Every time we try to catch up on the news, negative stories constantly seem to dominate the headlines. There’s a reason why we say some things “restore our faith in humanity” – it’s because we rarely get exposed to the wealth of good things happening around us everyday.
That’s why each Wednesday, we bring you a roundup of some of the biggest news stories about good things that happened around the world to help brighten your day. Here’s nine positive things that happened last week that you should know about (in no particular order):
A homeless man in Langford, British Columbia, is gaining international attention for his simple act of paying it forward. The man found $2,400 on the street and returned it to police. After his good deed was made public, a GoFundMe page was set up for the man so money could be collected to reward him. Supporters donated nearly $5,000 but the man declined the gift.
Instead, he decided that he wants the $5,000 to be donated to organizations that will help other people in need. West Shore RCMP constable, Alex Bérubé, was able to track down the man and asked him to reconsider his decision and keep the money. However, the man told the officer that he just wanted to find a job. Now, members of the community are working with the man to help him find employment so he can live a stable life and receive some sort of reward for his tremendous acts of kindness.
Brenda Hurst is well known in her town of Boiling Springs, South Carolina. Not only is she an active member of her community, but she has also served as the custodian at Boiling Springs High School for over 20 years. When Hurst’s home burnt down, students and teachers at the high school knew that they had to help the friendly, kindhearted woman they all lovingly call ‘Ms. Brenda.’
Initially, the school’s administration and student body wanted to raise money to buy Hurst a new mobile home. But when Mike Raven, the executive director of United Carpenters for Christ, heard the story, he decided to build Hurst a new home. Community members rallied together to collect donations and Hurst’s new home was revealed to her this week. To thank all of the people who helped her, Hurst says she plans to use her new kitchen to make everyone her famous banana pudding.
Jonathan Fleming was recently exonerated after serving 25 years in a New York prison for a murder that he did not commit. After leaving prison, Fleming found himself struggling to make ends meet as he had only $93 in his bank account. A 32-year-old Wall Street banker named Alex Sutaru heard about Fleming’s story and knew he wanted to help. “This is somebody that wasn’t guilty of a crime; he was wrongfully convicted,” Sutaru said. He created an online fundraising campaign for Fleming and in a few days people from around the world donated nearly $35,000 to help the man.
“I think people recognize that by donating a little they can help this person integrate back into society and build a life for himself that was wrongly taken away from him,” Sutaru told reporters. “People are good. There is some bad out there but most people are good.” On Monday, the two men finally met. “I want to thank you, man, I really do, I want you to know that, it really means a lot that you did this for me,” Fleming told Sutaru. “You’re a wonderful man to do this for me. I appreciate it.”
On Wednesday, a 17-year-old boy named Martunis from Indonesia was signed to Sporting Portugal’s U-19 soccer team, the organization Cristiano Ronaldo played for when he was an up-and-coming young player. Martunis’ success comes with an amazing story of survival. Nearly 10 years ago, he lost his mother and siblings in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that left over 200,000 people dead. The boy, who was seven-years-old at the time, miraculously survived for 21 days stranded on a beach drinking dirty rain water and eating old packages of noodles he managed to find.
When rescuers found Martunis, he was clinging tightly to the Portuguese national soccer team jersey that he was wearing.”I was not afraid at all,” Martunis told reporters at the time he was found, “because I wanted to be alive to meet my family and become a football player.” The story of the aspiring soccer star made its way to Portugal and eventually Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest of the Portuguese national team befriended the boy. Martunis continued to practice soccer every day and his hard work paid off because he is now on his way to become an international soccer star.
A few weeks ago, Gavin Joseph was swarmed and attacked by bullies from his high school. The teenager was beat so badly that he suffered a concussion, bruised esophagus, fractured nose and a hematoma in his eye. The group of boys targeted Joseph because he had Asperger’s syndrome, a type of autism. However, despite his horrible injuries, he did not want to press charges on the perpetrators.
Instead, he requested that the bullies serve disability related community service. Joseph has also requested that they watch a 20-minute video where he explains the realities of living with Asperger’s so they are able to gain a greater understanding about people with disabilities in general. “I am so proud of him, and I hope a lesson will come of this to all that hear about it,” Joseph’s mother Courtnie Stone said.
When Nicole Elliot spotted Chester the rescue dog on an animal adoption centre website, she wanted to bring the pup home right away. Chester suffers from terminal cancer and only has a few weeks to live. But Elliot knew she wanted to take the dog on a journey of a lifetime that would make the most of the time he has left. When Elliot brought Chester home, she began making of a list of little adventures he could enjoy. Some of the activities on the list include taking Chester to visit a water stream, getting him a special hot dog lunch and taking him on a doggy-shopping spree.
Elliot has documented their experiences on a Facebook page she created and on a donation site for the rescue shelter she adopted the dog from. “There are so many people that say animals don’t have souls like humans, but I feel like anybody who met Chester would see he does have a soul. He has already fallen in love with me. He follows me everywhere. I think all animals should have a chance to have a happy life,” Elliot told reporters.
A senior Malawian chief has made the decision to annul over 300 child marriages in her village. Instead, she has encouraged the children to go to school and get an education. Senior Chief Inkosi Kachindamoto made the decision to apply Malawi’s new laws banning child marriage. “I have terminated 330 marriages of which 175 were girl-wives and 155 were boy-fathers, I wanted them to go to school and that has worked,” Kachindamoto told a Malawian news outlet.
Hope Holland last saw her son Jonathan 15 years ago when he was three years old. Her husband took Jonathan from her and decided to move with the boy to Mexico. Holland never saw her son after that but she never gave up on trying to find him. Last Wednesday, the mother and son were finally able to meet all thanks to a Facebook photo. Last year, Jonathan posted a childhood picture of himself on the social networking site. He was hoping that the picture would somehow reach his mother so he could find her.
In January, Holland was taking a webinar on Facebook when she saw the picture of her long lost son. “I was the one who had taken the picture, so I obviously could be certain that it was [him]. Tears uncontrollably fell down my face, my hands were shaking, my body was shaking…” she told reporters. With the power of Facebook, Hope was able get in touch with Jonathan and they are now happily reunited.
Turkish officials have rescued a 10-month-old baby girl who drifted out to sea. The baby was in an inflatable crib, which was swept away about a kilometre from the shore. The girl’s parents apparently forgot they left her in her inflatable crib as she floated to sea without them noticing. Beachgoers spotted the infant and rescue crews responded immediately, saving the girl before she got in harm’s way.