Monday, February 27, 2017

Restaurant employee returns lost diamond, claims her action was 'common sense'

Anchorage Alaska has a new hero, Patricia Christophersen. This unassuming young woman was busing tables at Carlos Mexican Restaurant last week when she noticed a customer in panic. Rachel Saldana was frantically searching the restaurant for the diamond which had fallen out of her wedding ring. 
Rachel was with a group at the restaurant planning a fundraiser for the Alaska Miss Amazing Pageant, a pageant for young girls and teens with disabilities. Folks at the dinner joined restaurant staff in the search for the missing diamond. No luck. Rachel left broken-hearted later that night, sharing her cell phone number just in case the stone was found.

After closing, Patricia decided to take another look in the ladies room. She knew Rachel had taken her baby into the ladies room for a diaper change at one point, and Patricia had a hunch the diamond may have been jarred loose there. Sure enough, she found it behind the bathroom door

When Rachel received the call after 11pm, she was obviously surprised, but delighted. She and her husband gave Patricia a cash reward for her honesty.

Patricia's honesty is even more remarkable given her circumstances. She was involved in a multi-vehicle pile up a few weeks back and cannot afford to fix her car. She has no money for her own apartment and is currently living in a friend's paint store. 

But Patricia wouldn't have it any other way. She told interviewers that her decision to return the diamond was simple. She believes it was common sense to return something that did not belong to her. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tattoo artist covers hate tattoos for free

Dave Cutlip owns and operates Southside Tattoo near Baltimore. He was approached by a man who had 'grown up' and no longer wanted his racist tattoos. Because the series of tattoos were so prominent across his face, Dave was unable to cover them. He referred him to someone who could remove them with laser, an expensive procedure, but he felt bad about not being able to help.

When he told his wife the story, they came up with an idea - the shop would cover up racist, gang-related, or hate tattoos for free. They posted the offer on the tattoo parlor's Facebook page and the requests poured in. Many folks had gotten hate tattoos when they were 'young and stupid,' in order to fit in with a particular group. As adults, they found themselves branded socially and in the workplace. Dave's offer gives them a chance at a fresh start.

On a recent day, a man in his 20's showed Dave his tattoo: a Confederate flag with a noose below and the words 'Southern Pride' scrolled above. With no questions asked and free of charge, Dave covered the image with an eagle.

The idea is not new - the Southern Poverty Law Center has funded tattoo removal in the past. But Southside's offer went viral, and Dave is encouraging other parlors to join in. A GoFundMe site has been set up to offset the costs involved.

Dave and Elizabeth only ask one thing of their customers - pay it forward. They want to cover hate with kindness and love.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

An overwhelming Thank You for a street musician

Kasey McCurdy has passed through the Des Moines skywalk regularly for years. This takes him past a number of street musicians, including one whose booming voice and happy demeanor often caught McCurdy's attention.

One day, he stopped and asked the musician if he could film him with some new camera equipment he'd gotten. The musician, Randy Kong, agreed and McCurdy filmed him for several months. He followed Kong to a home where he'd been serenading a terminally ill person weekly for months. He learned that Kong used to play in shock metal bands and that now, Kong plays for the love of the music, positive uplifting music which reflects his upbeat attitude toward life. He is grateful for every dollar tossed into his open guitar case and interrupts his song to thank the generous passerby.

One day last fall, Kong was gone from his usual skywalk gig. When days passed and Kong did not return, McCurdy became concerned. He did some digging and learned Kong had suffered some serious medical problems and was hospitalized.

Last week, Kong was finally well enough to return to the skywalk he loves. McCurdy had a surprise for him. Via Facebook, he organized a Thank You event to support Kong and his music. Hundreds of people turned out at lunchtime on Friday to listen, applaud, and toss their donations into Kong's guitar case.

An uplifting tribute to someone who lifts the spirits of strangers.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Man uses Tesla to stop car with unconscious driver

Manfred Kick was driving his Tesla Model S on the Autobahn near Munich the other night. He noticed a VW Passat ahead of him swerving on the high-speed highway. Kick pulled up alongside and peered at the driver. The man was limp, slumped over the steering wheel, apparently unconscious.

Kick pulled his Tesla in front of the Passat and gradually braked, slowing the runaway car to a safe stop. The quick-thinking Kick then got out of his car, checked for a pulse, and performed first aid, positioning the man so he could breathe. Other drivers stopped and called for help. The man was transported to the hospital after suffering an apparent stroke. He is reported in stable condition.

Kick's expensive car had suffered over $10,000 worth of damage. Because of the nature of the collision, he wasn't sure if insurance would cover it. He told reporters he was just grateful that he was able to help the man get medical attention and that no one was hurt by the runaway car.

Tesla's Elon Musk heard the story. He has offered to expedite and pay all the repair costs associated with Kick's heroic act.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Substitute bus driver sees a mom struggle, builds her a ramp

Thomas Mitchell works as a bus mechanic for Tennessee's Clarksville-Montgomery County School System. Sometimes he's called upon to be a substitute bus driver, as happened one day last fall.

His route that day included pick-up of 10-year-old Lydia DeSpain, who uses a wheelchair. Mitchell watched Lydia's mom Verna struggle to get Lydia and her wheelchair out to the bus. The home's front steps had a portable ramp which was flimsy and too short - it forced Verna to back the wheelchair down a stair before connecting with the start of the ramp. Verna confessed to Mitchell that she worried about Lydia's safety, and that she herself had been injured more than once maneuvering the wheelchair on the awkward setup. Afterward, the conversation and image of the struggling mother haunted Mitchell. 

He decided to act. He spoke with district officials who supported his efforts. Contact was made with the local Lowe's, who donated materials for a proper ramp. Mitchell called Verna DeSpain with the news - he would build a new, customized ramp for Lydia free of charge.

So late last month, Mitchell and four fellow volunteers built a new ramp for the DeSpain's home. Now Verna and Lydia can both be safe as they enter and exit their home.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

31-year-old man takes in ailing 89-year-old neighbor

A few years back, Chris Salvatore, an LA actor, moved to a new apartment. His neighbor across the hall was Norma Cook, an elderly woman who lived alone. The two waved through the window and exchanged greetings in passing, but Chris decided to knock on Norma's door one day to really get to know his neighbor.

He learned that Norma had no relatives nearby and that she had a long list of health issues. Chris volunteered to help where he could.
He drove Norma to appointments, helped her with groceries and meal prep. In general, Chris became 'the grandson' Norma never had.

Then came some hard news - Norma's health had declined. She needed round-the-clock care.

Chris jumped into action. He set up a GoFundMe page to help with the cost of private care. And then, remarkably, he moved Norma into his apartment. He often works from home, so he provides some of the care she needs. That will help keep the overall cost down.

The companionship is good for both Chris and Norma. They now consider themselves 'best friends.'

Friday, February 10, 2017

McDonald's cashier's heartwarming response to the needs of a boy with autism

Bonnie Kandel's eight-year-old son Leif heard about the Teen Titan toy given in McDonald's Happy Meals. He wanted one. Because Leif is autistic, he began to obsess about the toy, talking of little else. Bonnie knew the only way to manage this focus was to get him one, so mother and son went to an Indianapolis McDonald's on Saturday. 

When Bonnie ordered the Happy Meal, she was told the toy had changed - Teen Titans were out and the current toy was Batman. Leif was devastated. 

Bonnie explained to the cashier the importance of that particular toy to that particular boy, but nothing could be done. There were no Teen Titans toys left

TaQualliyia Patterson, a 16-year-old employee who goes by TQ, overheard the conversation and had an idea. She pulled the manager aside and pointed out the Teen Titan toys still in the restaurant's kiosk. With the manager's permission, TQ spent about 20 minutes taking the kiosk apart and getting the toys for Leif. He was thrilled. 

Bonnie shared the story on Love What Matters Facebook page. She heaped thanks TQ for her above-and-beyond kindness. 

And Leif? He played with the toys for hours. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Random act of kindness leads a homeless man back to his family

A woman known only as Bev noticed a homeless man sleeping at a bus stop in Chadderton, England. She went into the nearby Baguettes of Broadway and handed the owner, Ciaran Egan, £15 for breakfast and hot drinks for the man for a week. When she left, Egan told his employees of this random kindness. All were touched.

Egan posted the story on his shop's Facebook page, and the post was shared over 12,000 times. People who read the story were motivated to kindness themselves. Donated tents, clothing, and food were offered to community aid agencies, and one person set up a crowd funding page to help get this particular homeless man back on his feet.

During a follow-up conversation with Bev, she realized she actually knew the homeless man - he was the brother of a former co-worker. She remembered the family had moved some distance away, and she tracked them down. Within a day, the man was reunited with his family. He now has a roof over his head and meals on the table, all thanks to Bev and her kind heart.

And the £15 she offered for his week's food? It has been donated to a local non-profit which aids the homeless.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Subway passengers work together to remove graffiti swastikas

Strangers on a NYC subway car don't typically interact much. But Saturday night, Gregory Locke was on the 1 train headed toward West 72nd Street when he noticed graffiti on the subway car's advertisements. Closer inspection showed the graffiti to be anti-Semitic phrases and swastikas written in marker on all the advertising panels in the car.

Other passengers had noticed too, and shifted uncomfortably in their seats. Locke reports that someone stood up and announced, "Alcohol gets rid of Sharpie. Anyone have hand sanitizer? Tissues?" Smiling passengers dug through purses and pockets and sprang into action. With cooperative action and elbow grease, the words and imagery of hate were erased. 

A huge attaboy for the nameless stranger who called everyone to action. And kudos, NYC.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Ten-year-old Texas boy invents device to prevent infant deaths in hot cars

When fifth-grader Bishop Curry V learned about the death of an infant in a hot car near his home in McKinney Texas, he was sad. When he realized he rode right past the infant's house every day on his way to school, the horrible story became personal. He decided to act.

Always in his yard tinkering on an invention or two, Bishop set to work. He has created a prototype of a device he calls 'Oasis.' Part sensor and part activator, the device will attach to the car seat and blow cool air on the infant if a high temperature is detected. It will also send out a signal to notify parents and authorities of the infant's danger.

Bishop has received a provisional patent on the idea and has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for a full patent. With the help of his father, Bishop Curry IV, an engineer for Toyota, the 10-year-old presented his prototype to car manufacturers at the Child Injury Prevention Conference last year.

With infant hot car deaths averaging 37 per year, Bishop hopes his device will be a life-saver. I for one can't wait to see what this big-hearted prodigy does next.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Employees of burned restaurant paid to volunteer in community during rebuilding

In October, a water heater malfunctioned at El Moro restaurant in Durango, Colorado. The ensuing fire and water damage caused extensive damage to the building. The business was forced to close indefinitely.

Faced with an uncertain timeline, the restaurant's 40 employees wondered how they'd manage. They didn't need to wonder long. General manager David Woodruff soon announced the owner's plan: employees would be paid during the reconstruction with the understanding that they'd return when the business reopened. Staff was encouraged to use their time to volunteer in the community. The Durango community had been supportive to El Moro during its 3-1/2 years in business, and owners saw this as an opportunity to give back.

Employees responded. Among the non-profits to benefit from the volunteer hours were the local Humane Society, a day program for adults with developmental disabilities, a social services thrift store, a Christmas tree sale to benefit environmental education, a wolf refuge, and sexual assault support services.

When the restaurant reopened a couple weeks ago, 36 of its employees returned to their jobs.

Kudos to the owners of El Moro and Steamworks Brewing Company for supporting their employees and their community in this way. And kudos to the staff for honoring their commitment to both their community and their employer.