Family speaks out after mystery diner's good deed, encouraging note
CHINA GROVE, NC - A family in Rowan County got an unexpected, and inspiring, note when they were out to dinner on Friday. A photo of the note is going viral.
Ashley England went to dinner at the Stag-N-Doe pizza restaurant in China Grove with her family on Friday evening, including her 8-year-old son, Riley. The family was sitting at the table when Riley, who has special needs, began to get "a little rowdy."
"He threw the phone and started screaming," she recalled. "The past few weeks have been very hard and trying for us - especially with public outings. Riley was getting loud and hitting the table and I know it was aggravating to some people."
Just when England was ready to leave, a waitress appeared.
"I'll try to do this without crying," the waitress told the family. "But another customer has paid for your bill tonight and wanted me to give you this note."
The note read: "God only gives special children to special people.”
Riley is non-verbal and has been through three major brain surgeries for a severe form of epilepsy. The seizures started when he was 18-months-old, robbing him of his speech. His mom says he had more than 100 seizures a day.
Riley's frustration with being unable to speak, often leads to outbursts England says causes many to cruelly judge her son.
"Until a person has walked in the shoes we have walked in," she said. "They have no right to say one thing."
What they should focus on instead? Remembering the one thing she longs to hear from Riley.
"They take just a simple 'I love you' from your child for granted," she said.
"Because you have never heard that from your son?" asked WBTV's Brigida Mack.
"Never," England replied, getting choked up. "Never."
England says the kindness of the mystery diner made her cry.
"To have someone do that small act towards us shows that some people absolutely understand what we are going through and how hard it is to face the public sometimes," she said. "They made me cry, blessed me more than they know - I felt like out of all the rude negative comments that we are faced with - these outweighs them. The people who care!"
She says she wants to say thank you to the person that paid for their meal and sent the encouraging words.
"Little did he know what struggles we had been facing lately and this was surely needed at that moment," she said. "Thank you!"
Roseville Girls Look to Help Santa Cruz Teen Pay for a Heart Transplant
If all goes as planned, a green bracelet will help save the life of 18-year-old Gavin Jack.
“It kills me to know that he’s going through this right now,” said Kyli Oleson.
Oleson wants to help Jack get a heart transplant.
“It’s not fair that it costs $75,000 to save a kid’s life,” said Oleson.
Oleson lives in Roseville and Jack 160 miles away in Santa Cruz.
“It hurts, I know it hurts,” said Oleson.
The two have never met.
“When I found out about Gavin’s condition, it hit home for me. He’s also in high school and I realized that could be me,” said Oleson.
It started as a senior project at Granite Bay High School and quickly turned in to an all-out fundraiser.
“If I reach the goal of 300 bracelets [and] t-shirts in one month, that’s already $7,000 alone,” Oleson said.
And this purple-y nail polished 9-year-old is the artistic master-mind behind the bracelets.
“It makes me feel good he could die at any time now I know I am helping someone and changing his life,” said Angelina.
Oleson and Angelina met through the “Beside the Blue Foundation” – meant to help law enforcement families across the state who may have financial hardships.
“The goal is to sell 300 bracelets and 300 t-shirt by the end of the month,” Oleson said. And if they do, they could end up saving the life of a total stranger.
For more info on how you can help Gavin Jack, go to http://www.facebook.com/teamgavinj
LUBBOCK, TX - Last Sunday, Shannon Torrez's dog Asia became a mother. The Sharpei and Pitbull mix gave birth to one puppy named Raider. It was a surprise to Shannon, but nothing compared to what came next.
"I got a call from a friend of mine that three kittens had been dropped off on her front porch in a little bucket and she didn't know what to do with them. I went and picked them up, figuring I was going to have to bottle feed them for a little while before adopting them," Shannon said. "When I got home Asia was kind of throwing a fit that I had the kittens and she wanted to see them. I put them up to her and she didn't want to me to get them out of her sight."
Asia immediately began taking care of the kittens. She cleaned them, nursed them and protected them.
"The first couple of days she wouldn't leave their side at all. It took her a few days for them to get settled in and for her to get comfortable before she would even leave the box," she said.
Although it seems unusual, it's something that veterinarians have seen before.
"It occurs actually pretty often," said Dr. Lane Preston with the Animal Medical Center in Lubbock. "She goes ahead and adopts those kittens as her own even though they're not hers. They don't smell like dogs but the urge to mother and nurse is greater than all of those things."
He says this usually occurs when female dogs go through their heat cycle. Their bodies think they are having a puppy and even if they aren't, the dogs still produce milk.
Sometimes the dogs can suffer health problems when they have milk without puppies to drink it, so this kind of surrogate mothering is encouraged.
"There are times when we have to tell the people, do you know of anybody that has some puppies or has some kittens that you could put on this mom to help her out a little bit?"
The kittens are about three and a half weeks old right now. They will stay with Shannon and Asia for another four weeks.
"I honestly thought she would take them in, you know clean them, keep them warm at least, but that I was going to feed them because she is much bigger than they are. But no, they got the hang of it and she has no problem with them," said Shannon.
Dog milk is close enough to cat milk that the kittens should suffer no ill effects.
Torrez has tentatively named the cats Jade, Jewel and Gunner.
Kennedy Hubbard Raises Thousands To Help Sick Children and Their Families
Kennedy Hubbard, 16, has never looked much like the other kids at school.
Born with Lymphatic Malformation, a mass of fluid-filled cysts surround her mouth and jaw, Hubbard was about five years old before she knew she was different.
"Once she was in school, around other kids and reacting to the way they looked at her, she would look at me kind of puzzled," recalls her mother, Leanne, 44, of Moorestown, N.J.
But Kennedy didn't let those differences faze her.
"When I look in the mirror, I just see myself," says Kennedy, a setter on her school's volleyball team. "It is what it is."
Two years ago, when she was a freshman at Moorestown (N.J.) High school, she and her family launched Kennedy's Cause, which has raised more than $34,000 by selling bracelets, t-shirts and car magnets stamped with her personal motto – "Shine."
The money goes to fund research for better treatments and possible cures for her disease and to help other sick children and their struggling families, no matter what their disease or disability.
"She's dedicated herself to making this journey better for the next people," says Dr. Cameron Trenor, director of the Vascular Anomalies Center at Boston Children's Hospital.
"It's priceless, the perspective she gives on how kids can embrace their differences," he says, "and handle what are some very serious medical problems."
Kennedy's foundation helped buy an expensive medical bed for a girl in Hawaii with CLOVES Syndrome and gas money to a family in Ohio who drove two hours a day for six months to be with their hospitalized baby boy.
"From being in the hospital so many times, I've known so many families in need, kids littler than me who have similar medical issues," says Kennedy. "I want to give them hope."
Kennedy goes out of her way to befriend and mentor other children with Lymphatic Malformation.
This past summer, that included cutting out of volleyball practice to travel to the New Jersey shore to meet with the vacationing Shaffer family from Culpeper, Va., whose 2-year-old son, Cole, has an almost identical lymphatic mass in his face.
"I was scared of the day Cole says to me, 'Why are they staring at me?' " says Cole's Mom, Caryn, 32. "But one response Kennedy told me that stuck in my head like a mantra is, 'Curiosity is OK; cruelty is not.' "
Kennedy's help was invaluable, she says.
"The hope Kennedy's given me you can't put a price on," she says. "I can now look down the road and see a bright future for my boy."
Inmates give back by crocheting gifts for babies at Children's Hospital
FRANKLIN, Wis. —Convicted criminals are making blankets for sick babies.
It's a new program at Milwaukee County's House of Correction, but WISN 12 News' Marianne Lyles discovered it's the female inmates who gaining from the gifts they're making.
Valerie Jernigan's therapy while locked up in the House of Correction involves a plastic needle and some yarn.
"With confinement comes a lot of anxiety, depression and being away from your family, and this helps. This helps," Jernigan said.
She knows those feelings all too well having been in and out of jail and prison for much of her adult life.
"I'm ashamed to say I'm almost 50, and I'm still coming back and forth," Jernigan said.
But now she's found a purpose -- leading other inmates. They call her Mama Bear.
It's all because House of Correction Assistant Superintendent Kerri McKenzie came up with the idea of crocheting.
"You have 70 inmates in a dorm with nothing to do. So that just breeds tension," McKenzie said. "I was also made aware there were other correctional facilities doing projects such as this."
Plastic needles/hooks and yarn were donated.
It started out with inmates just learning how to crochet, then they learned to create blankets. Now they know how to create infant mittens and hats.
But where would this all go?
"I just suggested maybe we could donate to Children's Hospital since it is such a great place," Corrections Officer Sarah Moore said.
Moore remembered how her own daughter, Jordan, as a newborn, was in Children's Hospital with brain malformation and heart failure.
"They didn't know what was wrong with her for the first three days. They just told me she would pass away, and there's wasn't much they could do for her," Moore said,
Jordan has had six successful brain surgeries. Today, she's a happy, healthy 5-year-old, but these women, especially Jernigan, understand there are more babies like her.
"My sister, God rest her soul, she had sickle cell anemia, and she was practically raised in Children's Hospital," Jernigan said. "It just feels wonderful, being able to give something back after I've taken so much," Jernigan said.
"It gives them a sense of purpose and accomplishment," McKenzie said.
"It's amazing. They're so excited and happy about it, and we hope they carry it over to when they're not incarcerated anymore," Moore said.
The inmates volunteer to take part in the program, and there's no cost to taxpayers.
The Milwaukee County House of Correction is taking donations of yarn and plastic needles so that more inmates can learn to crochet.
From People Magazine Heroes Among Us:
STEELWORKERS IN ILLINOIS
Braving a fiery wreck, they pull victims out alive
Just before 10 p.m. on March 15, the Birmingham Steel plant in Bourbonnais, Ill., shook with a deep ramble. No one on the night shift seemed concerned; steel mills often reverberate with "wet charges"—-explosions set off as chunks of scrap metal, moist from sitting outdoors, strike the furnace where they're melted down. But this time was different. Crane operator Mark Lapinsky peered outside the plant grounds and to his horror saw a jumble of railroad ears engulfed in fire and smoke. He sprinted to the shipping office.
"Amtrak wreck! Call 911!" he screamed, then ran through the plant summoning coworkers. Heading south from Chicago with 216 people aboard, the train, the City of New Orleans, had collided at a crossing with a truck carrying 18 tons of steel. Driver John Stokes, 58, escaped with cuts and bruises, but 11 people on the train died and 116 were injured. (The cause of the crash remains under investigation.) Terrible as the toll was, it would have been worse but for Lapinsky and 34 fellow steelworkers. "They were the major heroes," says Bourbonnais Fire Chief Mike Harshbarger. "They were there first, willing to wade into the mess."
When Lapinsky reached the crash site, 100 yards from the mill, he found people crawling out of a ditch, drenched in water and blood. "Out comes a crew member holding a little girl," he recalls. "He hands her to me and tells me to get help. I look down, and her left foot is missing." Lapinsky wrapped her wound in his jacket until he spied a nurse. (Though the girl, Ashley Bonnin, 8, of Nesbit, Miss., survived, her mother, June, 46, was killed, along with a cousin and two friends, all between the ages of 8 and 11.) Crane operator Dale Winkel, 41, and shipping clerk Joe Brown, 29, joined Lapinsky in pulling out survivors as fire spread through the wreckage. At one point, passenger Greg Herman, 40, of Memphis crawled out, handed off Kristen, his 8-year-old daughter, then raced back to the sleeping car where his wife, Lisa, 39, and their other children, Kaitlin, 5, and David, 3, remained. Lapinsky, Brown and Winkel intercepted him. "One of them said, 'You can't go in there,' " Herman recalls. "I grabbed him and said, 'My wife and kids are in there.' He said, 'Let's go.' " The steelworkers crawled in and got out Herman's family, all of whom suffered only minor injuries. "They wouldn't be alive today if it weren't for them," Herman says of the steel men.
Moments later, the plant's night supervisor Bob Curwick, 39, and millwright Jack Casey, 41, entered the dining car to find Susan Falls, her right leg crushed by debris. Falls told them her husband, John, and their 19-year-old daughter Jennifer were somewhere inside. At the time of the crash, the family had been eating cheesecake. Afterward, Falls, 46, called out their names but heard nothing. "I'm not going to make it," she told Curwick and Casey. "If you're going to die, I'm going to die with you," Curwick replied. "And I'm too ornery to die." John, 56, had escaped on his own, and after searching the car, Curwick was startled when a hand reached out from a pile of tables and chairs and grabbed his ankle. It was Jennifer, who has Down's syndrome, immobilized by fractures of the ribs and spine. Curwick and Casey stayed with mother and daughter as the flames drew closer and firefighters cleared debris. Finally a hose appeared, and water came pouring in ("The sweetest sound I ever heard," says Casey).
On the scene until 3:30 a.m., the steelworkers took the next day off. When they returned, they met with counselors and talked of their trauma—especially the lives they couldn't save. "There were a bunch of tough guys in there," says Casey. "But there were plenty of tears."
Ospreys who nested atop Brevard traffic pole safely moved
VIERA -- Florida
A family of ospreys that had built their nest on top of a traffic signal pole at a busy Brevard County intersection have been safely relocated.
They didn't fly the coop; they simply got a new home, county officials said.
The birds' nest was on top of a pole at the intersection of Stadium Parkway and Viera Boulevard, just north of Space Coast Stadium and Viera High School.
After waiting for the babies to get old enough -- and after getting special permits from state and federal agencies -- workers moved the nets to another, taller pole nearby.
Ospreys are known for building nests on manmade structures and causing damage.
The traffic signal would have been costly to replace, making the move necessary.
Okay, English Majors ~ Which is correct? Ospreys who or Ospreys that
Isn't who used when speaking of people?
In general, "who" is used for people, and "that" is used for things. So it depends on whether you regard all living critters as people, or as things!
Originally Posted by kuhio98
Making the best of a bad situation: Family cancels wedding, ends up feeding 200 strangers
ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) - A local family turned a canceled event into a chance to bless others affected by homelessness.
Willie Fowler says his family was planning a wedding celebration Sunday when it was abruptly canceled.
The family decided to partner with Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless and treat 200 people to a meal at the restaurant Villa Christina.
"Seeing people that may have or may not have an opportunity to dine in a place like this," said donor Willie Fowler," for me to be able to assist them in doing this that's reward enough for me."
People who took part in the event say the kindness of the Fowler family encourages them to move forward despite their difficult circumstances.
A dog came to the veterinarian's office in terrible shape. But the vet just wouldn't give up on her.
By Tracy Land, DVM, Cumming, Georgia
Ten dogs were brought into our clinic that day. All with the same owners, all in bad shape: malnourished, severely underweight, mangy and flea-ridden.
The worst of the lot was a black German shepherd named Maggie. She was rail thin. Every bone in her body showed. She was covered with open sores from her mange. I cradled her head in my hands and sighed, having seen cases like this far too often in my 15 years as a veterinarian.
Overpopulation is the leading cause of death among pets. Millions of dogs and cats are put down every year because no one wants them. That's why I dedicate a big part of my practice to spaying and neutering. We've done more than 23,000 operations over the past six years, a lot for our small staff.
The clinic runs on a shoestring budget. I believed it was my duty to give discounts to people who couldn't otherwise afford to get their pets fixed. More than once I prayed we wouldn't have to close down. Who would take care of the animals if we didn't?
"You can pick them up later on today," I told the couple who'd brought the dogs in. I hated sending animals back to such poor living conditions, but I had no choice. At least after the procedure, they wouldn't be able to have unwanted puppies.
We cleaned the dogs up and prepped them for surgery. Everything went smoothly, and most of the dogs recovered well. All but Maggie. She was extremely sluggish. An exam confirmed that she was bleeding into her abdomen.
I figured a tied-off artery was leaking or there was a nick somewhere. It happened once in a while and wasn't a big deal. We'd find the source, stop the bleeding and close her up.
But I was shocked when I went in. Maggie's abdomen overflowed with blood. I soaked it up with surgical sponges. That didn't help. Blood spilled onto the table, then the floor.
My hands searched everywhere—every vein, artery and organ—but I couldn't find the source of the bleeding. I closed my eyes to block out any distractions, concentrating on what I felt with my fingers. Where is the blood coming from? I did everything I knew to do, twice. Maggie was bleeding to death. Please, God, save this dog. I can't.
I took a deep breath and opened my eyes. Just like that, the bleeding stopped. Completely. After a few minutes and a few more sponges, Maggie's abdomen was clean and dry. There was no blood oozing from anywhere. And no explanation for what had happened.
The nurses stood in silence as I sewed Maggie up. We gave her fresh blood, drugs to prevent shock and infection, and bundled her in blankets. I didn't think she'd last the night, which I told her owners when they came to get the other dogs. "Come back tomorrow," I said. "We'll see how she's doing then." I left the clinic exhausted and depressed.
First thing in the morning I went to check on Maggie. "Hey, girl," I said. She looked up at me and weakly wagged her tail. "You've got more fight than I gave you credit for." We put her on a special diet. Within 24 hours, Maggie was eating, drinking and walking. She'd come a long way, but still, her health wasn't good.Maggie had heartworms and intestinal worms. The resulting anemia, low protein levels and liver damage meant her blood couldn't clot, like a hemophiliac's. That was why there was so much blood.
When Maggie's owners returned, I explained the dog's medical problems. "She'll need expensive treatment," I told them. "But there's no charge for her emergency care."
They left, saying they'd come back later. They didn't. State law requires that we send a registered letter to any owner who abandons a pet. Then the owner has 10 days to pick the pet up. We sent Maggie's owners such a letter. Three days passed. No response. The next day, their check for the initial visit bounced. I knew we'd never see them again. What to do about Maggie?
Maggie seemed to understand we were trying to help her. She was cooperative and sweet. She licked the hands that stuck her with needles. At the same time, she was very aggressive toward strangers. She charged threateningly and snarled at any new person she saw.
Usually we try to find a home for an abandoned animal, but people don't want to adopt a dog that might bite. After the 10-day waiting period, Maggie would have to be euthanized. It was day eight. You can't keep every unwanted pet you come across, I told myself. But Maggie seemed special, like she was meant to be mine.
God, Maggie should have died during her operation. But you saved her when I couldn't. Why, since we're just going to have to put her down?
The whole staff knew we shouldn't get too attached. "Goodbye, Maggie," I said before leaving for home. Her tail thumped against the floor.
I lay in bed that night unable to sleep. I kept thinking about Maggie. If only she were a gentle dog, then we could find a home for her.
I dreaded going to the clinic the next morning. Dreaded seeing Maggie greet me with a wagging tail. When I got there, I noticed the benches on the front porch were missing. That's odd. I looked around and saw that the door of the garden shed was open. The tools were gone. We've been robbed!
I scrambled for my keys, sure I'd find the place ransacked. We'd be ruined financially. I unlocked the door and threw it open. Everything was in order. No medication missing. No money gone. Nothing had been disturbed. We were still in business!
Thump, thump. I spun my head and saw Maggie, tail hitting the floor. In my worry, I'd forgotten about her. "Thank God you're all right," I said. And then I realized what had happened. Maggie was all right because the burglars never got in. They didn't even try. Surely, Maggie snarled at them through the window, scaring them off. "You saved the clinic, didn't you, girl?" I gave her a treat and a rub on the head. Our hero.
Now I knew for sure why Maggie had been saved on the operating table. And I knew there was no way we could put her down. Thanks to her, the clinic could go on saving animals. Not all of them, but as many as we possibly could.
Today, Maggie's gained about 20 pounds. Her sores have healed, and her fur grew in thick and shiny. She's a beautiful, happy, healthy dog. She's a permanent staff member now—the best security guard we've ever had. And a daily reminder that animals are precious not only to me, but to someone who really can care for every single one.
Good-Deed Pranksters Spread Joy With $200 Tips
A prank usually leaves someone shocked and embarrassed. But a duo of good-deed pranksters decided to give food servers a terrific surprise, a $200 tip. YouTube personalities Stuart Edge and Andrew Hale stopped by several diners in Orem, Utah, to record the recipients' shocked reactions, and they are pretty awesome. The jokesters start out by asking their servers what is the largest tip they have ever received. And then they leave each a $200 tip while the camera secretly records the server's reaction.
The video has been viewed more than a million times on YouTube, and it's leaving commenters with a warm and fuzzy feeling. One commenter wrote, "Now these are the kind of pranksters I like." In the video, one of the waiters says that he makes only about $2.13 an hour, so the tip is gladly welcomed. A female server's co-worker tells the guys that she was recently hit by a car while on her bike, adding, "Thanks for making her night." In the end, it seems that Andrew and Stuart got more out of the good-deed pranks than the servers. The only thing left to do is to pass it on, people!
Minnesota DQ manager's good deed gets attention
MINNEAPOLIS — Joey Prusak was appalled when he saw a customer at the suburban Minneapolis Dairy Queen store where he works pick up someone else's $20 bill and slip it into her purse.
So when the woman got up to the counter to order, Prusak refused to serve her unless she returned the money. When the woman refused, the 19-year-old store manager went a step further: He gave the visually impaired customer who hadn't realized he'd dropped the money $20 out of his own pocket.
"I was just doing what I thought was right," Prusak said Thursday as he recalled the incident from earlier this month. "I did it without even really thinking about it. ... Ninety-nine out of 100 people would've done the same thing as me.
"Even so, Prusak has received loads of praise since a customer's email about him to Dairy Queen was posted online.
Now, people are calling the store, thanking Prusak and even offering him jobs. Customer traffic at the Hopkins Dairy Queen has doubled, and many people are leaving large tips — money that Prusak says he will donate to charity.
Prusak said he even got a call Thursday from billionaire Warren Buffett, whose company owns Dairy Queen. "He called and thanked me for being a role model for all the other employees and people in general," Prusak said.
Prusak has worked at the Hopkins Dairy Queen since he was 14. He's trying to save money to go to school for business management and has managed the store since the spring.
The visually impaired customer who dropped the money during the Sept. 10 lunch rush was a regular. Prusak said he thought the woman who picked up the $20 bill would return it. Instead, she looked at the man, then put the cash in her purse.
"I was appalled," Prusak said. "I didn't know what to do or say."
Prusak thought for a moment, and when the woman approached the window, he asked her to return the money. But she claimed it was hers. The conversation went back and forth. Finally, Prusak recalled, he told the woman: "Please return the $20 or get out of the store, because I'm not going to serve someone as disrespectful as you."
Prusak said the woman stormed out, and he served the other customers. He then went over to the man eating his sundae and gave him $20. Prusak didn't tell anyone about it, other than the other employee in the store.
But another customer saw the incident and sent an email to Dairy Queen. The email was forwarded to store owner Dave Pettit, who posted it at the store. Another employee took a picture, which has been circulating online.
Dean Peters, a spokesman for International Dairy Queen, said the company is figuring out how to reward Prusak.
Prusak said when he saw what happened, he just couldn't keep quiet.
"I was going to say something no matter what," he said. "If she would have returned the money, then I would have served her."
Good for him, standing up for what is right, regardless of expense to himself.
Random Acts of Everyday Angels
It's too easy to overlook the small kindnesses. But where would we be without these Earth Angels?
By Colleen Hughes, New York, New York
Ask me if I’ve ever seen an angel, and my quick answer is, No. I just love to help bring to life the angel stories people tell us. And that’s what I was doing the other day when the phone rang. “Hey, Colleen, it’s Angelo. Your Subaru’s ready to go.”
Every morning I jumped out of my car and ran past Angelo’s garage, high-tailing it to catch my bus at the corner. “Can’t be late for work!” I’d yell. This particular morning I had to let the bus go by and tend to the rattle in my car. Angelo promised he’d get to it ASAP—and here it was, finished. Too bad I wouldn’t get there in time to pick it up and pay him before he closed up shop for the day.
“I’ll stop in before my bus comes in the morning, how’s that?”
Angelo laughed. “You’ll be rushing, Colleen. Key’s under the driver’s side mat. Take your car and come see me on the weekend.”
“Wow, thanks!” I said. How often did a car mechanic care so much about his customers getting to work on time?
I returned to my angels reading. But Angelo’s kindness kept coming back to me. In his busy day he’d gone out of his way to consider me and my needs.
Then I remembered the grocery store clerk who’d rummaged around for a 10% off Thanksgiving coupon from a circular I hadn’t seen. “I know you like saving as much as I do,” she’d said. And the lifeguard who’d put aside the prescription sunglasses I’d left behind on the Fourth of July. Or the spring afternoon I’d found the postman fixing the red flag on my mailbox. All these people taking an unexpected interest in my everyday life.
As I thought back over the past year, I made a resolution. Ask me again if I’ve ever seen an angel. Yes, I have. Countless times.