There’s been a lot of bad news over the past few days. Norway. Winehouse. China. Dozy forklift drivers. And, it’s fair to say, it’s got us all down a bit. So here are some of the items of good news you might have missed over the past few days.
Deborah Copaken Kogan was concerned when her 4 year-old son came out in a rash, but put it down to strep. She posted a photo on Facebook of her boy, with the caption ‘Nothing says Happy Mother’s Day quite like a Sunday morning at the pediatrician’s’.
After a few hours, she’d had countless comments, from messages of concern to suggested diagnoses. But then she got a call from a former neighbour, who recognised the symptoms as Kawasaki disease, an inflammation of the blood vessels which, if left untreated, can cause death. Two months later, Leo is slowly recovering – but he’s alive, at least. All thanks to a few concerned Facebook friends.
The day I posted a video of Leo blowing out the candles on his birthday cake, one woman commented, “We were all holding our breath for those candles,” as if she, too, had come to know the virtual crowd that had gathered on my wall—the collective we—and was speaking on behalf of all of them.
Deborah Copaken Kogan
James Slatcher was out playing with his friend at 3am in front of the 36-unit townhouse development in which he lives when he saw smoke billowing out from an upstairs balcony.
Not only did he get his own family out – including his sister, his nephew and his niece – James went on to hammer on every door in the building, carrying children and pets to safety. Now, he’s being credited as a hero; and with good reason.
Trying to process the events and going on almost two days of no sleep and countless interviews, Mr. Slatcher is downplaying his role and thankful no one was hurt or killed in the blaze.
“I wouldn’t even have been here, but my ride didn’t show up,” he said, fresh from a shower at a command post set up at the Salvation Army’s Sutton Youth Centre providing relief to the many residents left homeless and with little or no belongings.
“It feels good to be clean again,” he added. “I was all smoked out and covered in cat hair.”
It’s every (American) kid’s dream to catch a baseball during a game. It’d take pride of place on the mantelpiece for years, and be a great story to tell the grandkids. And so, when a young fan caught a ball during an Arizona Diamondbacks game and then proceeded to give it to another child who obviously wanted it more, it swelled the hearts of the nation; and probably resulted in him being allowed to stay up late that night as a treat.
71 year-old grandmother Ann Timson is being called a hero by her community after beating up a gang of robbers. The thugs were trying to break into a jewellery shop in Northampton, England, when they were attacked by Mrs Timson, who was wielding a particularly frightful handbag.
When asked to recall her experiences, she responds in the matter-of-fact way that only the War generation can:
I clobbered one with my shopping, but he got away. The rest were still trying to smash and grab the jewellery. I just kept swinging my bag, then they tried to escape. I landed several blows against one lad on the back of a bike and brought him to the ground.
Perhaps not a ‘good news’ story in the traditional sense, but should bring a smile to your face nonetheless. For years, Russians have been synonymous with snow, furry hats and vodka. In fact, the stereotypical Russian is permanently drunk.
I used to think this was quite unfair, and then last week I learned something about the Russians which helped everything to make sense. They’ve finally classified beer as alcoholic. Amusing, yes; but it was this sentence which really tickled me:
Until now anything containing less than 10% alcohol in Russia has been considered a foodstuff.
So, even though the news sucks at the moment, take time out of your day to smile. After all, if you do, you’re more likely to grow old gracefully.