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10 Uplifting Stories To Get You Through The Week (9/1/19)

by Radu Alexander
fact checked by Jamie Frater

If the happenings of the past week have got you down, perhaps this list can cheer you up a bit. Here, we only talk about stories that are positive, amusing, or inspirational. Meanwhile, you can also check the offbeat list for a look at some of the most bizarre news items that made the headlines.

This week is all about parties. There is an emotional reunion at a retirement party when an FBI agent meets the baby he saved decades ago. Nurses throw a surprise party and concert to cheer up one of their patients. Seniors in South Korea get down with the groove to improve their health and well-being. And let’s not forget a four-year-old who got to spend his birthday in his favorite place—Costco.

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10 Retirement And Reunion

Marine Reunites With The FBI Agent Who Saved His Life | NBC Nightly News

An FBI special agent got a big surprise at his retirement party when he was reunited with the baby he saved 22 years ago as a rookie.

Back in 1997, the FBI was called in after an abduction at a hospital in Tacoma, Washington. A woman successfully impersonated a nurse and kidnapped newborn Stewart Rembert.

Among the agents looking for the baby was Troy Sowers who was still wet behind the ears back then in his first year of service. However, he got a tip and managed to track down the kidnapper. Later, he persuaded her to bring him to the stolen baby. Little Stewart had been left in a box next to a restaurant dumpster, but he was in good health.

The baby was taken to the hospital. Sowers never saw Stewart again but always wondered about what happened to him. In the decades that followed, Sowers worked plenty of other cases, but now it was time to hang up his boots.

His colleagues threw him a retirement party with a special surprise: an appearance from Stewart Rembert, now a 22-year-old corporal with the Marines. The two hugged and remembered the unusual circumstances that led to their meeting all those years ago, with Stewart hearing for the first time many details surrounding his kidnapping.[1]

9 Front Lawn Festival

Front lawn becomes a stage for a house-ridden boy

The front lawn of the Waters house in Weymouth, Massachusetts, has become center stage for many performers who show up to entertain a three-year-old boy who can’t leave the house.

Quinn Waters needed a stem cell transplant to fight his brain cancer. Although the procedure went well, it temporarily wiped out his natural immune system. He had to be isolated in his home and avoid contact with anyone except for his immediate family. The separation has been hard on the boy as all he can do is gaze out the window at the people who pass by the house.

However, over the last two months, more and more people have been coming over to the family’s front lawn to interact with Quinn. First, it was other family members. Then the neighbors started swinging by. Afterward, the police came.

Eventually, almost every performer in Weymouth dropped by to do their acts for Quinn. Everything from magic tricks and art projects to dog parades and Irish dancing all took place on the Waters family’s lawn.[2]

8 Feline Finds Family

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Maggie Welz had lost hope that she would ever see her cat, Tiger, again. After all, it had been 11 years since he ran away from home after someone accidentally left the door open.

Months of searching for him yielded no results, and there was no chance of Tiger coming back on his own after the Welz family moved. And yet, today Maggie and Tiger are together again, thanks to another woman who tracked Maggie down through the microchip implanted in the cat.

Carol O’Connell works for the SPCA in Dutchess County, New York. For the last three years, Tiger has been hanging around her neighborhood, although it was clear that he was a stray. She tried to get close to him, but the cat was too wary to let that happen.

Recently, she noticed that the animal had lost weight and was worried that he might be sick. O’Connell tried harder to gain the cat’s trust, and eventually, he relented.

She took him in and called him “Spirit” or “Ghost” due to his tendency to appear and disappear. On a whim, O’Connell borrowed a scanner from the SPCA shelter and checked the cat. That’s how she found out that his name was Tiger and he belonged to the Welz family.[3]

Now he has been reunited with the people who thought they would never see him again. Maggie says that Tiger crawls up to her every night in bed, and she strongly encourages pet owners to chip their animals.

7 I Want It That Way

Nurses sing Backstreet Boys to cancer patient who missed concert due to diagnosis | GMA Digital

Nurses from Northside Hospital in Atlanta threw a surprise party and performance to cheer up one of their patients who missed a Backstreet Boys concert due to a leukemia diagnosis.

Amanda Coley is one of the biggest fans of the boy band. She is 36 now, but she has been listening to the Backstreet Boys since she was a teenager. Therefore, she was over the moon when she and her sister, Maggie Kingston, received concert tickets for the band’s August show as a Christmas gift from their husbands.

The concert was on August 21. Three weeks before that, Amanda found out that she had leukemia and had to start treatment for it. According to Maggie, Amanda’s first question was: “So I can’t go to the Backstreet Boys concert?” Unfortunately, she couldn’t, but her sister and a friend decided to throw her a little party in her hospital room to cheer her up a bit.

They passed out invitations to the nurses, hoping they might stop by and say “hi.” But the nurses went a little further. A bunch of them danced their way into Amanda’s room and started performing some of the band’s greatest hits as Amanda danced and sang along.[4]

Maggie described her sister as being “in heaven.” The stunt even caught the attention of Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter who reached out to wish Amanda “good luck” with her treatment.

6 Costco’s Littlest Fan

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Speaking of parties, one four-year-old celebrated the birthday party of his dreams at his favorite place in the world—Costco.

Young Armando Martinez is obsessed with the retailer. His parents even started an “Armando Loves Costco” Instagram account. There, they share pictures of the boy enjoying the various perks of a trip to the store such as munching on free food samples and showing off his own membership card.[5]

His passion for Costco went to a new level after the store in Norwalk, California, shut down its food court so that Armando could have his birthday party there. They had pizza, music, Costco-brand cake, and plenty of thematic games such as guessing the prices on merchandise and swinging at a pinata with the Costco logo on it.

Guests were even presented with special name tags modeled after the store’s membership cards.

5 Lilo Rescue

Photo credit: BBC

Two teen sisters from Scotland saved a man and a toddler from drowning by getting both of them onto an air bed and pushing them to the shore.

On Monday, Isla and Eilidh Noble were relaxing with a swim in the Waters of Philorth nature reserve off the coast of Aberdeenshire. They saw a man and his young son splashing around and shouting.

At first, they mistook the actions for normal frolicking in the water, but they eventually realized that the two were in trouble. The man put the boy on his shoulders and was struggling to keep both their heads above the water level.

The sisters swam out to the struggling duo with the only equipment they had handy: a one-person inflatable air bed which is called a “lilo” in the UK. The girls reached the father and son and managed to place them both on the air bed. The man was so exhausted that he passed out. Isla started pushing them toward the shore while Eilidh swam ahead to call emergency services.[6]

Fortunately, another man named Keith Gray saw the events unfold while picnicking with his family. He swam to Isla to help her push. A passing nurse assisted in placing the man into the recovery position and getting him to cough up seawater.

Emergency services arrived and airlifted the man to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. He regained consciousness before taking off and thanked his rescuers. His condition was not life-threatening. The young boy was uninjured.

4 Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Woman Attends First Pirates Game

A 99-year-old lifelong fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates got to attend her first baseball game ever with her entire family to celebrate her upcoming birthday.

Catherine Kyle has lived in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, her entire life. She became a Pirates fan early in her marriage as she watched the games on television with her husband, Jack. Together, they had over 30 children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Jack passed away, but Catherine’s passion for the Pirates stayed strong.

Despite her devotion, she had never actually been to PNC Park where the team plays. But her family decided that it had been long enough. Catherine’s 99th birthday is coming up in September. To celebrate, they took her to the Pirates game against the Cincinnati Reds last Saturday. Sixteen of them wore matching gear and dubbed themselves “Catherine’s Crew.”

The Pirates won 14–0. Catherine described the whole experience as “really fun” and even got her wish of singing along to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in the seventh inning. To top it all off, she received a baseball signed by her favorite former Pirate, Francisco Cervelli.[7]

3 Saturday Afternoon Fever

Photo credit: BBC

The local government of Seoul, South Korea, has organized a first-of-its-kind daytime disco aimed strictly at people over 65 years of age. The goal is to help tackle loneliness and poor health in a country with a large number of seniors and the fastest aging population in the world.

The concept is simple. If you are over 65, you can go there and party for a few hours. Sometimes, there are themed events such as masquerades. This is beneficial for seniors because it not only encourages physical activity but also improves their social lives. This can help combat mental afflictions such as depression or even dementia.[8]

Participants have responded positively to the disco. Some say that it acts “like medicine,” and others feel like the “pain disappears” when the music hits.

2 Paddling Against Pollution

Paddleboarding from California to Hawaii

A Spanish endurance athlete paddled across the Pacific Ocean from California to Hawaii on a custom-made stand-up paddleboard to raise awareness of plastic pollution.

Antonio de la Rosa set off from San Francisco on June 6. He embarked on a 4,750-kilometer (2,950 mi) journey that ended last Saturday in Oahu. In 76 days, he became the first person to complete this trip on a paddleboard.

There was no engine and no support vehicle. All the supplies were aboard de la Rosa’s 7.3-meter-long (24 ft) paddleboard which weighed over 680 kilograms (1,500 lb).

His only method of propulsion was his arms and his legs. To make it a bit more difficult, he had to stand up while he paddled. The watercraft was fitted with a few solar panels, but these were only used to charge de la Rosa’s GPS and communications system.

The athlete said that he saw plastic debris float by him every day of his trip. He posted daily updates online in hopes of raising awareness of how bad the pollution problem is getting.

During his journey, he also marked his 50th birthday which he celebrated with “one small cookie.” Unsurprisingly, he had lost a lot of weight during the trip and looked forward to having a beer and a hamburger when he got to Hawaii.[9]

1 Althea Gibson Honored

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The start of the US Open also brought with it some long-overdue recognition for Althea Gibson, a tennis Hall of Famer who broke down barriers for black athletes in the 1950s.

In 1956, Gibson became the first black tennis player to win a major championship when she took home the Grand Slam title at the French Open. The next year, she also won the US Nationals and Wimbledon and managed to amass 11 Grand Slam titles over her career.

Despite her success, she was never truly accepted by the tennis community. Her legacy is remembered much more fondly today. Officials and players alike sought to commemorate Gibson’s contributions to the sport by presenting a new granite statue of her placed outside the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.

On hand for the unveiling was Gibson’s friend and former tennis partner, English player Angela Buxton. She knew firsthand the kinds of discrimination faced by minority players back then. Often, she had been denied club memberships and even access to training facilities because she was Jewish.

The two bonded over their shared hardships and won two doubles Grand Slams together. Memorably, one newspaper reported their landmark feat with the headline, “Minorities win.” Despite the obstacles, Buxton looked on Gibson’s career in a positive way, saying that her friend “got the last laugh” in the end.[10]


Read more uplifting stories you might have missed from August 25, 2019, and August 11, 2019.

fact checked by Jamie Frater