Monthly Archives: September 2016

That’s Like 83 Cups of Coffee

I love these pay-it-forward stories, whereby someone buys a cup of coffee for the next customer in line. Imagine, though, if the tab included not just your java, but a few more coffees for your co-workers, plus a full tank of diesel… and totaled $110. And still the other guy covered it.

It was a pretty spontaneous act of kindness, in that the recipient, Tyson Crawley, had fully intended to make the transaction himself at service station in Australia. It was only after he realized he’d left his new bank card at home, and couldn’t remember the PIN number for his other one, that he started to sweat. He’d already pumped the fuel, he was in a rush to get to work, and now his dog was yapping impatiently outside.

That’s when another customer, John, stepped up and insisted on looking after the bill. It took some convincing – $110 is a lot of lettuce, after all – but Tyson just didn’t know what else to do.

Finally he agreed to take the money. But he asked John to write his contact information on the store receipt, so he could pay him back later. John scribbled on the paper, folded it, passed it back, and wished Tyson a good day.

He was long gone when Tyson unfolded the receipt to find that the only thing John had written, besides his first name, was: “Pass it on.”

Awww.

“So many people have said it has restored their faith in humanity,” Tyson commented in a later news report. He’s talking about the reaction he got after posting the story on Facebook. Tyson wanted to encourage other people to do good. Perhaps he also thought he might track down John, who’d consented to a selfie – that’s him on the right – before leaving the store.

Tyson added, “It’s what I always try to teach the world: Be kind, look after each other and don’t compete.”

And pass it on.

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Have you seen this man? You’ll know him by his cute smile and titanic heart. (Facebook photo)

Finders, Keepers? Not This Time

There’s a bad case of butterfingers going around my neighbourhood.

First, someone lost their set of keys. I know this, because a helpful person found them – most likely in an area of long grass where we all walk our dogs – and displayed them prominently on a boulder by the road, where they caught my eye as I walked by.

Then, a guy dropped an important piece of identification inside our local subway station. I’m in the loop on this, too. That’s because my friend picked it up, and contacted me for help tracking him down.

Thanks to technology, it’s not as challenging as it used to be to reunite lost items with their owners. In the old days, you’d post flyers on all the telephone poles in the area, or you’d even pay for a classified ad (remember those?) to run in a newspaper (remember those?). It took considerable time and effort.

Now, you simply go online and Google the name on the identification card. Or you take a quick phone pic of the lost keys, and post it on a community Facebook page.

In the case of the lost ID card, my friend and I did manage to find the guy’s work number. (In the course of doing so, we also learned where he lives, what he does for a living, and exactly when the bid to relocate his home’s air conditioning unit was rejected by the city’s committee of adjustment.) Happily, the card was returned. The owner was grateful.

As for the keys? Not such a perfect ending. After I posted the photo online, someone in the neighbourhood did contact me to say she thought they were hers. She was temporarily out of town, but I offered to go back and scoop them up for safekeeping.

The key ring sat on my desk for a week. That’s how long it took for my neighbour to check with her various family members and domestic employees. And that’s how long it took for her to ascertain that this generic-looking set of keys did not, in fact, belong to her household.

Dejected, I was forced to walk back and return the keys to the roadside rock where I’d first found them. I sincerely hoped that, in the intervening week, the rightful owner hadn’t come back, done a thorough search of the area, and consequently scratched this corner of the neighbourhood off the list of All the Different Places I Went the Day I Absentmindedly Dropped My Keys.

Last time I checked, the keys were still there.

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As noted by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “The waiting is the hardest part…”

He’ll Help You Reach for the Stars

If you’re headed for Nova Scotia anytime soon, take a side trip to the tiny eastern Canada village of Quinan. There, you can visit this community’s newest landmark: the Deep Sky Eye Observatory. It’s owned by Tim Doucette, a man with superhuman powers.

Tim, who is blind, had corrective surgery as a child to remove his lenses and achieve some useable sight. During the daytime, he works with 10 percent vision. When night falls and the stars come out, it’s a game changer.

Without his natural lenses, Tim can see ultraviolet light that’s filtered out by most other people’s eyes. So when Tim looks through a telescope, he can spot incredible stellar phenomena that are normally invisible to inexperienced astronomers.

Tim has long had a fascination for the starry night sky. Now, he wants to share his passion with others.

It took Tim and his family two years to construct a domed observatory, built from reclaimed wood. They’ve installed a high-definition telescope and opened their site to the public. It’s in the perfect spot, remote enough from urban areas that the skies are dark and inviting. There’s a fee, but it’s not exorbitant, and kids eight and under age are free.

Already, more than 150 people have stopped at the Deep Sky Eye Observatory to check it out. When tourists show up, even unannounced, Tim will drop everything to teach them about the beauty of the starry night. Apparently, he never puts out a closed sign.

“I’ve always relied on other people, but now, other people are relying on me to help them view the night sky,” he recently told a reporter. “So that’s kind of a great feeling, to show somebody something else that makes them excited.”

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All together, everyone: “Road trip!” (tungphoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

 

Stem Cell Saviour

File this under A for Adorable. Not long ago, two new friends got together – he from Germany, she from Kingston, Ontario, both of them youthful, attractive individuals – and hung out for a couple of weeks in our nation’s capital. We’re guessing they dined with family and friends, did a little sight-seeing. Nothing too remarkable, it seems (except maybe for the part where they got introduced to the prime minister of Canada).

Oh, and there’s the minor fact that the German lad once saved the life of the young Canadian.

That was a couple of years ago, long before the two met face to face or had even heard each other’s names. Mackenzie Curran was 16 and seriously ill. She was in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant, acutely aware that fewer than half of people in her situation actually get one.

She also understood that despite the campaign organized in her community to encourage more people to join the stem cell registry, odds were that not a single one of those new donors would be a match for her. Much more likely, they’d be kept in the registry for a future person in need.

That brings us to Alexander Türk of Germany. He’d originally signed up with the international bone marrow registry seven years ago, to support a woman near his own town who needed a lifesaving transplant. He wasn’t a match for his neighbour. But years later, he turned out to be perfect for a teenager across the ocean.

So he saved her life.

Mackenzie and Alexander finally got to meet each other a short while ago and, judging by the news footage, could not seem to stop with the side-hugs. You’d have thought they were long-lost cousins. In a way, I suppose they are.

Right now there are over 25 million potential donors on the international registry. Does that sound like a lot of people? In actual fact, it’s about a third of one percent of the world’s population.

No wonder finding a stem cell match is still considered a miracle.

Want to make a miracle happen? All it takes from you is a cheek swab.

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See what I mean? Absolutely adorbs. (Photo courtesy of the Curran family)