Feel-Good Friday: Good Samaritan helps the homeless, rescue dogs and inspiring wheelchair dancers

Good Samaritan Candice Payne pays for hotel rooms for homeless during freeze in Chicago

There is always plenty to worry about in this world — no shortage of bad news, mean people, disasters, violence and political outrages. And while it’s important to know what’s going on in the world, to be aware of these things (for how else will we be able to change them?) — I think we need the feel-good stories, too. As many as possible.

Because in the midst of all the terrible things that we are deluged with every day, there are rays of sunshine always. Incredible stories of people doing generous things for others. Heroes and kind-hearted folks; strangers who lend a helping hand; young people who take a stand for what’s right; people who rise out of difficult circumstances to do something amazing.

Those are the stories we need to hear, too. Those are the voices that need to be amplified.

Good Samaritan Pays for Hotel Rooms for 70 People During Arctic Freeze

Amidst record-breaking polar temperatures in the Midwest, a compassionate stranger paid for 70 homeless people to stay in a hotel. At first, the donor remained anonymous; but just this morning I discovered who she is: Candice Payne.

Though Chicago city officials have urged their homeless residents to stay in proper shelters and warming centers, a group of rough sleepers in the South Side stayed in their tented encampment. Firefighters were called to the campsite on Wednesday – the second coldest day in Chicago’s history – when a propane tank exploded after sitting too close to a space heater. No one was injured, but law enforcement officials went on to discover over 100 propane tanks in the encampment, which prompted the fire department to issue a Level 1 Hazmat alert for hazardous materials.

The responders were forced to confiscate the propane, leaving many of the homeless citizens without proper heating in –20ºF (–22ºC) temperatures. City officials contacted staffers at the local Salvation Army warming center in order to accommodate the at-risk residents – but then an unnamed (at the time) hero stepped up to help.

Good Samaritan Candice Payne pays for hotel rooms for homeless during freeze in Chicago

Shortly after reaching out to the Salvation Army, city workers notified the staffers that a Good Samaritan had paid for hotel rooms to house all 70 homeless people until the end of the week. Payne used her personal American Express card to pay for the rooms. Her actions have spiraled into a lifesaving effort by a group of strangers on Chicago’s south side, proving that kindness is contagious.

This is the stuff heroes are made of.

Source: The Good News Network and KVUE

Rescue A Golden of Arizona Brings Rescue Pups from Turkey to the U.S.

I learned about this heartwarming story from my friend Tyla, a flight attendant, animal lover and all-around big-hearted person. The animal rescue group Rescue A Golden of Arizona helped two pups, Charlie and Luca, to escape horrible conditions in Turkey to come to loving, forever homes in Phoenix, AZ. Tyla will be one of those, as she welcomes her new best friend Luca home.

The rescue group shared on its Facebook page Thursday: “Please help us welcome Charlie and Luca as they make their way from Turkey to Arizona! They are in flight now, landing at LAX later today where they will be greeted by two of our fabulous volunteers, Bob and Darcy Wood. They’ll stay the night in LA and head to Phoenix tomorrow; and then on to their foster to adopt homes. Welcome to the US!”

In response, Tyla wrote: “Come on Luca! Your Family is waiting for you to rescue us!!!! Safe journey, precious ones! We are ready, ready, ready to snuggle and love you and have 3 doggie beds for you to choose from and a crate full of tennis balls!!!!! ❤️❤️”

I can’t wait to meet Luca one day, and to follow this story of love as Tyla and Luca become family!

You can donate or volunteer with Rescue A Golden of Arizona.

Sources: Tyla Tingle and Rescue A Golden of Arizona

Dance group of women in wheelchairs inspires young girls with disabilities

You’ve heard of the Rockettes, but have you heard of the Rollettes – a dance troupe of women in wheelchairs? The Los Angeles-based group was founded by Chelsie Hill, who always wanted to be a dancer, and wasn’t going to let her paralysis stop her. Hill was paralyzed as a senior in high school, when she was a passenger in a drunk-driving car accident.

She danced with her high school team in her wheelchair, and when she graduated, she was inspired to show other girls with disabilities they could dance, too.

“I found this group of girls on social media who all had spinal cord injuries and I invited them to my hometown to dance with me. It was such an amazing experience,” Hill told CBS News.

Right now, there are six dancers on the team who perform competitively together. Not only does Hill coordinate this small group of dancers, but every year she holds a dance camp for women around the world. Last year, 115 wheelchair dancers attended the camp, she said. Girls of all ages attend the camp and learn how to dance in their chairs.

“The next generation of young women in wheelchairs — the kids that are born with spina bifida, the kids that get injured at a young age — it’s because of them that I’m like, ‘I want to fight so hard now to do what is right for us women in chairs,'” Hill said. “I want to break down the stereotype of wheelchair users and show that dance is dance whether you’re walking or you’re rolling.”

Hill said interest in the Rollettes has expanded, and she is now hearing from mothers of boys who use wheelchairs. “I started it as girls because I just wanted to make friends, but it has expanded in the past year to guys,” she said.

For Hill, it’s not just about teaching others the art of dance, it’s about giving them a space where they feel like they belong. “I had a girl say it was the most empowering thing that she rolled into a room and everyone was at eye-level,” the dancer said. “I never thought of that because I built this community in L.A. for myself and all my best friends in chairs. It’s a normal thing for us here. But I forget people that get injured and get diagnosed and they feel like outcasts. I want people to come into that room feeling so normal, so empowered so that they can go out in the world and conquer anything.”

Source: CBS News

Photo of the Day

OK, this doesn’t technically fall under “good news stories” — but it’s such an astonishing, beautiful photo that I had to include it:

Boiling water freezing in air. Photo by Michael H. Davis
Boiling water freezing in air

Source: Michael H. Davis

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