If the news of the week has got you down, this list will do its best to cheer you up. Here, we only talk about stories that will lift your spirits because they are positive, amusing, or inspirational. If you also want to learn about the stranger goings-on of the week, click here to read the offbeat list.
This week, we talk about average people who were willing to brave danger to help others. A kimono-clad teacher raced a tornado to warn others, while a group of teenagers burst through a flaming building to rescue an elderly neighbor. In other news, a woman collected two tons of garbage, a disabled man won a treasure hunt, and we can see the oldest footage of an eclipse.
An elementary school teacher from Texas is being hailed as a hero for running in front of a tornado to warn parents and students to seek shelter.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case, it might be true. The image that made the rounds online shows Megan Parson, a teacher at Hays Elementary in Rockwall, Texas. She is running down a wet street barefoot with a tornado in the background. To add to her “heroic” allure, she even appears to be wearing a red cape, although it was actually a kimono.
Parson was running to alert all the people stuck in the carpool lane that the tornado was heading their way and they needed to go into shelter mode. In the end, everyone made it to safety and nobody was injured in the storm.
Parson received a ton of praise for her actions, but she made sure to specify that she wasn’t the only teacher who did this and also credited the rest of the people who looked after the kids.
One Canadian woman has spent the last year collecting over two metric tons of garbage from the beaches on the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia.
Karen Jenner admits that she wasn’t always so environmentally conscious in the past. Sometimes, she would break apart round packing straps so animals wouldn’t get caught in them. But for the most part, she barely noticed the trash that washed ashore. Then, about a year ago, she suddenly realized just how much plastic ended up on the beaches and decided to clean up as much of it as she could for as long as possible.
Since then, Karen has collected over 2,200 kilograms (4,850 lb) of garbage. She comes to the beach two to three times a week and fills up several five-gallon buckets. She takes them home where she separates, weighs and photographs the garbage. Jenner posts the images online to help raise awareness of the issue.
Sometimes, Karen feels dejected as everything she does is just “a drip in the bucket” that won’t make a difference in the end. However, she gets motivated by thinking of the local birds and marine life whose quality of life she helped improve. She also noticed that more people have started picking up trash on the beaches, and “that’s nice to see.”
A doctor performed successful emergency heart surgery on the side of the road on a man who went into cardiac arrest following a motorcycle accident.
At the Emergency Summit Conference in Nelson, British Columbia, on June 1, Dr. Mark Forrest from Delamere, England, recalled the incident when he saved a man’s life with roadside surgery. Back in October 2018, he arrived on the scene of a vehicular accident. He saw first responders performing CPR on John O’Brien who went into cardiac arrest.
Forrest knew there was no time to get the man to the hospital. If O’Brien was to survive, Forrest would have to operate on O’Brien right then and there. The doctor had practiced on-the-spot surgeries on mannequins and simulations but never on a real person. He opened O’Brien’s chest completely and managed to get a pulse.
Since then, the patient has made a full recovery in time to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding. The two men reunited in May at a local ceremony where Dr. Forrest received an award for his actions.
We can now view the oldest-known footage of a solar eclipse courtesy of the British Film Institute (BFI) and the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) which restored a movie made in 1900.
The film was shot in North Carolina by Nevil Maskelyne, a British magician-turned-filmmaker who was a member of the RAS. He used a special lens on his cinematograph telescope to capture the footage and later screened it as a prelude to his magic act.
The original movie was filmed at approximately five frames per second on celluloid and had been in the possession of the RAS. They enlisted the help of the BFI to help them scan and digitize it in 4K at a whopping nine frames per second. The footage was made available for free as part of BFI’s Victorian Film series which commemorates the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birthday.
The film was actually the second attempt made by Maskelyne. In 1898, he traveled to India to shoot his first eclipse. The movie was stolen, and its ultimate fate remains unknown.
An entire kindergarten class in Maine started learning American Sign Language (ASL) to help welcome their new deaf classmate.
The halls at Dayton Consolidated School are lined with sign language posters. New curriculum helped students learn the alphabet as well as basic words in ASL. Teachers even began going through books and videos on special education during their free time.
This was done for the benefit of six-year-old Morey Belanger, the school’s new deaf pupil. Her mother has been absolutely blown away by the support her daughter has received. Principal Kimberly Sampietro says the other kids immediately took to Morey and want to hang around her all the time.
To reward everyone for their hard work, the principal brought in Cinderella, who can sing and sign at the same time to show the kids that this skill can apply in all kinds of settings, not just with Morey.
A 101-year-old veteran flew over 2,400 kilometers (1,500 mi) so he could commission his grandson into the United States Air Force.
During World War II, Walter Kloc served as a pilot and bombardier. Now, seven decades later, his grandson Joseph is joining the same branch of the military as part of the Air Force Academy’s Class of 2019.
The academy is located near Colorado Springs, Colorado, while the elderly Kloc lives in Amherst, New York. However, Walter wouldn’t let a few thousand kilometers stop him from being there for Joseph’s graduation. Not only did he attend, but he was also able to commission his grandson into the air force to a standing ovation from the crowd. On social media, Joseph Kloc described the experience as “one of the best days of [his] life.”
Alison Cameron from Dorset, England, has a “permanent Cheshire cat grin” on her face due to finally being pain-free after 40 years of suffering.
When she was just a teenager, Alison had her appendix removed. Something went wrong during the procedure, and the patient woke up in agonizing pain. After three years of investigations, it was determined that she had suffered nerve damage.
For over three decades, Alison had more than 50 cryoblock injections. These numbed the site of the nerve damage, but they could only minimize the pain for six months at a time. Therefore, Cameron also had to take substantial amounts of painkillers which left her unable to eat or drink except through a feeding tube.
Five years ago, a cryoblock injection caused a collapsed lung. She was examined by neurosurgeon Girish Vajramani who began implanting electrodes along her spinal nerve as the cryoblocks were getting too dangerous. Even so, these only reduced Alison’s pain by 50 percent. She also had to wear a body brace for two years to keep the electrodes in place.
As a last-ditch effort, Dr. Vajramani created a hybrid model consisting of a paddle implant and a spinal cord stimulator. They were implanted in December 2018, and as soon as they were turned on, the patient’s pain went away.
Since then, Alison, now 56 years old, has not stopped smiling. She is able to eat, drink, and socialize again. She can enjoy the company of her grandchildren, who say they have a “bionic granny” because she has to charge up her implants twice a week. Alison is looking forward to Christmas so that she can have an enormous Christmas dinner.
A man on disability won a treasure hunt worth $100,000 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Jeff Lerue is from Edmonton where a company called Gold Hunt buried a chest with gold and silver pieces valued at $100,000. Amateur treasure hunters were invited to find it by purchasing a $25 map or a $45 premium version with extra clues.
Lerue heard that the Edmonton treasure was found in less than 20 hours. So, when the company staged a new hunt in Calgary, he bought a map. He knew that the money would come in handy as he hasn’t been able to work in two years while waiting for a knee replacement.
He was at a disadvantage because he didn’t know the city. But he spent most of Monday and Tuesday with his girlfriend scouring the streets of Calgary.
In the end, the two reached a neighborhood where there were clearly more than a few other treasure hunters skulking around. They looked in a secluded area that everyone else glanced over and found the box with the prize. Lerue plans to use the money to pay off his hospital bills and other debt and to take his girlfriend on a vacation.
A teenager from Madison, Minnesota, put his baking skills to good use and raised enough money by selling cupcakes to send his entire family of seven to Disney World.
Fourteen-year-old Isaiah Tuckett really wanted to visit the theme park but knew that his parents could not afford to take him. Therefore, he started looking for a way to make money and he hit it big with cupcakes. The only bakery in Madison had recently closed down, and people who wanted to indulge their sweet tooth had to drive 48 kilometers (30 mi) to the nearest shop.
Isaiah started selling his cupcakes for $20 a dozen. He had baked for a few events before, and his treats already had a local reputation for being delicious. He started catering birthdays, weddings, confirmations, graduations, and funerals. To help him out, his parents bought him baking supplies and a new large oven.
In a year, Isaiah made enough money to take all seven members of his family on his dream vacation to Disney World. He has no plans to stop anytime soon now that business is booming, and he even won a few champion ribbons at local fairs.
Four teenagers from Sapulpa, Oklahoma, rushed into a burning building to save their 90-year-old neighbor.
A couple of weeks ago, Catherine Ritchie was getting ready for bed in the same suburban home that she had lived in for 58 years. When she exited the bathroom, she saw that her bedroom was on fire.
Her first instinct was to put it out, but the flames were soon out of control. She then called 911 and hit her emergency button. Catherine wanted to leave, but the smoke had gotten so bad that she couldn’t see where she was going.
Fortunately for Catherine, her teenage neighbor and some of his friends were outside taking a trip to the convenience store. They saw the flames, heard the fire alarm, and sprang into action.
One of them dialed 911 while the others tried to break down the door. Fourteen-year-old Nick Byrd managed to open the back door. He went inside the burning building and found Catherine in the hallway. Everyone made it out safely, and firefighters were able to stop the flames from spreading.