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10 Uplifting Stories To Get You Through The Week (7/28/19)

by Radu Alexander
fact checked by Jamie Frater

If the rest of the week has got you down, maybe this list can cheer you up a little. Here are some inspiring and positive tales to lift your spirits. If you like weird and wacky, try the offbeat list as well.

Quite a few inspiring tales of rescue this week involve children, puppies, stranded motorists, and salmon. There are also stories about the 7-Eleven baby, the frugal carpenter, and, of course, the Ernest Hemingway look-alike competition.

10 Puppy Reunion

Photo credit: BBC

A mama pit bull was reunited with her litter after two armed burglars stole the puppies and left her and her owner with a few scrapes and bruises.

Last weekend, two masked men wielding machetes followed their target inside his apartment in Manchester, England. They took everything they saw of value, including six five-week-old pups. Of course, their mother, Zena, was not going to let them go without a fight. She tried to defend her litter but got a nasty cut on her face for her troubles.[1]

Fortunately, mother and pups weren’t apart for long. Manchester police recovered all the pooches from a property in the district of Moston and have already arrested a man in connection with the burglary. All the puppies were in good health, and Zena was “absolutely delighted” to see them again.

9 The Dream Team

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One can’t walk, and the other can’t see. But they teamed up, and together, they can share in their love of the great outdoors.

Melanie Knecht has spina bifida, which means that she has to use a wheelchair to get around. That being said, she still is a very lively person and enjoys multiple physical activities. A while back, she went to an adaptive boxing class where she met Trevor Hahn. He contracted glaucoma five years ago and, since then, has gone blind. Later, the two met again at an adaptive rock-climbing class and struck up a friendship.

They talked about their recent adventures. Melanie visited Easter Island where she was carried around on another person’s back. Trevor climbed a peak in the Himalayas by using poles and spoken directions from other people. Then a light bulb moment occurred. They realized that they could team up and enjoy the Colorado wilderness they love so much.

As Melanie put it: “He’s the legs, I’m the eyes.”[2]

A third person puts her in a carrier on Trevor’s back, and from that point on, the two can hike the trails of Colorado. They have been sharing their treks online since February. Next month, they plan to undertake their most ambitious journey yet—hiking to the top of a 4,270-meter (14,000 ft) mountain.

8 Honesty Shop In Halifax

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The Halifax Stanfield International Airport now boasts Canada’s only airport honesty shop. Opened last week, the store has a staff of zero. Everything is self-service, and customers are expected either to drop cash in a mailbox or use a card reader for payment.

Francesco Stara and Najib Faris decided to bet on the moral integrity of their patrons which is why they opened the Mabata Honesty Shop in Halifax. They were inspired by visits to nearby farms where the same system is implemented for people looking for some produce. Just put what you want in a bag, drop some money in a bucket, and you’re done.

Faris and Stara believed that the same concept could be applied in a more populous urban setting. Although it’s a bit early to tell, their trust in Nova Scotians has been well-placed so far.

The kiosk has been open for two weeks and has seen a 100 percent payment rate and no theft. The shop is scheduled to stay open until August, although if it fares well, it might become a permanent fixture.[3]

7 Impromptu Tow Service

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Three Canadian teenagers didn’t set out to become an Internet sensation. However, their impromptu good deed earned them overnight fame and praise from all over the world.

Last week, Aeron McQuillin, 18, Bailey Campbell, 17, and Billy Tarbett, 15, wanted to make a late-night trip to a doughnut shop in Fonthill, Ontario. On their way there, they spotted a woman on the side of the road with smoke coming out of her car.

A leak led to her engine coolant and oil mixing, making it unsafe to drive. At the same time, she didn’t have money for a tow truck so it looked like she was stuck there. Another motorist named Dan Morrison stopped to help, but he didn’t have a tow cable.

The boys decided they could push her car home. Both drivers thought they were crazy as the woman lived over 8 kilometers (5 mi) away, but the teens were determined. They bought a few bottles of water, put some music on a phone speaker, and away they went on their arduous trek. Morrison agreed to drive behind them with the hazard lights on as a safety precaution.

There were challenges. Once, they had to push the car over a big hill. During a rest stop, the battery died and had to be charged again. Even so, after two-and-a-half hours of pushing, they arrived. Morrison snapped a photo of the teens and told online of their heroics, which led to their unexpected fame the next day.[4]

6 The Importance Of Being Ernest

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Persistence paid off for 68-year-old retired Tennessee banker Joe Maxey. On his eighth try, he achieved his dream of winning the Ernest Hemingway Look-Alike Contest.

The 39th annual Hemingway Days festival took place in Key West, Florida, last week. This was a particularly notable event as it marked the 120th anniversary of the author’s birth. As always, one of the highlights was the look-alike contest where 142 contenders tried to imitate the style and appearance of the writer by donning white beards and casual sporting clothes.

The competition was pretty serious. Contestants were whittled down in two preliminary rounds before the best of the best took part in Saturday’s finals. The judging panel consisted of previous winners, including the husband of celebrity chef Paula Deen who won last year.

Joe Maxey took the title this time after seven failed attempts. Unlike many of his competitors, he decided to forego the savanna look and instead wore a thick sweater, another one of Hemingway’s trademarks. Besides loving Hemingway’s books, Maxey said that he shared the author’s fondness for women and mojitos.[5]

5 The 7-Eleven Baby

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The “7-Eleven baby” now has a college fund courtesy of the 7-Eleven convenience store chain.

July 11 was 7-Eleven Day. It was also the day that J’Aime Brown was born into this world at 7:11 PM weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces. The bizarre occurrence led to her being nicknamed the “7-Eleven baby” as her birth was widely reported by the media.

It wasn’t long before the organization heard about this and decided to celebrate this strange series of coincidences or kismet, depending on what you believe. They pledged $7,111 toward J’Aime’s college fund to “honor her entry to the world.” They also provided all the necessities like diapers and onesies that the parents of a newborn might need.[6]

4 How To Mount A Salmon Rescue

Photo credit: BBC

Canadian conservationists are organizing an ambitious rescue operation to save thousands of Canadian salmon that have been trapped by a landslide on their way to spawn.

When it comes to reproduction, salmon have a particularly hard time. First, they migrate from the ocean into the rivers where they were born and swim upstream until they end up in the upper reaches. Then they deposit their eggs on gravel beds after which most salmon keel over dead.

It’s an arduous trek. For the salmon of Fraser River in British Columbia, it has been made even more difficult by a landslide that has blocked off most of the river.

According to conservationists, only around 700 fish have been able to make it through the affected area, leading to concerns that it will put the local salmon population at risk. There are plenty of humans and animals that rely on the salmon as a major source of food.

Consequently, the government has mounted a rescue operation. The plan is to put the fish into large tanks and airlift them over the rocks. At the moment, crews are building a holding pond where the salmon can stay until they are ready to be airlifted. They are also tagging the fish for research purposes and removing some of the larger rocks to make it easier for the salmon to pass through on their own.[7]

3 Right Place, Right Time

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Four young American men are being hailed as heroes after rescuing a little girl from drowning while on holiday in Ireland.

On Monday, Dublin’s Portmarnock Beach was the location of a tragic scene: A father looked on helplessly as his six-year-old daughter was being swept out to sea. She was sitting on an inflatable mattress, and the powerful tides had seemingly placed her out of reach.[8]

Fortunately, four men were present who heard the father’s pleas for help. All in their late teens or early twenties, they were competitive swimmers and were able to reach the girl in time. Three swam out to get her while the fourth, 21-year-old Coast Guard member Walter Butler, followed his training and prepared ashore to offer her first aid.

At first, it looked like the men would not make it in time. The powerful waves shook the girl off the floaty, and the stunned crowd watched in horror as she fell into the water.

It took about 20 minutes of swimming, but the rescuers reached the girl. They took turns keeping her afloat during the long swim back. Paramedics were on the scene by the time they reached the beach. The young girl was taken to the hospital but has already been discharged and is safe at home.

2 Follow The Giggles

Photo credit: NBC News

The tiny village of Aneroid in Saskatchewan, Canada, filled with roughly 400 Mounties and other officers on Monday night. They had gathered to search for a two-and-a-half-year-old boy who went missing during a family reunion.

Of course, since this is the uplifting list, you know the story has a happy ending. Two Mounties located young Courtlund Barrington-Moss safe and sound after hearing his giggles coming from a muddy hole.[9]

Despite the large scale of the operation, rescuers had no luck on Monday night. It wasn’t until Tuesday morning, 12 hours after Courtlund’s disappearance, that they stumbled upon him.

Two volunteers were scouring the area when they heard a giggle. It was the boy laughing at the sight of the men and the horses. They followed the giggles and tracked them to a hole that was so deep that they could barely see Courtlund’s head.

At the hospital, Courtlund was given a clean bill of health besides a case of sunburn and some scratches.

1 Dale Was A Good Guy

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A carpenter from Iowa lived a frugal lifestyle for his entire life. Unknown to anyone, he amassed a fortune which he used to send kids to college after his death.

Dale Schroeder worked as a carpenter for the same company for 67 years. He had no wife or children, and he learned to live thrifty because he grew up poor. Those around him thought he stayed poor for his entire life.

As one friend said, Dale had “church jeans and work jeans.” But even those closest to him had no idea that Dale was, in fact, a millionaire. Even his lawyer almost fell out of his chair when Dale told him he had almost $3 million saved.

It seems that the carpenter never had any inclination to splurge with all that money. He had no living descendants, so Dale decided to use his fortune to give kids an opportunity that he never had: a college scholarship.

Schroeder died in 2005, and since then, 33 students from small, poor towns in Iowa have gone to college using his money. The group, collectively known as “Dale’s kids,” said that the only condition for the tuition was to pay it forward when the time comes.[10]

Read more uplifting stories you might have missed from July 21, 2019, and July 7, 2019.

fact checked by Jamie Frater