Good People Doing Good Things — Humanity

Last week, I took a hiatus from my usual Wednesday ‘good people’ posts, but I’m back this week with an all-new batch of really good people doing more than their share to make life a little better for someone.


The doctor’s Christmas gift …

I’d like to introduce you to Dr. Omar T. Atiq.  Originally from Pakistan, after completing his fellowship at New York City’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Atiq accepted a job offer in Arkansas.

Dr-Omar-AtiqIn 1991, Dr. Atiq founded the Arkansas Cancer Clinic in the community of Pine Bluff to make comprehensive cancer care available for the economically disadvantaged. Prior to its opening, Pine Bluff cancer patients traveled at least 50 miles for treatment. Dr. Atiq is clear that his patients’ needs were always his top concern—not their ability to pay.

“One principle I have always followed is, I am here to see patients. For somebody to trust their lives in my hands is the highest privilege and honor I can get. We never refused any patient for any reason.”

Earlier this year, Dr. Atiq and his wife were preparing to close the clinic, as he transitions to his new role as full-time professor of Head and Neck Surgery at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. They were closely reviewing the clinic’s financial state, and what they found was astounding … some of the patients had bills in the tens of thousands, and were making monthly payments of only $5 or $10.  He realized that many of the folks he’d treated didn’t have the means to pay—especially with so much added financial hardship brought on by the coronavirus pandemic

“They wanted to pay but they couldn’t.”

The total owed to Dr. Atiq by his patients was more than $650,000, and he and his wife decided to forgive his patients’ debts in time for the Christmas Holiday.  Each of his patients who owed him money received this card …

Dr-Omar-Atiq-card

“We are blessed that we didn’t need the money, so we decided to just cancel and forgo the debt—and we did.”

Dr. Atiq is, in my book, a very good people!


Anonymous Santa

The year 2020 will live forever in the history books, due to the pandemic that has killed nearly two million people around the world, and thus far has seen over 92 million cases.  Needless to say, the pandemic has caused financial hardship for many in every nation on the planet.  In the city of Edmonton, Canada, people woke on Christmas morning to a nice surprise …

secret-santa

A Santa who chooses to remain nameless left envelopes containing an inspirational rhyme along with $250 gift-cards on approximately 400 doorsteps, for a total of $100,000!  I do hope this Santa doesn’t have his heart set on a Poet Laureate award, however!

The only clue to the selfless Santa’s identity was an email address at the bottom of the notes. CBC News did reach out, but the cagey old elf preferred not reveal his or her identity. The anonymous do-gooder did, however, email the network to share his/her reason for the generous act:

“I decided to do it because I know that lots of people have had a really tough year and I had the means to help out. I hope the gifts gave people a sense that the world is good and there is a brighter future not far ahead.”


One good deed leads to another

Evelyn Topper and her granddaughter, Mikayla Gounard, had been to a local coffee shop in their hometown of San Rafael, California, and it wasn’t until they returned to Evelyn’s house that she realized she no longer had her wallet.  Needless to say, with credit cards and medical cards in the wallet, Ms. Topper was upset!  But …

The next day, a homeless man named Sean Curry phoned Evelyn and told her that he had found her wallet in a dumpster behind the coffee shop.  He made arrangements to bring her wallet to her, and Evelyn thanked him profusely.  Sean, however, didn’t think it was a big deal, saying he did it because he “has a heart”, and because “that’s the way I was brought up”.

Now, Evelyn’s granddaughter Mikayla had a birthday coming up, and she had planned a “socially distanced drive-by party”, whatever the heck that is!  She had asked invitees to donate to a charity in her name, rather than bring presents, though she had not yet decided on which charity.

On the day of her party, the newly-minted 12-year-old placed a photo of Curry and a collection basket next to balloons and party favors on an outdoor table in her driveway. By the end of her “Happy Birthday!” processional, she’d raised several hundred dollars.  The next day, Mikayla and her mom met Mr. Curry and gave him the money, explaining what Mikayla had done.  This was the result …

homeless-man

Says Mikayla …

“I think it’s really important that people who think that because you got pushed down you can never get back up again.”


An exec with a big heart

Ramu Dosapati lives in the Hyderabad region of India where in 2020, hardships brought on by heavy flooding and compounded by the added limitations of the pandemic lockdown left many migrant workers stranded without means of support.  Now, Mr. Dosapati is a corporate Human Resources executive, but that doesn’t stop him from doing what he can to to ensure the area’s struggling workers won’t go without food and other essential items.

Mr. Dosapati has spent ₹50 lakh of his own funds (close to $61,000) to establish and run a ‘Rice ATM’, doling out rice and other necessities 24 hours a day, seven days a week to those in need.

His first step along the road to altruism began simply enough, but he had no way of knowing then just how far his journey would take him, and the amount of good he would do along the way.  Dosapati had gone to the store to pick up the makings for his son’s birthday dinner. While at the shop, he noticed a woman buying an enormous quantity of chicken—close to $2,500 dollars’ worth, in fact. Intrigued, he couldn’t help but ask her purpose in buying so much poultry. As it turned out, the woman, a security guard who works at a camp for migrant workers, was buying it as a special treat for residents there who’d run out of food.

“When I asked her about her salary, she said it was ₹6,000. That made me think that if a lady with ₹6,000 salary can spend ₹2,000 on the needy, why can’t I do the same?”

Dosapati accompanied the security guard to the camp, where he made a list of close to 200 people in need of assistance. He quickly realized, however, the initial investment he’d allotted would only last a few days.  Undaunted, Dosapati cashed in his retirement fund, and working with a local merchant, opened the Rice ATM food pantry. But Dospati wasn’t finished.

Dospati-rice-atmWhile he’d been working toward moving his family into a larger home and had already sold a parcel of ancestral land to secure funding, when Dosapati learned yet another new group of workers had arrived seeking aid, with the blessings of his family, he put those dreams on hold.

“That’s when my wife supported me and asked me to go ahead and carry on with the initiative.”

Since the Rice ATM launched last April, word of Dosapati’s generosity has made the rounds. With support from a number of outside sources now pouring in, the man who has truly put the “human” in human resources says he hopes to keep resources flowing for those in need for a long time to come.

Dospati-rice-atm-2


Well, there you have it folks … lots of good people, young and old, from all walks of life, doing their bit for humanity.  We can all do just a bit to help someone else, if we only open our eyes and our hearts.

Let’s Take A Break From All Things Political

A few hours ago, I re-blogged Keith’s post about how Trump’s lies and treasonous talk of voter fraud, which has been disproven time and time again, has incited threats of violence throughout the nation, but most particularly in Georgia, as they gear up for the runoff elections for Senate on January 5th.   Yesterday afternoon, I wrote a snarky post about a number of socio-political situations that disturb me.  Just a few minutes ago, I left a mini-tirade on Trump’s Twitter feed, hoping to release some of my fury (I’ll probably get banned again, but … who cares?). I’m tired.  I’m disgusted.  I so desperately want to leave this country and never come back … that is Trump’s legacy, in my book.  Long story short, I need to write something tonight that is not political, that does not include the word ‘trump’, and that will quell the rage I feel right now.  And so … in a rare step away from my usual fare, I am writing about other things … just for this one post!  I’ll be back in the afternoon with more of what you expect from Filosofa.


A bit of humour …

The McCormick family in Adelaide, Australia, came home to quite a surprise yesterday!  The day before, they had put up their artificial Christmas tree … one that they had owned for lots of years … with a silver, pink and blue theme.  The tree had seen better days, but still … it looked pretty good once they got the lights and decorations on it.

On Wednesday, 16-year-old Taylah was the last to leave the family home in Coromandel Valley, Adelaide around 3pm.  She made sure the dog was outside, closed the back doors and turned off all the lights. When the whole family arrived back around 6pm, something was odd.  Said Taylah …

“I think the dog went straight to the Christmas tree and was sniffing around and Mum thought that was a bit weird. There was baubles all over the floor … and she looked up and there was a koala in the tree. It was pretty tangled up in the lights. It was a fake tree and very old but she still tried eating the leaves off it … I saw her munch down on some but she stopped when she realised it was plastic.”

Taylah’s mother, Amanda McCormick, said she was in shock.

“I thought ‘Is this a joke?’ I thought one of my kids may have put like a soft toy in there, but no, it was a live one.  We’ve had them in our trees before but not inside on our Christmas tree … It must have crawled in when the doors were open, it would have been in our house for at least three hours.”

The family immediately called the Adelaide and Hills Koala Rescue, but co-founder Dee Hearne-Hellon said the group didn’t believe the story at first.

koala-in-tree

The rescue team quickly arrived to detangle the koala, which Taylah had dubbed Daphne.  Hearne-Hellon said Daphne was a juvenile female around three or four years old and in good health.

Hearne-Hellon said the koala likely just wondered into the home because it liked the look of their tree.

“It’s not actually that hot, so they wouldn’t be seeking shade, particularly at the moment … They are curious, and they are in the suburbs, and if they see something that they want to have a look at they’ll just drop in and have a look.”

I love it!  I’m very thankful to learn that Daphne has been released into a tree in a nearby bushy area.  I wonder if she will visit the McCormicks again?


And a bit of serious …

And now that you’ve had a bit of fun (I hope), you should know that today is National Roof Over Your Head Day.  I chuckled when I first saw that one, but it’s actually quite a serious day.  According to the National Day Calendar website …

National Roof Over Your Head Day was created as a day to be thankful for what you have, starting with the roof over your head. There are many things that we have that we take for granted and do not stop to appreciate how fortunate we are for having them. 

All across our nation, there are many that do not have the things that necessary to everyday life. They may lack a roof over their heads, enough food to eat, or clothes to wear. For those who have those bare necessities, it may be insufficient. 

The day reminds us to appreciate what you have. This day follows closely after Thanksgiving, a day to be thankful. So just like Thanksgiving, be thankful for what you do have and always remember, that it is a better feeling than worrying about what you do not have.

HOW TO OBSERVE #RoofOverYourHeadDay

To celebrate, pick a name or two off of a Christmas Giving Tree and make someone’s holiday a little better. Volunteer at or make a contribution to a homeless shelter in your area. Your gift may help someone else be able to have a “roof over their head” tonight. Use #RoofOverYourHeadDay to post on social media.

This year especially, there are many people who have lost their job due to the pandemic and cannot pay their rent or mortgage, are in danger of losing their home.  So yes, let’s be thankful for our own situation, and if we can, let’s try to help others out just a bit.

I don’t think most of you are aware, for I don’t share this with many people as a rule, but I was homeless once … not for long, for I had good friends who helped me out, but for a few days, two of my three children and I lived in our car, not knowing what would become of us, so I have had just a small taste of what it’s like, and … it’s damn scary, my friends.


And on that note, let’s end with another bit of non-political humour, shall we?

toon-12toon-14toon-15

Snarky … puff puff … Snippets

More than a few times in the last week, I have found myself dreading to even log onto any of the news sites.  Blogging friend Brian, concerned for my emotional well-being, advised me to take an entire week away from the news, and while I so greatly appreciate him caring, I simply find that I cannot.  Every day brings a new abomination, and somehow, I feel an obligation to keep up.  In part, it is because I think part of the goal of Trump & Co is to overwhelm us to the point that we simply tune out.  I’m determined not to do that … I simply cannot.  A number of my friends and readers have at least partly tuned out, and I understand that … I really do … but I cannot.  Writing this blog is the catharsis that offsets, to a greater or lesser degree, the angst … I think.  Anyway … with that in mind, I can do nothing but give you yet another batch of … Snarky Snippets!


Two thumbs up …

To New York City for a positive move on homelessness.  While Donald Trump, on his visit to California earlier this year, complained that …

“We have people living in our best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings, where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes.”

Meanwhile, New York City is expected to pass a new bill in the coming week that will force developers of designated affordable-housing projects to set aside 15 percent of the units for the homeless.  This could ultimately add as many as 1,000 apartments for the homeless per year, almost doubling the 1,300 already in existence.  Many other cities have similar requirements, but none as ambitious as this one.

The homeless rate in the United States has increased in recent years, despite Trump’s claims that the economy is doing so great.  New York City alone has increased from 64,000 in 2014 to 79,000 in 2019.  The increase is partly due to stagnant wages … the low unemployment rate doesn’t address wages … and partly to the increased cost of housing.  The rent in my own small (1,190 sq ft) townhouse has increased from $625 when we first rented it in 1998 to $1,162 in 2019 – an 86% increase in 21 years, though nothing has been replaced, not carpet, linoleum, paint, fixtures or appliances, in that time.  And this is in a low-income neighborhood!  How a person earning minimum wage … which, by the way, has not increased since 2009, ten years ago … could afford even basic housing, plus utilities and food, is beyond me!


Disenfranchising more voters?

Earlier this evening, I saw a tweet by my least favoured representative, Warren Davidson, that called for stricter voting laws.  His comparison was ludicrous …

Warren-Davidson“Saying #VoterID laws suppress voter turnout is similar to saying background checks suppress gun ownership. All polling locations should require #VoterID just like all firearms dealers require a background check.”

Since I take great pride in harassing him at least once a day, I responded with an explanation of the difference between gun ownership and voting, and asked him if he was really that stupid, or if he was just pretending.

But, to the point … Donald Trump has had a very low approval rating for the entirety of his presidency, and now he is being impeached.  The republicans are getting worried about his electability … understandable, since they have tied their carts to his pony.  So, red states are trying to pass more restrictive Voter I.D. laws, and anything else they can do to disenfranchise the poor and minorities who tend to vote largely democrat.

The State of Wisconsin has taken an approach that I find absolutely disgusting.  In October, they sent letters to hundreds of thousands of voters, asking them to respond if they were still at that address or to update their registrations if they had moved.  Sounds innocuous enough, right?  Perhaps it was, in the beginning, but conservatives filed a lawsuit alleging that to avoid fraud, the commission should have thrown out the registrations of voters who did not respond to the mailing within 30 days!  The Election Commission had initially planned to throw out those registrations in April of 2021, after the election, if the people who didn’t respond also didn’t vote.

But, on Friday Ozaukee County Judge Paul Malloy ordered the state to take as many as 234,000 people off its registered-voter list who had not responded to the letter within the 30-day period.  Now, I can tell you that if I received such a letter, it would probably go straight in the trash, for I take such things with a grain of salt and don’t have time for such foolishness.  Turns out that the majority of those letters were sent to voters in districts that were won by Hillary Clinton in 2016 … coincidence?  I don’t think so.

See, here’s the thing … Trump won Wisconsin by a very narrow margin – less than 1%.  So, there is a push to ensure some of those voters who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, cannot vote at all in 2020.


A law unto himself …

Remember how there were a number of people who had heard Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, several of whom found the call deeply troubling, and one found the courage to become “the whistle-blower”, which has led to the impeachment that is almost certain to take place on Wednesday?  Well … the Trump administration has fixed that problem for any future phone calls.  According to CNN …

“Donald Trump’s senior aides have further restricted the number of administration officials allowed to listen to the President’s phone calls with foreign leaders.  Transcripts of Trump’s calls with world leaders are also disseminated to a far smaller group of people inside the White House, continuing an effort to limit the number of people with insight and information about the conversations.”

It’s rather like the child who, getting caught stealing cookies from the cookie jar, learns to make sure that next time, mommy is in the bathroom before dipping into the jar.  Well, it fits, doesn’t it, for we have a child in the Oval Office.

trump-phone-call.jpgMake of this what you will, but I find it deeply concerning.  It’s yet another attempt at covering up his actions, rather than promoting that ‘transparency’ he promised some three years ago.  Remember the ‘swamp’ he was going to drain?  That swamp was a rose garden compared to the swamp he has built.


Well, folks, that’s all I have time for tonight!  Enjoy what’s left of your weekend!

Trump-Barr

Snarky Snippets: Filosofa Growls

I awoke this morning to an odd noise that I couldn’t seem to pinpoint.  At first I thought it was a car motor outside, but everywhere in the house I went, the noise stayed the same.  I asked the girls if they could hear the noise (my hearing is strange … I don’t hear what is there, and I often hear that which doesn’t exist), and they said they heard it only when I was near.  Hmmmm … a mystery.  Well, we finally figured out that it was a low, growling sound emanating from somewhere deep in my throat.  Well, you all know what that means, right?  It means that it’s time for … Snarky Snippets!


Donald Trump, whose claim to fame is firing people, who even had a television show that was based solely, from what I’ve heard, on him screaming, “You’re Fired!” every week, is in firing mode this month.  The latest in a series was Matthew Doherty, who until last week served as executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.  What, you may ask, did Mr. Doherty do wrong?  Nothing, as far as I can discern, but the timing is interesting.

The council was created in 1987 and is supposed to coordinate the government’s approach to tackling homelessness. It is unclear who will lead the organization now.  Trump has recently promised to take action against California’s homelessness problem, arguing that homelessness hurts the quality of life and the “prestige” of some of its largest cities. One measure that has been discussed is razing the tent camps that house many homeless.

Did Trump fire Mr. Doherty because Doherty is a man of integrity and refused to go along with Trump’s inhumane ideas?  And think about it … what does Trump plan to DO with the homeless people?  Remember, we are talking about people here, not just some things that are lying about detracting from the “prestige” of the cities.  Will he throw the children in cages?  Since for the most part these people are citizens, not immigrants, he cannot send them “back where they came from”, so will he throw the adults into the Pacific Ocean and say, “Sink or swim”?

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


Remember those tax cuts for the wealthy that Trump & Congress so generously approved in December 2017?  One of the beneficiaries of those tax cuts came onto my radar just this morning.  In 2017, the year prior to the implementation of the new tax cuts, FedEx paid $1.5 billion in taxes.  Last year, however, was a different story … last year FedEx paid -0- in taxes.  That’s right, folks … almost ever single person reading this post paid more taxes in 2018 than the corporation that saw a net income of $4.57 billion in fiscal 2018.  Let that one sink in for a minute.

Now, the rationale for the tax cuts on corporations was that the companies would use the extra money they had on investments that would create more jobs … you know, that ‘trickle down’ theory that has never worked and never will work.  Well, the company spent less in the 2018 fiscal year than it had projected in December 2017, before the tax law passed. It spent even less in 2019. Much of its savings have gone to reward shareholders: FedEx spent more than $2 billion on stock buybacks and dividend increases in the 2019 fiscal year, up from $1.6 billion in 2018, and more than double the amount the company spent on buybacks and dividends in fiscal year 2017.

In a nutshell, the country’s national debt is higher than ever before, the budget deficit (you remember, the one that republicans were so concerned about when Obama was president?) is in the tank, but a lot of rich people got even richer, thanks to their rich friends in the U.S. Congress and in the Oval Office.

Oh, and one last thing … this year, FedEx cut back on employee bonuses in an effort to reduce labour costs.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


Just so you know, my friends, Attorney General William Barr says that We the People (those of us who still use our brains to think) are “undermining the rule of law”.  Yes, that’s right.  Trump can break the law, trample the Constitution, and even shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, but it is those of us who disagree with him that are undermining the rule of law!

“Immediately after President [sic] Trump won election, opponents inaugurated what they called ‘The Resistance’ and they rallied around an explicit strategy of using every tool and maneuver to sabotage the functioning of the executive branch and his administration. The fact of the matter is: that in waging a scorched-earth, no-holds-barred war of resistance against this administration, it is the left that is engaged in the systemic shredding of norms and undermining the rule of law.”

He forgets that after Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, it was the right that formed the Tea Party movement, and republicans in Congress who conspired to oppose every effort put forward by the incoming administration.  He forgets that the Koch brothers initiated the “Tea Party” movement immediately after Obama’s election, to shout down democratic lawmakers, protest in the streets and at state capitols across the nation, and even protest violently outside of the U.S. Capitol building. Some of them reportedly spit on lawmakers as they were walking into Congress to vote on healthcare legislation, and some called black lawmakers the N-word.

Yet it is those of us who want the madman out of the Oval Office, who wish to restore some integrity and intelligence to the position of president, who are “undermining the rule of law”???????

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


Okay, folks, I think I’ve growled so much that my throat hurts, so I’ll stop here and leave you with a bit of humour.

Good People Doing Good Things — Small, Yet Big!

It’s time for our weekly dose of good people, and I don’t know about you guys, but after this past week, I definitely feel the need to see people helping people instead of the usual, “I got mine, I’ll take yours too” attitude.  I’m focusing on small things today … and some small people with huge hearts.  These kids may be small in stature, but they are big on the things that matter most.  Gronda, get your tissues. box of tissues


Seven years old and already an environmental activist!

Benjamin Ball of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, is only 7-years-old, but is more environmentally savvy than most of us.  Not long ago, Benjamin and his family were visiting in New England and they stopped in at the L.L.Bean flagship store in Freeport, Maine.  When they decided to get a drink at the store’s café, Benjamin was not pleased to be given a plastic straw, and he asked if they had any paper straws.  (Ellen — this reminds me of your Benjamin!)

LLBeanThey didn’t, and so when Benjamin returned home, he wrote a letter to the president and CEO of L.L.Bean, Steve Smith.

“I’m writing to you because I’m a friend of the Sea Turtles and I want to protect them. Marine animals get killed by plastic in the Ocean. The Sea Turtles are important to the ecosystem and me. I know that L.L. Bean cares about the Earth too. If it is possible, could you use paper straws instead of plastic straws, please?”

Sea turtleWow … what a polite little activist!  Well, his efforts paid off, for within 24 hours, Benjamin received a response from Smith, who assured Benjamin he’d look into the issue.  Says Smith …

“It made me smile. It was a really articulate, well-reasoned, polite, yet passionate and emotional note about saving a species that no one is speaking for. It hit me in a really emotional way.”

And Smith has lived up to his response. L.L. Bean has announced that its retail affiliates and employee cafeterias would be making the switch to 100% corn biodegradable straws.

“This letter hits at the absolutely perfect time with a fantastic idea.”

Benjamin even got to meet Mr. Smith when Smith visited his alma mater, Dickinson College, located in Ben’s hometown.  Take a look …

Hats off to young Benjamin for looking after the environment and especially the sea turtles, but kudos to Mr. Smith and L.L.Bean for listening to a little boy and for being willing to make changes for a good cause.  This is what cooperation looks like, and it is people like Benjamin and Steve who will save our planet, if it is to be saved.Benjamin-Steve


Not homeless anymore!

Anthony Johnson, of Sussex, England, was homeless, living in a tent with no job, no money.  But even so, Anthony wasn’t lazy … he really wanted to earn his own way, but life hadn’t been kind to him and he found himself in this situation.  Anthony posted a note at a local bus stop …

“I will do a trial for free to show how I work. I don’t take drugs or drink. I will also do dog walking/minding, window cleaning, shopping, gardening, car valeting/washing, housework, cooking. Anything to earn a living and make life seem worth living.”

Anthony-Johnson-note

Just so happened that a young lady named Charlotte Howard noticed Anthony’s note as she was waiting for a bus and sprang into action.  First, she photographed the note, and Mr. Johnson’s tent near the bus station, and then she posted the pictures on social media.  Next, she set up a GoFundMe account  that received more than $3,200 (£2,466) in just over 10 days.

Ms. Howard had planned to use the money to buy Anthony a small RV, or caravan as they are called on that side of the pond, but since a local charity was inspired to donate a caravan to Johnson, the money will now be used to provide him with supplies, food, and additional resources to make up for his last nine years of living on the streets.

But the best is yet to come.  A local landscaper, Nelson Smith, contacted Anthony and asked if he would be interested in starting a home repair business with him, so Anthony is now employed, has a place to call ‘home’, and has a job too!  All thanks to a young lady 16 years of age, who decided to step up to the plate and help another human being.  Lots of thumbs-up to go around here, to Nelson Smith, to all the people who donated goods or cash, and most especially to Charlotte Howard!  See, folks, this is what it’s all about … people helping people.

Anthony-Johnson-Nelson-Smith

Anthony Johnson (left) and Nelson Smith.  Anthony’s new home is inset.


And he can’t even drive!

William Rabillo is not yet old enough to drive, but he did manage to buy a car … for his mom.  I’ll let William’s mom, Krystal, tell you about it …

“I have no words right now that can express how I am feeling at this moment. I’m in complete shock … The last couple weeks have literally been hell filled with so many tears, anger, confusion and heart ache. Today I got the shock of my life..

As some of you may know my son William, who is a lawn mowing, yard cleaning , money making machine. Well my son had a job today that he had to go do and so I allowed him to go assuming it was like any other time. Well this time was different. Very different.

William came home and said, ‘Mom I bought you a car.’

I of course laughed and told him ‘ya right!’

He said, ‘No mom I’m so serious I bought you a car. Come on we have to go.’

I’m at this point confused and sceptical and I said, ‘Go where?’

He said, ‘With this lady.’

And much to my surprise I go in my front yard and OMG there is a women standing there and as William said she was giving us a ride. William jumps in the car so I’m like ok?? This is some kind of joke right. No one speaks really….

So….. As I’m still thinking at this point still a joke. We pull up to this house and William says, ‘Mom that’s your car….’

I completely lost it.

I started balling my eyes out. I am speechless my 13 year old son bought me a car. He did some work for this women and that was his payment that he worked out with her. And here I thought it was a joke… Nope I was handed the keys and paperwork to the car and I’m freaking out but so in shock like OMG this is happening right now. So we got into the car it started right up and off we went.

I am so proud of my son. He is such a good kid. He may have his days but OMG what 13 year old kid do you know that buys his mom a car… William I love you son and thank you. You have such a big heart and I love you…”

William says he first got the idea from a couple of YouTube videos …

“I saw on YouTube where people get their mom a car and then surprise her with it. I wanted to do that.”

So, William started searching ads on Facebook and came across a woman selling a  ’99 Chevy Metro for only $300.

William-Rabillo

“It was really cheap so I asked her if I could trade it or earn it, and at first she said no. After she thought about it, then she said yes.”

William actually gave the woman his Xbox video game console, and will be doing some chores for her, which is nothing new, for William already does yard chores for neighbors nearly every day.  This is a kid who decides he wants to do something and there’s no stopping him.  I predict he will go far in this world.


So, we’ve just seen three remarkable young people that show us how it’s done, this humanity thing!  They are an inspiration, and if there is hope for the future of the human race, these kids are the ones that will help make it happen.

Good People Doing Good Things — Liam and Scott Hannon

Last night when I began working on my ‘good people’ post, I intended to write about 3 or 4 people, as I often do, and I picked one with which to begin.  But, before long I was up to nearly 700 words and still had more to say about this remarkable duo … a boy and his dad …

liam-7Today, please allow me to introduce to you 12-year-old Liam Hannon of Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Liam’s dad typically sent him to camp for a portion of each summer, but in 2017, when Liam was just ten, he informed his dad that he didn’t want to go to camp that year.  Dad said okay but insisted that Liam find something productive and positive to keep himself busy through the summer.

That first week of summer vacation, Liam and his dad found an online treasure hunt game called Brain Chase, where Liam chose three topics to focus on, one of which was ‘service’.  The game challenged Liam to find some way, some project to give back to his community.  Liam thought about the homeless people he saw every day right outside his building, and he had an idea.  The idea was to make … sandwiches!  Sandwiches to pass out to the people who needed them most.  And thus was Liam’s Lunches of Love born.liam-6In the first week, Liam loaded up a wagon and handed out 20 sandwiches with his dad’s help. He went from sandwiches to complete bag lunches, upgraded the wagon to a hand-cart, and to date has served up more than 2,000 bag lunches to homeless people in his neighborhood.  He doesn’t just make the lunches (with some help from dad), but on each and every lunch bag, he writes a handwritten message, often accompanied by an encouraging little bit of artwork.liam-3Liam hopes to someday expand his philanthropy to include animal rescue.  A story his dad tells of one incident furthers our faith in Liam’s good heart …

His father remembers Liam’s first animal rescue: a bucket of 15 baitfish. Father and son had gone fishing. Liam watched his dad jab one small fish with a fishing hook. The boy held the bucket against his chest.  “I heard him tell the fish, ‘Don’t worry. It’s OK. I’m going to talk to him,’” Scott said.  Liam persuaded his father to throw every single baitfish back into the water, including the one on the hook so he could ‘be with his friends.’ “He’s just a wise soul for his age,” Scott said.

Now, Liam obviously has a huge heart and is a ‘good people’, but I think his dad, Scott, has to get some of the credit here, too.  Scott doesn’t just talk the talk, but walks the walk, and Liam has grown up seeing the examples set by his dad.

“One time, Liam said, ‘Dad, did you just tell that lady she didn’t have to pay you?’ And I said, ‘Yes, she’s 90 and lives on her own and has no one to help. That $80 means nothing to me.’ He has learned like that, but he’s always been a very empathetic kid.”

Scott is a single parent, working at a mid-level job and lives in a rent-controlled building, so needless to say, there came a point early on in this venture where they needed help to pay for the groceries for the lunches Liam was handing out.

“That first week, we made 20 lunches. That was going to be it, but then Liam said, ‘Dad, can we do this again? I like doing this.’…So we kept doing it, and each week it grew a little bit more.”

So, they started a GoFundMe.   Over the weeks, donations poured in to help Liam’s Lunches of Love, and local grocery stores contributed meals, too. Friends and neighbors also volunteered their time to hand out bags, which freed Liam and Scott up to spend more time with each recipient and get to know them. And that experience has opened their eyes.

“Liam has learned a lot about the difference between what a real homeless person is like versus the idea he had in his head just from seeing people on the street. He realized they’re a lot different than he thought they were, and he’s grown up a little because of it.”

liam-1Liam and his Liam’s Lunches of Love have received national recognition from ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, the Boston Globe and others.  But the real honour came last month when Liam was one of five young people showcased on CNN’s “Young Wonders: A CNN Heroes Special” hosted by Anderson Cooper.  Take a look …

The five were also honoured the next night on “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute”.  As Anderson Cooper said at that event …

“The next generation reminds us of the unwavering foundation that really connects us all — incredible acts of kindness, unconditional love and the promise of a better tomorrow.”

liam-8I couldn’t have said it better myself.  Hats off and two thumbs up to Liam and his dad Scott … these are the people who remind us what humanity is really about, don’t you think?

For more about Liam, his dad and this project, be sure to check out the Liam’s Lunches of Love website.

Good People Doing Good Things — Betty Kwan Chinn

You are going to fall in love with today’s ‘good person’ …gateway-to-life.pngHer name is Betty Chinn, and as you may have already guessed, she is originally from China.  I’ll let her tell you about the days of her childhood …

Betty-Chinn“I was born in a very good family. I’m one of 12 kids. And then in the 1960s, they had the Cultural Revolution. My mom was a US citizen and a Western educator. My mom believed in God, religion. Because my parents had religion and education, my family was a target for the government.

I was separated from my family and I lived on the street by myself. I had to wear a sign on my neck that said, ‘I’m a child of the devil.’ I had nothing to eat, hungry all the time. Every time when I asked for food, I was beaten up by people. Torture, separation from my family, abandoned, betrayal … this all happened at a very young age.

My sister took me out of the country … and then to Hong Kong. I did not know my birthday.

I had never been to school. I stayed home. Then I found my best friends on Sesame Street. They were the ones who taught me English.

Each day when I get up in the morning, I get moving, that’s my birthday. I am celebrating my birthday every single day when I can move, and I can breathe. I have my freedom. That’s the way I look at it.”

And now that you know how Ms. Chinn got her start in life, let’s take a look with what she is doing today.  Eventually Betty was sent to live with a sibling in California and settled in the town of Eureka in Humboldt County.  Married to now-retired Humboldt State University physics professor, Leung Chinn, the couple had two sons, and it was this that would spark Betty’s passion for helping others.

One day in 1984, while volunteering at her son’s elementary school, one of his classmates complained that she was always hungry.  Betty began putting an extra sandwich in her son’s lunch for the girl, only to discover a few days later that the girl and her family were homeless, living out of their car. So, Betty began sending extra food for the family, as well.  Although she didn’t realize it yet, she had just started down the path that would last for the rest of her life. She began observing people in the town and was shocked to see how many other people were in the same situation and decided to make it her mission to provide for the less fortunate in her community.

“I’d do anything I could do to make people not hungry. When I even hear somebody say, ‘I’m hungry,’ my stomach hurts. I feel the hunger inside me. I still remember the hunger.”

She used income from her part-time job to buy food, which she would load into her car and deliver to people living on the street, under bridges and highways, anywhere she could find them. At first, she didn’t tell anyone about what she was doing – not even her husband.

“He did ask me, from time to time, ‘Why are you cooking so much food? Why we buy so much food from the supermarket?'”

He eventually found out – ten years later – and is now her biggest supporter!

Though she never publicized what she was doing, Chinn’s efforts were noticed and appreciated. In 2008, she received the Minerva Award for remarkable women from California’s first lady, Maria Shriver, which included a $25,000 prize.  By now, I’m sure you can guess that Betty did not spend that money on new clothes and a lavish vacation, right?  Nope, she built showers!  Yep, you heard me right … showers.  The following March, she opened Eureka’s first (only) free public shower facility, with the mantra “Providing Dignity One Shower at a Time”.

In 2010, she was one of 13 recipients of the 2010 Presidential Citizens Medal from President Barack Obama, the nation’s second highest civilian award. She was honored for showing how one person can touch the lives of hundreds of people whom the rest of the world has forgotten.Chinn-Obama-2010It was at that point that she started dreaming of opening a “Betty’s House,” a type of central location where she could help clients keep warm and fed while connecting them with a variety of services housed under one roof.  Four years later, this dream culminated in the Betty Kwan Chinn Day Center which houses Betty’s commercial kitchen, helps clients connect with services, jobs and housing, while also offering after school care, wellness courses, and educational programming for homeless children.day-center.pngBut Betty didn’t stop there!  In 2016, she opened Betty’s House, a family shelter that provides transitional housing up to 8 families at a time, giving them the stability, services, and support needed to find a permanent place to live. The shelter’s downstairs, operated in partnership with St. Joseph Hospital, offers a space for up to 10 homeless people recently discharged from the hospital to convalesce under a nurse’s 24/7 care.betty-house-front.png

Betty-house-1

Betty-house-2Betty-house-3But we’re still not done …

Also in 2016, as the city of Eureka was working to clear its largest homeless encampment from a greenbelt near the bay, Betty partnered with the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights to convert some old Connex shipping containers into a housing village, known now as Betty’s Blue Angel Village, that shelters up to 40 people at a time while offering intensive wrap around services aimed at transitioning them into permanent housing situations. It is one of few shelters on the West coast that allows animals.Village-1Village-2There is so much more I could write about Betty Chinn … this woman … this woman is so good, has done so much for her community, that my words feel inadequate to describe her.  Betty arises at 2:07 every morning, ready to go, seven days a week, rain or shine.  I recommend paying a brief visit to her website, The Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Foundation, where you will find additional information, photo galleries and more.

In 2015, she received yet another award from President Obama …2015-Chinn-ObamaLast week, Ms. Chinn was named one of CNN’s Heroes … an honour well-deserved. In addition to American recognition, Betty has received commendations from China and is hailed as the “Hong Kong Angel.”  And around Humboldt County, she is known as the ‘Chinese Mother Teresa’.  Eureka’s police chief, Andrew Mills, described her as a philanthropic force of nature. “It’s a humbling experience just to sit in her presence.”

Heck, I found it humbling just to research and write about this woman … I am in awe.  If I had a third, I would give this woman three thumbs up, but as I have only two, I shall give her both.  Thank you, Betty Kwan Chinn, for making such a wonderful difference in the lives of so many!  👍👍

Good People Doing Good Things — Carolyn Collins

I was working on a special piece for this week’s ‘Good People’ feature, but as often happens, I find that it requires more digging and research than I have time for right at this moment, so I will have that one next week.  But for today … you are going to fall in love with this woman!  She will restore your faith in human nature!  Please allow me to introduce …Carolyn-Collins-2Carolyn Collins, a high school custodian in Tucker, Georgia.  About four years ago, Carolyn was working the early shift, it was still dark out, and she was getting ready to take out the trash when there came a knock on the cafeteria door.  Two students — a boy and a girl — looked at her nervously. “Can we please come in?” asked the boy, even though school didn’t start for two more hours. “Me and my sister are getting tired of waiting outside.”

Talking to the two, Carolyn learned that they were homeless, living in a car with their mother, and hadn’t had much to eat for several days.  She fixed them something to eat and sat chatting with them for a few minutes.  It was from them that she learned there were actually several homeless kids in the school, some living in cars, some in homeless shelters, some even living on the streets.  Carolyn’s heart was touched, and she knew she had to find a way to help.giving closetAfter work that evening, Carolyn stopped at several dollar stores on her way home, purchasing $200 worth of snacks, toiletries, socks, underwear, notebooks, and pencils.  The next morning, she dropped into Principal Eric Parker’s office to let him know what she was doing and to ask if she could make use of a small, mostly-unused storage closet near the cafeteria.  And with that began the Giving Closet.

Many of the students at Tucker High School live in poverty, and according to Principal Parker, at any given time there are typically 10-15 students who are homeless.  Carolyn started out with just a few items, but as she realized how great the needs of the students were, she expanded and now has clothing, belts, shoes, gloves, hairbrushes … you name it, she’s got it, and if she doesn’t have it, she’ll get it.  She spends a few hundred dollars of her own hard-earned money each month keeping the closet stocked.  These days, teachers, other students, and members of the community also bring items to help keep the closet stocked.

Carolyn’s son was murdered during the Thanksgiving weekend six years ago in a home invasion.  She hopes that what she is doing will help keep the young men and women of Tucker High off the streets and prevent what happened to her own son from happening to these young people.

Earlier this year, her efforts came to the attention of television host Steve Harvey after Atlanta-based TV station 11Alive shared Carolyn’s story in December of 2017. Grab your box of tissues and take peek …

“I never anticipated it would get this big, lots of good people want to help. Not every kid who comes to the closet is homeless — some come from single homes and don’t have dads in their lives. It’s hard not to have a dad at home, especially when you’re a young boy. I just hug them and love them and let them know that I’m here for them.”

One of the young men she helped who has since graduated and is now a sophomore at Savannah State University, says of Carolyn …

“I love her with all my heart, she was my angel. Ms. Collins took me aside a couple of times and made sure that I was doing okay and asked me what I needed. And I basically told her, ‘everything.’ I didn’t have clothes or good shoes or food, or even a toothbrush. She gave me all of that and more.”

I so admire Ms. Carolyn Collins … she is what we should all aspire to be, don’t you think?

Carolyn-Collins-3

“They can come to me for anything. If I have it, I’m going to give it to them.”

 

Good People Doing Good Things – Jamal Cole

Every Wednesday morning I go in search of the antithesis of the people I typically write about.  We become so mired in the day-to-day venom that defines our social and political climate today that we forget … there are a lot of good people out there who are busy doing things to help people and the planet.  I am always amazed at how many such people pop onto my radar on Tuesday nights when I am writing these posts, and it helps to restore my faith in the human race.

While the ‘man’ in the Oval Office has picked on Chicago, calling it a ‘disaster’ and ‘out of control’, Jahmal Cole was spending his time doing things to help make things better in Chicago.

Jahmal ColeJahmal’s life, like so many others in Chicago, began in 1983 on the poor side of town, growing up in a home with parents who were drug addicts and split up more than a few times. Cole said his parents’ struggles with drugs and their frequent breakups would send him off with his father to live in Fort Worth, Texas.

“We didn’t have any money; we slept in the back of a U-Haul truck, but indirectly that was my vacation.”

He said those breakups showed him the country in a way other kids on his block had never seen, and his parents’ drug issues taught him responsibility.

“I was always the person my dad gave the money to — even at 12 years old — because I was the responsible one.”

Getting out of Chicago from time to time, seeing other parts of the world, fostered in Jahmal a determination to go to college.  He stole a college guide from a teacher who refused to give one to him and settled on Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. That decision had his mother saying he was “acting white,” and got his jaw broken by other kids on the block.  But none of that stopped Jahmal.

His father stole a rental truck to drive him to college, and they maxed out Cole’s credit cards to get the gas to get to the Detroit campus. Others might have given up, faced with such challenges, but Jahmal Cole does not give up.

Jahmal graduated with honours and used his skills and talents not to go into the business world, but to go into the world he had recently left, the streets of Chicago.

He strives to make the community a better place to live as he inspires and helps teens and young adults to rise above their present circumstances and upbringing.

He started out volunteering at the Cook County Jail. Working with young inmates, the thing he heard from all of them was “my block, my hood.” These young men had never known anything other than the boundaries of their neighborhoods, so Jahmal came up with a plan – take groups of young people and show them what the city looks like outside their own neighborhoods.

And this gave birth to My Block, My Hood, My City, a nonprofit dedicated to helping students find out what the outside world looks like. Many had never seen a taxi, rode in an elevator or been in a glass building. This simple idea of expanding the geography of at-risk youth could give them something to strive for besides the violence and poverty of their neighborhoods.

The mission of My Block, My Hood, My City as stated on their website is …

“To help teenagers overcome the poverty and isolation they face by boosging educational attainment and opeing them to opportunities that make a difference in their lives.”

My Block, My Hood, My City provides underprivileged youth with an awareness of the world and opportunities beyond their neighborhood.  We take students on explorations focused on STEM, Arts & Culture, Citizenry & Volunteerism, Health, Community Development, Culinary Arts, and Entrepreneurism.

Core Values:

  • Interconnectivity

  • Empathy

  • Hope

  • Civic Responsibility

Recently, after a xnowstorm that blanketed the Chicago area, Jahmal put out a tweet …

Jahmal tweetSuch is this man’s reputation that not 10 people turned up for the effort, but 120!  And not only that, but people from all over the country, people who couldn’t show up in person, donated money and other items to My Block, My Hood, My City.

Jahmal-snowBut this organization is not all Mr. Jahmal Cole does!  An advocate for education reform in Chicago, Jahmal is passionate about improving schools and is a frequent speaker at colleges in the Chicago area. Jahmal is the author of The Torch of Decency: Rekindling the Spirit of Community Organizations, “Athletes & MC’s” and “50 Excuses: to not Follow your Dreams”, as well as his latest book, “Exposure is the Key”.

Jahmal Cole has not spent his 35  years sitting around bemoaning the crime and violence in his community, but instead has worked tirelessly to change the environment.  There is only so much I can write here, but if you’re interested in learning more about Jahmal Cole and My Block, My Hood, My City, there are a few links at the bottom of this post.  Meanwhile, I applaud this man and the difference he is making in the lives of so many young people in Chicago.

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Links to further reading:

Kids on a New Block 

Being Homeless Changed This Chicago Organizer’s Life — For The Better

Amazon Author Highlight  

Good People Doing Good Things – Ariel Nessel and the Pollination Project

Today’s good person, believe it or not, is a real estate developer. I never thought … well, never mind … suffice it to say that there are good and bad people in every walk of life.

The first time the Pollination Project came onto my radar a few months ago, I rejected it after a quick glance, seeing the words “seed grants”, and thinking that what they did was give away money to buy seeds.  That in itself is a noble thing, of course, but I did not feel it provided enough material for an entire post.  The Pollination Project and its founder, Ariel Nessel, however, are persistent and they once more became a blip on the radar this week, when I decided to give them a bit more than a cursory glance.  I am so glad I did!  This organization actually has very little to do with plant seeds, and a whole lot to do with humanity and compassion!  So without further ado, allow me to introduce to you Mr. Ariel Nessel, co-founder of the Pollination Project.

Wed-nessel-1Mr. Nessel is a successful real estate developer in Dallas, Texas, where he purchases older, dilapidated buildings and brings them back to their original condition, or better.  “Through efforts to increase the energy efficiency of our properties and extend their useful lives, we help create housing which is much more environmentally sustainable. By offering yoga classes, after school programs for children, and installing bird feeders, hammocks, water fountains, sculptures, fire pits, and bark parks, Nessel Development endeavors to create a sanctuary of peace for our Residents in an often high-stress world. We endeavor to be generous with the fruits of our labor by making significant donations to charities that promote living that is compassionate, peaceful and environmentally sustainable.” He donates more than 30% of his operating income to charity.  However, it is not his business that I want to talk about today.

In 2013, Ariel and his sister-in-law,  Stephanie Klempner, came up with the idea for the Pollination Project, an organization that makes daily seed grants to “inspiring social change-makers who are committed to a world that works for all. Our daily grant making began on January 1, 2013 and since then, we have funded a different project every single day. We also make larger impact grants of up to $5000 to projects that have demonstrated impact and success.”

The daily $1,000 grants are available for anyone who sincerely wants to use their resources to improve the world.  There are some qualifications: “One is that everything we support is volunteer based, it’s service based. None of the money we provide can be used to pay yourself for your work. It’s an orientation towards service. Some other qualifications are that we look at … This is early seed. We’re trying to water seeds and not to water oak trees. If you’re part of a larger organization, or any organization that has full-time paid staff, any paid staff, then that would not qualify for the Pollination Project.”

Pollination Project does not merely issue a check for $1,000 based on a good idea and then walk away.  They have a 3-program process that includes:

  • The seed grants – “We make $1000 seed grants to individual changemakers all over the world, helping them launch and expand grassroots social change projects.”
  • Philanthropic education – “We provide educational events, writing and presentations on the topic of innovations in philanthropy.”
  • Grantee Capacity Building – “We provide an assortment of tools, resources, coaching, training, p/r and more to support our grantees in growing their leadership and building their project, far beyond what our seed grant of $1,000 provides.”

In 2015, the Pollination Project teamed up with Levi Strauss & Co. to make seed grants that give a leg up to young people working on environmental solutions all over the globe. The goal is to develop the next generation of global environmental leaders who will conserve, protect, restore and advocate for the ecosystems upon which our civilization depends.

Let’s take a look at some of the young people who have been given a leg up by this joint effort …

Wed-KirstenNine-year-old Kirsten Chavis has been an activist since age five. She explains, “I have been involved in all sorts of outreach and have attended a lot of council meetings, events, fundraisers, and workshops alongside my mother. My experiences range from taking notes in Board Meetings to collecting food for families and running green lessons.” Kirsten runs the Youth Earth Club at her inner city Los Angeles middle school. Her project brings environmental and health education and events to the school’s population of primarily low-income Latino and African American families, including kids with special needs, and kids in foster care. Kirsten’s club teaches kids much more than recycling. “Now kids can tell you about indoor and outdoor composting, e-waste, and different ways of saving water like by turning off the running water while brushing your teeth.”


Wed-JulienBuilding on his experiences with the 4-H Million Trees project, 16-year-old California student Julien Levy founded Seeding Malawi to create an immediate win-win solution to rampant malnourishment among students in Malawi. Julien explained that while he was working in Malawi to establish tree nurseries in schools, the children were so malnourished that “tree planting events had to be in the morning, because they were too hungry and had no energy by the afternoon.” Seeding Malawi is establishing permaculture gardens at schools throughout the country. Participating villages will set aside a football field-sized plot of land on school grounds and students and residents will be given instruction in permaculture techniques. Each garden will provide food for up to 3,000 children, and will also serve as a means of teaching best-practice permaculture and agriculture techniques to youth and the communities they live in.


Wed-donieceA number of the Pollination Project’s grantees have received awards or public recognition, for example Doniece Sandoval who was featured on CNN this June. Doniece Sandoval noted a jump in San Francisco homelessness with an economic downturn. The homeless, many of them elderly, lacked basic amenities like bathing facilities. Determined to help, Sandoval bought old buses and turned them into mobile showers. Her nonprofit, Lava Mae, has since provided more than 20,000 showers to more than 4,000 homeless individuals.


Wed-Ponce-3I was especially thrilled to find that one of my previous “Good People” from May, young Thomas Ponce  received a grant from the Pollination Project!  Life is full of little coincidences.


There are so many great, humanitarian projects that have been helped by the Pollination Project that I wish I could share them all.  In fact, to date, the project has awarded 2,236 grants in 107 nations around the globe.  There is a special East African hub that is led by a team of local change-makers who are also Pollination Project grantees themselves. Their goal is to reach geographically and technologically marginalized grant applicants (with no internet access, no computer skills and limited English).

wed-east-africaThe types of programs the Pollination Project supports are widely varied:

  • Animal Rights & Welfare
  • Arts & Culture
  • Economic Empowerment
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Health & Wellness
  • Human Rights & Dignity
  • Kindness & Generosity
  • Leadership Development
  • Schools & Education
  • Youth

Unfortunately, I cannot begin to cover all the great projects that have begun with just a $1,000 grant from the Pollination Project, but their website  is a veritable treasure trove of information, including a brief summary of all the projects they have funded and the impact they have had all over the world.  $1,000 is not a lot of money, but it is amazing to see what it can do in the right hands.  Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of help, and knowing there is somebody who believes in you.

Hats off to Mr. Nessel, the Pollination Project, and all those beneficiaries who are going the extra mile to help make the world just a little bit better place for us all!

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