THE LAWN AIDES
My dad, who's in his mid-80's and wheelchair-bound, still insists on doing his own yard work. One day last summer, he was outside cutting up a fallen tree limb when a woman driving past pulled over. She told my dad that she was amazed to see a man in a wheelchair using a chainsaw. The two of them spent a few minutes chatting before she left. Twenty minutes later she returned with her husband and teenage son in tow, all wearing work clothes. The family, whom my dad had never met, spent the next three hours helping him in the yard.
Andrea, New York City
Pam Washek knows what it's like to need a little help.
In 2002, she was sidelined by the chemo and radiation she needed after being diagnosed with sarcoma (a type of soft tissue cancer). But the Wayland, Mass., married mom of three soon discovered "angels were fluttering into my house” to handle chores.
Without hesitation, family friends and neighbors had jumped in, raising their hands to cook, clean and shuttle kids to soccer practice.
"I was touched by how the community embraced us," says Washek, 47.
To pay their kindness forward, Washek teamed up with her friend Jean Seiden (who later died of cancer in 2006) to found what became the Neighbor Brigade, a volunteer network that started as a 40-person email chain.
Now 3,300 members strong in communities around the state, the group helps families in crisis, including Nick Panzeri, 39, of Billerica, Mass.
While recovering from brain tumor surgery, Panzeri accepted rides from dozens of strangers to his cognitive therapy sessions.
"I feel so much less alone," says his wife, Sara.
So does Brianna Anthony, whose family had meals delivered to them after losing their Natick, Mass., home in a fire. "These people," she says, "really care."
Washek recently worked through a brief course of treatment for a cancer recurrence, and the Neighbor Brigade helped her, providing her family with meals. And she's still working on her cause, fielding queries from people from Massachusetts, New England and beyond who want to launch their own Neighbor Brigades.
Says Washek, "People really want to get involved."
By Moira Bailey and Alexandra Zaslow
Please share your stories. Remember the Glad Game from the movie Pollyanna?
"The very name “Pollyanna” has come to mean someone who is eternally upbeat and optimistic, who spreads positivity and
good will wherever she goes. Before you decide that such unremittingly cheerful behavior is truly nauseating and deserves
a good smack, think of this: people who take time every day to count their blessings are truly happier (and live longer) than
those who don’t.
So spread a little good cheer in the New Year with this great game that helps you to focus on the glad, not the bad. Your heart–and everyone who knows you–will be grateful. It only takes a minute.
You can play this game when you’re driving in your car, or taking a walk, or sitting at your computer–pretty much under any circumstances.
Start small: just think of ONE THING that you’re glad for. Maybe it’s the taste of the special coffee that Aunt Ruth from Winnetka sent you for Christmas. Maybe it’s the fact that the holidays are over. Perhaps you have a new love in your life, or an interesting new project to work on. Or you could be glad for your family, or your dog or cat. Really think about whatever it is for a moment. Allow yourself to smile over it. Feel your heart open and glow with gratitude for whatever it is.
That’s it. But tomorrow, try thinking of two things you’re really, truly glad for. Expand the field of your gratitude every day. Really take time to appreciate the many many blessings you enjoy. You’re alive: you have the capacity to be a beneficial and positive presence on the planet. You are needed–or you wouldn’t be here. Enjoy this life that you have been given! And be glad.
Inspired by the classic, Pollyanna, by Eleanor H. Porter."
On the way back from my interview I went to Burger King for lunch. Decided to eat in the car and listen to the radio. As I'm sitting there with the window rolled down, I see a gull about six feet from the driver's door, standing on the pavement, looking intently at me. So I wait a moment to see what he's going to do. He keeps looking. I remember a thread I read on PT that says not to feed bread to birds because it can obstruct their airway. I decide I'll toss him some of the lettuce from my chicken sandwich. I toss a couple of bits of lettuce out the window and he darts up and grabs them! Fella wants to share my lunch! I toss out a couple more and he ignores them. Now I guess he is waiting for the good stuff, so I pull out some of the soft center of the bun, break it up into tiny bits and toss a few out the window. Stinker snarfs them up so fast! And then he waits. "Got any more, lady?" So I gave him just a few more tiny ones from the little bit of the bread I had left. He wanted to share my lunch. Oh, how I wish I'd had a camera.
Wow....awesome, Elyse! :D
Well, my happy story might be a bit baby-ish or.....silly, but, anyway, today, one of the amazingest things happened to me... :eek:
At recess, I saw a girl eating a shawarma and then I really felt like eating one.
This is what it looks like (Our school's don't look this amazing.. :P )
I went to the canteen and the line there was too long, so, I decided to come back later. After the juniors had left, I went back to the canteen. I asked the lady there if there was anything left other than chips and biscuits etc. and she said no. I kind of felt bad, but, I decided to buy a packet of Lays or something like that. I was about to ask her to give me some Lays, but, then the other canteen lady interrupted me. A shawarma had fallen on the ground (it didn't get dirty, it was wrapped up in wax paper :D ) and she asked the other lady to put it on the counter in case some student wanted to buy it. At first I thought I heard wrong. I thought she said something like some other student had to come and buy it. I asked the lady if I could buy it and she said something like of course and that'll be Rs.50. I counted the money in my hand and it was EXACTLY 50 ruppees. I didn't count my money before I left my house. I just grabbed all the small ruppee notes and turns out, I grabbed exactly 50 ruppees. I gave it to her and told her that that was what I had wanted to buy. The two ladies were pretty happy and said, "That's fate. Your name was written down on this shawarma." Meaning I was meant to buy it and eat it. And it tasted great!! :D
Anyway, I felt really really really happy after this. :) Felt like sharing it! :D
A few summers ago, a dog in Philadelphia was severely abused and tortured. Fortunately help came and he was taken to the emergency vet for treatment but he was in pretty bad shape. Chase Utley plays with the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team. When Chase heard about this, he stepped up and paid all of the vet bills so the dog could get the medical care and treatment he needed to make a full recovery. Chase and his wife even went to visit the dog while he was in the veterinary hospital.
Thank you, Chase Utley!!!!!! While I'm not a Phillies fan, I'll proudly wear your shirt to show my appreciation for all you did to help this beautiful dog recover and have the life he deserves. Bless you, Mr. Utley!
THE TIRE HERO
On my way to church for a meeting, my car started to rattle. At a light the driver in the next lane told me I had a flat tire. He said he worked for a tire store a few blocks away, but I was late and decided I'd just deal with it later. When I finally pulled into the parking lot, the same guy from the other lane pulled up. He had followed me to make sure I was okay. Then, in the super-hot sun, he changed my tired with my SUV's jack and spare. When I offered to pay him, he refused, saying that he hoped someone would do the same for his wife.
Susan, Bellaire, Texas
THE RAIN LADY
While walking home from the library with two young daughters, it suddenly started pouring. Our clothes were drenched, the stroller was heavy and I felt like we'd never make it back. Then a stranger stopped her car and handed us her umbrella. I was so grateful. That umbrella now sits in my car waiting for me to return the favor to someone else.
Southport, North Carolina
THE TICKET UNDERWRITER
For years my friends and I went on an annual 3-day bike ride in California. A few years ago I was going through a divorce and I just couldn't afford the trip. Then one day a plane ticket arrived in the mail. A friend had paid for my flight. He knew I needed to get away from it all and be with everyone for the ride.
Lisa i think YOU should consider yourself one of those good people, because i certainly do, you will always have a special place in my heart, and i am forever grateful to you.:):love:
Awww, thank you Carole. There are far more good guys in the world than bad. For some reason the bad get the press.
Originally Posted by carole
I hope others will post their good stories. They don't have to be from your personal experience. But, when you read or see something good happen, I hope that people will be more inclined to post it or forward it to others.
BECAUSE PETS NEED AID, TOO
After reading countless hearbreaking stories of "foreclosure pets" (animals whose families could not longer afford to take care of them). Laura Pople knew she had to help. She started Seer Farms, an animal sanctuary in Jackson, New Jersey, that provides a temporary home for pets when their owners experience an emergency, economic crisis or disaster.
BECAUSE STRANGERS HELP WHEN IT COUNTS
I recently had to fly overseas with my 1-month-old twins. I was having a really hard time handling both of them, and they were crying like crazy. Then a woman sitting nearby came over and offered to help. She held my daughter for two hours! She fed her a bottle, burped her and once she was sleeping peacefully, returned her to me wiht a big smile. I was so touched.
Quarratulain, Jedda Saudi Arabia
BECAUSE EVERYONE DESERVES A FRESH START
Women in the Nashville area who are transitioning from jail back to civic life have an easier adjustment thanks to Lea Robinson and her organization, Second Chance Reentry. She started the program five years ago to help female ex-cons find housing, jobs and rehabilitation -- even free haircuts.
Alex Zanardi was a race car driver who lost his legs in a racing accident.
I was pleased to see that he is still alive, well and racing, again.
To Alex Zanardi, there is no such thing as a gripping real-life story that can't be improved in the retelling. To wit: the daring, last-lap maneuver on a downhill curve with which the former open-wheel driver stole a CART race from rival Bryan Herta in 1996. The move instantly became the stuff of legend—racing fans still know it simply as The Pass. But the following winter Jimmy Vasser, a Champ Car teammate, noticed that Zanardi's banquet-circuit accounts took the moment to new dramatic heights. After hearing his friend describe Herta's eyes widening in disbelief as Zanardi zoomed by, Vasser produced a photo of Herta wearing a helmet that day with an impenetrable black visor. "C'mon, Jimmy," Zanardi said with a smile, "you know I like to tell stories."
Some tales, however, defy embellishment. Eleven years ago this week at the Lausitzring track in Germany, Zanardi lost both legs in a crash so violent that he was administered last rites. But there was Zanardi on Sept. 5, competing at Brands Hatch circuit in London, a course he first navigated as a promising Formula 3000 driver in 1991—only this time as a handcyclist at the Paralympic Games. Zanardi, 45, won two gold medals in London, in the 16K H4 time trial and the 64K H4 road race, the latter by just one second in a sprint finish. "To win in this way ... makes me really proud," says Zanardi, who also helped Italy take silver in the mixed relay. "It shows that I am a complete cyclist, even if I have no legs."On Sunday, Zanardi capped what he calls a "magical adventure" by bearing Italy's flag in the Paralympics' closing ceremony. "I found happiness the very first day of training," he says. "It would have been worth doing even if I had won nothing here."
Before his accident Zanardi was one of open-wheel racing's most charismatic stars: the CART Champ Car rookie of the year in 1996, the points champion in '97 and '98, and a strong competitor in more than 40 Formula One events. Fans loved the way he married skill with showmanship, punctuating victories with doughnut spins before that became a finish-line ritual. After his first Champ title he shared a Wheaties box with Vasser, his Ganassi Racing teammate and the 1996 champion.
Zanardi's passion for racing didn't diminish after his crash. Weeks after the accident, before he even got the hang of walking on prosthetic legs, Zanardi was behind the wheel in a hand-controlled car. In 2003 he began driving in the European Touring Car Championships, winning four times. "I didn't go into touring cars to prove anything," he says. "I started racing again because it makes me happy."
In 2006, Zanardi got into a dispute in Italy with another driver over a handicapped parking spot. Seeing a wheeled contraption on the roof of the other man's car, Zanardi defused the tension by asking, "What's that?" It was a handcycle, and a year later Zanardi called the man, future Paralympic relaymate Vittorio Podesta, and asked where he could get one to train for the New York City Marathon. With just a few weeks' practice, Zanardi finished fourth in the handcycling division. After training full time for two years, he won in New York last fall.
The occasional parking-spot spat aside, Zanardi has embraced life as a double amputee with grace and good humor. "It's like his disability isn't even an issue," says his former race-team boss Chip Ganassi, who has seen Zanardi pop off a prosthetic, turn it upside down and set a bowl of peanuts on the foot just to make a crowd of old friends and new acquaintances feel at ease.
Zanardi prefers the term diverse ability to disability, and he's already thinking of ways to further diversify. He's toying with the idea of skiing in the Winter Paralympics. Driving in the Indianapolis 500—Vasser, who now co-owns an IndyCar team, promised to set up Zanardi with a car if he won gold in London—is another possibility, though Zanardi, who lives with his wife and 14-year-old son in Padua, Italy, admits that it's a faint one. "Right now I have a very happy life," he says. "I don't need to shoot off fireworks every day." But if the right opportunity came along? "You might see me shooting off more fireworks. Who knows?"