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."