Ducklings trapped down a storm drain? There’s an app for that.
And we can thank the quick thinking of Michael Williams, who lives in Windsor, Ontario, for the ensuing rescue of the pair of ducklings. The two baby birds had been following their mom down the street when they accidentally fell into the drain. They panicked, then paddled away from daylight, making their odds of being saved awfully dicey.
Williams immediately called the municipality for help. Then he searched for a Blackberry app for duck calls. Using his smartphone, Williams was able to entice the ducklings to return to the open reservoir, where a city worker could fish them out with a net.
Happy ending. And hopefully these two duck daredevils have learned that running away from home is not all it’s quacked up to be (with apologies).
Alexander Wilson was studying the behaviour of sperm whales in the northern Atlantic Ocean – yep, just another day at the office – when he made an unexpected discovery. Hanging out with this particular pack of whales was a bottlenose dolphin. And judging by its interactions – swimming with the whales, nuzzling them, and just generally hobnobbing with them – it was pretty clear to Alexander that they were buds.
Sperm whales don’t usually socialize with other species. At least that’s what scientists have thought. Alexander, an ecologist originally from Toronto, has another theory: “It may not be that sperm whales don’t normally do this type of behaviour, it may be that sperm whales don’t necessarily often encounter another species that would desire such a relationship,” he says in this news story.
Why this friend, and why now? Alex has an idea about that, too. The dolphin has a malformed spine and may have been bullied or rejected by its own kind. The sperm whales seem more than happy to step in as besties.
“It was pretty amazing,” Alex told me. “No had ever seen sperm whales interacting with another species in a non-aggressive or defensive way before, so it was quite lucky to be able to see such an interaction happening before my eyes.”
You can see through his eyes, too: Click on this video for three and a half minutes of cetaceous fraternizing. There are worse ways to start off your morning.
Is that considered a nostrum nuzzle, or a flute high-five? Can you tell I’ve been reading up on my cetacean physiology? PHOTO BY ALEXANDER D. M. WILSON / AQUATIC MAMMALS
I’m frequently bragging that I have the best neighbours on this good earth. But I think Susanna Rohm may have me beat. This mom in Marietta, Georgia, has her young neighbour to thank for the very survival of her newborn baby, Isaiah.
Last month, Isaiah closed his eyes and stopped breathing. A frantic Susanna raced out into the street to find help. In her panic she had dropped her cell phone under the couch. So when she spotted Rocky Hurt, age nine, and his ten-year-old buddy Ethan Wilson playing outside, she screamed for them to tell their parents to call 911.
Rocky did better than that. He followed Susanna back into the house and proceeded to instruct her in infant CPR. He guided her through chest compressions, and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Then he ran back outside to flag down the ambulance. He says he “thought of nothing” and that’s what kept him calm.
Happily, in response to the first aid, this beautiful baby came back. Isaiah started wailing with what is likely, for Susanna, the sweetest music she’ll ever hear.
Rocky says he learned his lifesaving skills in part from a poster hanging in his school cafeteria. Check out this video interview, in which a TV journalist asks how it feels to be a hero. “I feel good,” Young Rocky says, “but I didn’t really care about being on TV. All I cared about was saving baby Isaiah.”
As Susanna comments: The boy’s name suits him. He was a solid rock, and it saved her child.
It’s heartbreaking to have a sick child, but here’s a guy who helps ease the pain just a bit. Bob Parry is a longtime volunteer at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, in Ottawa. He cuddles and comforts babies and little kids while giving their exhausted parents a break.
I don’t know how exactly many children Bob has of his own. But whatever the number, they’re long grown. Bob, a retired accountant, is eighty. He’s been a hospital volunteer for 18 years, ever since his own grandson was a patient here.
“I feel that sometimes I can drive home and know that, for a short time, I made a difference in that little one’s life,” he told a CBC reporter. We think you’re selling yourself short, Bob; Our guess is, the difference you’ve made to these kids is gonna last.
I don’t know who is brightening up whose day more.
What’s more awesome than being in Hawaii in January? How about rescuing a dolphin in distress… while being in Hawaii in January? Underwater camera operator Martina Wing and her colleagues got the opportunity to do just that, while they were on location filming manta rays.
Check out this video report, in which Martina describes what it was like to be approached by an eight-foot bottlenose dolphin who’d become tangled in fishing line and couldn’t move its head properly. She’s convinced it was appealing to her crew for help. It took seven or eight minutes for a slightly nervous diver to cut the line away. Happily, the rescue was completed and the dolphin seemed fine.
“It was such a special situation,” Martina says in the video. “To see a creature ask another creature for help, it was mind-blowing.”
Dolphin rescued, thanks to MacGyver here… or should I say MacDiver?
What can you do when you’re knee-deep in detritus? If you’re Jason Sylvester or Nissa Marion or their pals – they’re all ex-pat Canadians living in Hong Kong – you challenge the folks around you to do roll up their sleeves and take on a dirty job. This year, just like the five years before that, a team of Canadians has combed the beach to collect as much rubbish as they can. It’s part of the Hong Kong Cleanup event organized by Ecovision Asia, involving over 39,000 people. The members of Team Canada currently number over 100. According to a news story, coordinators originally lured Canadian volunteers with the promise of free beer, but that’s no longer necessary. (I’ll bet they still drink the beer).
The news report goes on to criticize the high volume of trash and food waste piling up in Hong Kong. But by no means are they the only country struggling under this problem. In fact, we Canadians are managing to generate 31 million tons of garbage a year. And that includes $27.7-billion in wasted food.
Maybe action groups like Ecovision Asia will spur more of us to reconsider the environment – and eat up our leftovers? It’s not a bad start. I, for one, quite enjoy it when eating and good deeds go hand in hand. Hand me a spoon.
It’s a day late, but here’s a happy Valentine’s Day story. Nancy Kleinberg performed the good deed of her life in 1945 when she saved a young man from certain death at a German concentration camp. She spent three weeks caring for him, but they were separated. Months later, Howard tracked Nancy down in Toronto to say thank you.
That’s when the rest of their lives began. This year the Kleinbergs are celebrating 63 years of marriage. They’ve got four kids, plus a passel of grandkids and great-grandkids. And they still make each other sparkle. Click here for the whole story, and prepare to smile. We call that coming full circle.
Here’s proof that nice guys don’t finish last. They may, however, finish in second place.
Ivan Fernández Anaya, a long-distance runner, was in the last leg of a cross-country race last month in Spain. There was just one guy in front of him: Abel Mutai, an Olympic bronze medalist from Kenya. But the gap between the two athletes looked impossible to close. That is, until Abel made a boo-boo. The frontrunner thought he’d crossed the finish line – and he suddenly stopped racing.
The thing was, the finish line was still 10 metres ahead of him. Although spectators screamed at Abel to keep running, he doesn’t understand Spanish – not at any decibel level.
That’s when our pal Ivan raced onto the scene. Did he dart past his rival to claim a win? Or did he instead stop and urge Abel across the finish line, content with second place?
I know you know the answer to this, dear reader, because why else would this story be on this blog? Indeed, Ivan kept pace behind the Kenyan athlete until the race was over.
Ivan’s good turn earned him criticism from his coach (who says he would never have made the same choice himself), but the runner doesn’t regret what he did. “I didn’t deserve to win it,” he told a local newspaper. “I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner… As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn’t going to pass him.” Watch the video here. Best race ever.
“Hey buddy, I don’t mean to be a bother, but …”
No one likes to lose. Especially when the particular thing you’ve lost is a wad of bills adding up to nearly $4,000 in legal tender. That’s what almost happened to Michael Allen, who somehow mistook a folded shirt for a piggy bank. Yep, he decided his laundry was an appropriate place for safekeeping his cash.
He would have lost it for good, except that Saroj, the seamstress he found online, just happened to be honest. You can’t say that about every stranger with a Kijiji account.
Here’s what happened: Last month, Michael inadvertently dropped off his stuffed shirt, along a few others, to be tailored. When Saroj discovered the dough, she never even considered keeping it. “I don’t like that kind of money, stolen money. The hard-earned kind, that’s the kind I like,” she told a reporter (who, incidentally, misspelled her name… we at 50 Good Deeds do hope that doesn’t say anything about the authenticity of this feel-good story).
And here’s the best part. That hoard of money? Michael had earmarked it for an upcoming trip to Brazil. Not for a luxury hotel upgrade… but, rather, to buy toys for poor kids.
Can we say karma?
Stuffing money in shirts… is this a thing that guys do? Should I be going through my hubby’s wardrobe?
James Groccia’s parents have reason to be proud of their kid. Not only did he save up for two whole years to buy a one-hundred-dollar LEGO train set, but when he discovered the toy had been discontinued after he’d finally raised the cash to pay for it, he took action. The 10-year-old wrote a letter to the toy company’s corporate headquarters, eloquently communicating his disappointment and describing the Emerald Train as the “LEGO set of my dreams.” Did they by chance, he asked politely, happen to have any leftover sets kicking about?
James has loved LEGO since he was four. He plays with it every single day. James has Asperger syndrome, and he’s even part of a LEGO playgroup to help him work on his social skills.
He explained all this in his letter. Then he signed it, “Your most loyal LEGO fan.”
That was in September. In October, a large box was shipped to James’ Massachusetts home with his name on it. One of his parents set up a hidden camera and caught his priceless reaction as the “world’s most loyal LEGO fan” opens the package to discover none other than the “LEGO set of his dreams.” This is what the happiest boy on the planet looks like.
It was a sweet gift, and the reception couldn’t have been better. But the letter enclosed in the package was just as uplifting. “I commend your willpower and patience to save money for over two years just to purchase this set,” wrote Megan, identifying herself as a consumer services advisor. In the video, James reads her entire letter out loud: “We are excited to know that we could help make this dream come true for you… Who knows, maybe you will be working for the LEGO Group one day. You certainly have the heart and passion for our work to do so.”
The Groccias posted these captured moments on YouTube, calling the video “Why LEGO is the BEST Company in the World.” LEGO admits this isn’t a good deed they can pull off every day, but I’m betting the team is feeling almost as proud as James’ mom and dad.
“We’re really humbled by the family’s gesture to share this moment,” a rep told me. “We’re happy to see joy-filled news spread so far.”
Come on. Wouldn’t you grab at any opportunity to make a kid produce this expression?