep in "Mary Poppins," but Dick Van Dyke hasn't slipped quietly into retirement since his 1964 breakthrough role. In fact, the 95-year-old has been caught doing all sorts of good deeds over the years. His latest kindness? This month, he showed up at Los Angeles' Malibu Community Labor Exchange and began handing our cash to job seekers waiting in line outside the non-profit.
Helping others has been an important part of Van Dyke's life for decades. He's known for spending over 20 years volunteering at a Los Angeles shelter called The Midnight Mission. The secret of aging gracefully may just be taking a few steps in Van Dyke's shoes, by giving to others, and dancing and singing whenever we can.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Wheel of Fortune winnings go to charity

Scott Kolbrenner of Encino, California, won $145,000 on the Wheel of Fortune episode that aired March 18, 2021, and gave it all to charity. The luck of the wheel was with him during the entire show. Along with the show's preset letters, R,L,S.T.N and E, Kolbrenner chose P,H,G and O for his chance at solving the grand-prize puzzle in the category "What are you wearing?" Once Vanna White finished turning tiles, only six letters remained hidden and he correctly guessed, "Flowing white gown."
Kolbrenner had already won $45,000, and Pat Sajack revealed the bonus amount was $100,000. Kolbrenner became the fifth-biggest winner in Wheel's 46-year history. He split his winnings between two local charities: Uplift Family Services and Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. He said he planned to donate any winnings to charity, but never dreamed he'd win so much money.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Creating jars of joy

In Unionville, Indiana, Kaia Francis is a fifth grader at the elementary school. She noticed that COVID-19 has made a lot of people not notice the good, but she saw many kind acts at her school that made people happy. So she went to her Principal, Lily Albright, to propose a Jar of Joy project, where jars could be placed in each classroom for students to write down what made them happy during the week.
The project recently started. At first, Kaia and the school's Student Advisory Board discussed the possibility of offering incentives for participating. They decided against it, wanting the notes to be genuine and from the heart. Each week, Principal Albright will empty the joy jars and select a few moments of joy from each classroom to feature on the intercom. The notes will also be posted on the bulletin board in the hallway."I hope it just makes the school a better place," said Kaia.

Monday, April 5, 2021

"This racist thing is stupid..."

There's no place for hate, and as people in the grip of hate groups or violent gangs begin to realize this, a pair of Kentucky tattoo artists are helping them start anew. Last year, Ryan King (left) and Jeremiah Swift started a campaign called "Cover the Hate" in which they offered to cover hate or gang-related tattoo symbols for free. At the time, they only received a few dozen requests. Now, as the world wakes to racial justice, that number has risen to hundreds.
One man who accepted their offer said he got tattoos of hate symbols when he was young and hadn't realized his intolerance. He's been ashamed of them for years, but could not afford to have them removed. "One day you just realize this racist thing is stupid," he said. "Everyone's equal."

Sunday, April 4, 2021

"I love you, Mr. Brown"

When Amos Wood started school at White Oak Elementary School in Edenton, North Carolina, he wasn't yet speaking. He has autism, and it was hard for him to make friends with other kids. Sometimes they just ignored him, but school custodian Raymond Brown loved every student like his own grandchild, and that included Amos. When Amos was seven, he formed a bond with Mr. Brown. The custodian nicknamed him Famout Amos. Other students noticed the attention he gave Amos, since Mr. Brown is the most popular grown-up in the school. Now if you walk down the hall, you'll hear children saying, "Hi Famous Amos!" After Mr. Brown began calling him Famous Amos, Amos started saying, "Hey Brown." His mother remembers "he wasn't even saying Daddy at that point, so it was really something."
Amos' mother, Adrian Wood, was so grateful to the custodian for bonding with Amos that she nominated him for a North Carolina School Hero Award, but he was passed over. So she used her Facebook blog to earn Brown the kudos he deserved. Within a week, she'd raised $35,000 from nearly 2,000 people. March 20 was Mr. Brown and his wife's 38th wedding anniversary, and thanks to Amos' mother, it was quite a party. The custodian's grown children and hundreds of well-wishers including Edenton's Mayor, the police chief and even Miss North Carolina, sang the beloved custodian's praises. Then they gave him a $35,000 honorarium, dubbed "The Famous Amos Award." So it was fitting that the sweetest accolade for this small-town hero came from Amos himself, who simply said, "I love you, Mr. Brown."

Friday, April 2, 2021

Green energy is good, but a solar car?

On February 18, Aptera Motors announced it has received 7,000 orders for its new electric vehicle. The Aptera electric trike has three wheels. It costs about $25,000, and contains 34 square feet of solar cells which generate electricity to power the car for daily commutes. It can be plugged in, of course, for rainy days or nighttime, but unlike basic electric vehicles, it needs just 15 minutes to charge to drive 150 miles without stopping.
Even the simple act of parking it in the sun for a day can provide 40 miles of range all on its own -- the equivalent of your present car refilling itself with two gallons of gasoline. As part of a bid to get the car on the market this year, Aptera has moved to a new production and design facility near San Diego, California.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Teenager organizes village library

The village of Deora, India, has about 3,500 people. Child marriage is common there, and many kids don't attend school. Some families refuse to educate daughters, and other children work in the fields. But it happens to be the village where Sadiya Riyaz Shaikh was born. Now 18 years old, she's become educated and won public speaking competitions. When she returned to her birthplace to wait out the pandemic, she decided to open up new worlds for young readers.
As reported in The Christian Science Monitor, she convinced family elders to give her a dilapidated guesthouse. She used prize earnings from public speaking events to convert the building into a library with hundreds of donated books, and a tutor. Some neighbors were critical that a woman should be a leader, but Ms. Shaikh says, "If I continue to listen to others, I'll never be able to achieve anything." She now hopes to start children's libraraies in other states of India.

Honesty is the best policy

Andrea Lessing is a new worker at the Goodwill Industries charity shop in Norman, Oklahoma. Recently she was sorting through clothes looking for rips or stains when she found $42,000 stuffed inside two old sweaters. She reported the lost cash, and the shop was able to track down the owner using some ID bundled with the money.
The owners, who had forgotten about the money when they doanted the clothing, gave Andrea $1,000, which made her break down and cry. "Since we gave her the reward on Thursday, I spoke to her yesterday," said Lacey Lett, Director of Communications for Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma, "and she is still in shock and awed by their generosity."

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

School honors its custodian

High school custodian Samuel James has been walking to work ever since his car gave out on him. But thanks to the kindness of a colleague, his days of traveling by foot are over. James was recently surprised with a Toyota Highlander SUV outside Citronelle High School in Alabama, and the emotional moment was captured on video and later shared on the school's Facebook page.
"Our custodian Samuel James has been without a vehicle for some time, and has also been down with an injury recently," the school wrote. "We at Citronelle High wanted to help him out and get him back on his feet. Thank you, Sam, for all your years of service and for keeping our athletic facilities and our grounds in great shape!"

Monday, March 29, 2021

The truck stops here

After watching news stories where truckers detailed the harsh realities of trucking in an age of Covid-19, like not being allowed to use restrooms, or being forced to stay in their cabs for several hours after crossing the border, Beverly Perrin and her husband Dick began delivering batches of 75 to 100 personalized thank-you cards every three or four weeks to a truck stop near their home in Chatham, Ontario, Canada. So far, they've delived about 1,000 cards.
"When I first started doing it, they just kind of looked at me like, 'Really?'" said Perrin. "One trucker asked me, 'How much do I pay you?'I told him it's just from me to you, as a senior, that we so appreciate you." One could say that, when it comes to acts of pure kindness, for this thank-you note writer, "the truck stops here."

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Stray dog tries to steal unicorn

Animal control officers were called to the Dollar General in Kenansville, North Carolina, about 80 miles from Raleigh, after employees saw a Lab mix dart into the store every time a customer exited. Each time the stray dog got in, he ran to grab the same plush purple unicorn toy. Samantha Lane, the officer who responded to the store's call, was so taken by the dog's devotion to the unicorn that she bought the $10 toy for the dog.
The canine was happy once he had his beloved unicorn, and went with Lane to the Duplin County Animal Services shelter. The shelter posted a picture of the pup and his unicorn on their Facebook page. He was considered a stray intake at the shelter because no one came forward to claim him. He spent several nights curled up with his unicorn until a family came forward to adopt him, along with his toy. The shelter offered to buy the adoptive family several more toy unicorns, in case the first one wears out.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

A crumb from Nigeria

For more than ten years, Zannah Mustapha has devoted his life to providing hope and peace for children caught in the Boko Haram insurgency. The militant group's name means, "Western education is forbidden," and its fighters have terrorized schools for years. Mustapha, a Nigerian-born attorney and humanitarian, started educating children affected by this ongoing violence in 2007. Now he and his staff teach more than 2,000 students from both sides of the conflict at the Future Prowess Islamic Foundation School in Maiduguri, Nigeria.
They includes orphaned children of insurgent fighters, and children displaced by the conflict. So far, he says 1,023 children have graduated and many have gone on to college. Mustapha did even more lifesaving work four years ago when he helped mediate the release of 103 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Buzz Lightyear returns to owner in style

In the flurry of a last-minute, unexpected trip, two-year-old Hagan Davis left his Buzz Lightyear action figure on an airplane. His parents never expected to see it again, but they did, thanks to the Southwest airlines ground crew at Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas. Taking a cue from the Toy Story film, the Davises had inscribed Hagan's name on the sole of Buzz's space boot. Operations agent Beth Buchanan matched the name with an Elk Grove, California, boy on the passenger list. When her co-worker Jason William Hamm saw Buzz on Beth's desk, he made it his mission to get Buzz back where he belonged.
Hamm emailed the Davises that Commander Lightyear would soon be California bound, but he wasn't content to send Buzz home in a boring, empty box. So he posed the action figure at several airport locales, including a runway in front of a jet plane, and enclosed the photos along with this note. "To Commander Hagen. I am very excited to return to you upon completing my mission. I was able to explore the airport in Little Rock, Arkansas, while I was away, and I have included photos of my adventure. My journey has taught me a lot, but I am so thankful to return to my buddy."

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Sports is about more than winning

Matt Montie is a varsity forward basketball player for Marenisco High School in Wakefield, Michigan. After a recent game against the Dollar Bay Blue Bolts, he noticed that a player on Dollar Bay's junior varsity team was wearing the wrong shoes for the sport. Matt understands the importance of wearing the right gear. So when he spotted the younger player's inadequate shoes, he felt compelled to do something.
After taking off his red LeBron James Nike basketball sneakers, Matt handed them to a member of his school's JV team, who then passed them to the opposing team's athletic director. The JV player in question had alreaady gone home, but the shoes made their way into his hands later that night.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Teachers go the extra mile, literally

Middle school teacher Brandee Brandt pounded on the door of an apartment in San Antonio, Texas, for the third time one January afternoon. As reported in The Christian Science Monitor, she was searching for Davey, one of her students. Finally Davey's older brother opened the door. "You really aren't going away, are you?" he said. She asked him to get Davey, 13, who had suddenly stopped doing his online schoolwork. Brandee and fellow eighth grade teacher Emily Countryman from Rawlinson Middle School would spend all day knocking on doors.
Since school began, a squad of Rawlinson teachers have visited over 100 homes. Every few weeks, school staff make a list of kids who need a visit. Two teachers volunteer, and the school hires subs on the day they are door-knocking. The teachers' relentless pursuit of these kids is why Rawlinson averaged 99% attendance at Christmas break -- about 8% igher than the district middle school average.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Today's crumb honors paw-inspiring handiwork

Darius Brown's sister, Dazhai, taught him to sew when he was only eight. His first project was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-themed bowtie. It was so popular with his friends that he knew he'd found his niche. When he learned about all the family pets left homeless by Hurricane Irma in 2017, he was inspired to invest his emerging talent in helping them get adaopted. He knew they'd need to look sharp to attract attention, so he made the dogs bowties.
He soon delivered his first batch of 25 rescue bowties to New York City's ASPCA animal shelter. "I saw how happy the people at the shelter were to get the bowties, and how much the dogs liked them, and I decided to make more," he said. His goal is to give bowties to an animal shelter in every state. He estimates he's sewn about 600 bowties for animals since he started out on his paw-inspiring mission.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Do you ignore yard sales?

According to Sotheby's appraisal, the bowl pictured here dates back to the Ming dynasty of the early 1400's. Of six other bowls of this kind that are known to exist, two are in the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan. Two are in museums in London, and one is in the National Museum of Iran in Tehran. None are in the United States.
Last year, an unidentified Connecticut man paid $35 for this bowl at a yard sale. Then he sent its picture to Sotheby's, where an Important Chinese Art auction was held this month. His yard sale bowl was auctioned off for $721,800.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

"It's the least I can do."

During the many years that Graham Nesbitt, 65, managed the local skating arena in Seaforth, Ontario, Canada, he routinely went above and beyond the call of duty -- opening the rink early, staying late even in the face of snowstorms -- to ensure neighborhood kids could get in as many hours on the ice as possible. No one is more grateful for his dedication than Bonnie O'Reilly. Her two sons, Ryan and Cal, who skated under Nesbitt's watchful eye, both went on to play in the NHL.
When the community heard that Nesbitt needed a kidney donation, folks lined up to be tested to see if they might be a match. Bonnie was in that line, and when she learned she was a match, the only thing left to do was to arrange for surgery. She told Nesbitt, "What you've done for my boys, helping them achieve their goal of playing professional hockey, it's the least I can do."

Saturday, March 20, 2021

A spoonful of sugar....

A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down, but when it comes to a shot in the arm, there's nothing more soothing than a little music -- especially when it's played by world-class cellist Yo-Yo Ma. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but is also a part-time resident of the Berkshires, and recently he went to Berkshire Community College's field house clinic in Pittsfield to receive his second inoculation dose.
When he drove to the clinic, his cello was in his car, and he realized he could not leave it unattended, for insurance reasons. So he carried it inside. After getting his shot, and while waiting out his 15-minute observation period, he sat down and played a masked and socially distant impromptu concert for his fellow "inoculees." Everyone applauded. The college published footage of Yo Yo Ma's vaccination performance, and the post went "viral," -- but in a nice way.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Students support their substitute teacher

When Jose Villarruel of Fontana, California, opens the door of his 1997 Ford Thunderbird, he's very careful. He relies on the car's power to keep his laptop charged. He is a substitute teacher and tutor, and has been living in his car since 2013. He explains, "I couldn't possibly support my family and extended family in Mexico and rent an apartment here with the income I have."
One of his former students, Steven Nava, would drive to work about 5 a.m. and see Villarruel going through his trunk, and he felt he needed to do something about it, so he created a fundraising account and shared it on social media. This month, on Villarruel's 77th birthday, Nava presented the man affectionately known as Mr. V with a check for $27,000 and a serenade from a number of his former students. Nava said it was an honor for him to help the man who has helped mold so many students.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Waffle maker comes to the rescue

Jenna Roman's son Jerico eats two boxes of Nature's Path frozen maple waffles every day, and no other solid food. The nearly 10-year-old boy from Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, has autism and complex eating challenges, making it difficult for him to stomach any other kind of solid food. But his family recently faced a challenge. The British Columbia company discontinued the waffles, and supplies in Canadian stores ran out. A friend who works at Nature's Path spread Roman's story, and the management took notice.
Samantha Falk, who leads Nature's Path's communication team, said the company wanted to help. "We reached out aross North America and most of our waffles have been sold, but we didn't give up, and we managed to track down six cases at a warehouse freezer in Illinois. Falk said the cases will be shipped to Roman, who has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for a deep freezer to store the waffles. The company also spent a month creating a recipe for the waffles using ingredients available at home, and gave Roman the recipe and the ingredients to use when the six cases of waffles run out.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

She was a shining light...

Michael Lacey hasn't had it easy over the past few decades, having served 21 years in prison until his release three years ago. But during that time, there were still moments of goodness and light. One of them was all the time he spent with his GED teacher, Ms. Rice. Recently he gave her a surprise visit and documented the entire reunion on Tik Tok. It happened after he ran into Ms. Rice's roommate at a photography gig. Together, they came up with a plan for him to show up on her doorstep unexpected. He was nervous at first, but as soon as the door opened, he knew he had nothing to worry about.
The sweet teacher immediately exclaimed, "Mr. Lacey?" Between laughter and tears, she adds, "How are you? Well, come in, come in!" Lacey isn't the first person whose life she changed. He said, "I've seen her help more than 300 inmates get their GED. She never judged any of us. She was a shining light in that dark place."

Monday, March 15, 2021

A girl scout crumb (without cookies)

Josephine Holloway, who was born this month in 1898, worked to ensure African American girls could be part of the Girl Scouts. After graduating from Fisk University, she began working with girls at the Bethlehem Center in Nashville, Tennessee, where she was able to bring Girl Scout-inspired activities to more than 300 girls. She even attended a training by Juliette Gordon Low. When her oldest daughter turned six in 1933, Holloway applied to start a troop, but the Nashville Girl Scout Council would not allow her to start an African American troop.
She did not give up. She continued to fight for her daughters and other African American girls to have an opportunity to join. Then in 1942, she was able to form an official African American Girl Scout troop. She was hired by the Girl Scouts as a field advisor for black troops. In this position, she supervised thousands of African American girls and adults.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Emilee bakes for elderly

Emilee Suddarth, 9, of Lee's Summit, Missouri, loves to bake. She's turned baking into a little business, baking for friends and family. But it's not about profit. She uses her earnings to bake desserts for the elderly who rely on the nonprofit One Good Meal for food deliveries. Emilee and her mom volunteer with the organization.
With annual fundraisers cancelled due to the pandemic, Emilee instead auctioned off a tray of her sweets. There was a bidding war, and the top three bidders donated $100 each. Another bidder offered to match their bids, for a total of $600. That will provide 130 meals to Lee's Summit residents who might otherwise go hungry. "I was speechless," said Emilee.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

She didn't complain

Born in 1983, even as a young girl, Diana Trujillo had a passion for science. But she doubted she'd rise very far in the male-dominated field. When she was 17 fate stepped in. Thinking a second language might expand her horizon, her father offered to send her to live with an aunt in Miami, and she accepted. With just $300 to her name, she took housekeeping jobs to put herself through Miami Dade College. In addition to learning English, she studied aerospace engineering. Sometimes she had to take six busses to get to class. On other days she'd clean bathrooms to help pay her tuition. But she didn't complain.
She became the first Hispanic woman to be admitted to NASA Academy, where she did so well that she was one of only two students offered a job by the prestigious institution. Long story short -- this February, when the Perseverance rover landed on Mars, it was accompanied by commentary from Trujillo in what became NASA's first-ever Spanish-language transmission.

Friday, March 12, 2021

A great student teacher relationship

Jonte Lee is a chemistry and physics teacher at Calvin Coolidge High School in Washington, D.C. He's also among many instructors who have had to adapt to virtual teaching and remote learning. It's important to Lee to give his students a good education, even in quarantine. So he transformed his kitchen into a chemistry lab "for the love of my students." From home, he has streamed fun experiments and demonstrations via Instagram Live -- and his students love it.
He says, "I have gotten 100% participation from my students. They complete the work and they ask questions. They don't just come with their brain -- they come with their hearts. Then I can help them advance academically."

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Texans were generous during the storm

When Tim and Deb Hennessy decided to go to the grocery store during last month's deadly winter storm in Texas, they immediately regretted the trip. Long lines of people were waiting outside to enter the Leander H-E-B Plus. But the couple wanted to be prepared in case conditions worsened, so they shopped for about 15 minutes before the store lost power and the lights went out. Customers continued shopping until the manager asked them to head to the front. Tim and Deb joined what he estimated to be more than 100 people in a slow-moving checkout line. He remembers, "I honestly thought they were gonna say, 'Hey folks, leave your carts, we'll put the stuff away. Sorry for the inconvenience but we have no way of registering this stuff.'" That's when Deb took this picture.
Instead, the cashier waved them through the checkout lane, saying there wasn't time to bag everything. Tim assumed someone would take his contact information for payment later, but when Deb inquired about paying, the cashier just motioned them towards the door, wishing them safe travels home. Again Tim remembers, "I saw all these people going out with carts of food, and no bags, and then it kind of hit us. They're letting everybody leave without asking who they are, how much money do you have, nothing." That's when Deb's eyes began to tear up. "What a gesture in a moment with all these people," he said. "It's been a tough year. Then you get this storm where people's power is out. It was just a nice gesture from the company." And shoppers paid it forward. Out in the snowy parking lot, complete strangers helped each other unload shopping carts into cars. One older lady's car was stuck in the snow, and four other shoppers pushed her out so she could drive home.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Monday, March 8, was International Women's Day. Many famous women were remembered, but our Crumb of Comfort is dedicated to the finest of them all -- wives and mothers. To honor these unsung heroines, we offer a verse written by Edgar Guest, who, for 30 years, wrote a daily poem for the Detroit Free Press. That's more than 11,000 poems. His verses were eventually syndicated in 300 newspapers and republished in 20 books. Today's verse was dedicated to his wife Nellie. If it reminds you of your wife or mother, why not text her and tell her.
Nellie made a cup of tea, made and poured it out for me, And above the steaming brew smiled and asked me, "one or two?" Saucily she tossed her head. "Make it sweet for me," I said. Two sweet lumps of sugar fell into that small china well, But I knew the while I drained every drop the cup contained, More than sugar in the tea made the beverage sweet for me. This to her I tried to say in that golden yesterday -- Life is like a cup of tea which time poureth endlessly. Brewed by trial's constant heat, needing love to make it sweet. Then I caught her looking up and I held my dainty cup out to her and bravely said, "Here is all that lies ahead, Here is all my life to be. Will you make it sweet for me? That was years ago, and now there is silver in her brow; We have sorrowed, we have smiled, we've been hurt and reconciled. But whatever had to be, she has made it sweet for me.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

"He will not see me stopping here..."

In case his poems didn't sell, Robert Frost 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 Christmas 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 a poem which made her father famous. It appeared 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. 

Monday, March 8, 2021

Girl Scouts in emergency shelter sell cookies

It's Girl Scout Cookie season, and one troop in Iowa is absolutely crushing it. Troop 64224 of Council Bluffs has sold more than 5,000 boxes of cookies, shattering its sales goal for the 2021 cookie selling season. And they've done it while living in an emergency shelter for the homeless.
The girls, who are between 5 and 8 years old, live in the Micah House shelter, and their troop membership changes based on who is living at the shelter at any given time. They've reached great cookie heights by using social media, and even fulfilled another goal of selling to customers in all 50 states, and Washington, D.C.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

A crumb from Thailand

A brave navy sailor recently plunged into choppy waters to rescue four kittens from a burning ship off the coast of Thailand. Thatsaphon Saii, 23, received the emergency call and dove into the water -- while still wearing his pants -- to swim over to the wreckage. All eight crew members had alread escaped the inferno and been picked up by a passing fishing boat, but four terrified kittens were left behind.
The kittens ran to the bow of the boat, and were left clinging to a crane structure as flames rapidly engulfed the ship. Thatsaphon swam 50 feet through rough before he climbed aboard the sinking ship and put three cats into an old rice sack. The other kitten he carried on one of his shoulders. All the cats had become dehydrated, but survived.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

A labradoodle love affair

Meet a labradoodle who acts like a human, thanks to his incredible bond with his best friend, a seven-year-old boy who was adopted into the family at the same time he was. Pooch Reagan belongs to grandmother Sandi Swiridoff, 60, who adopted him just months before her daughter, Kari Lewis, 31, adopted Buddy, also 11 months old.
Reagan the dog was over the moon when his new family welcomed a foster baby, Buddy, into their home. The pair are growing up together as brother and sister. Now Buddy and his little sister Reagan, have both been permanently adopted by the Lewis family, so the boy and his dog are best friends forever.