Bus driver prevents woman from jumping off overpass, teaching student riders a lesson in compassion
Bus driver Darnell Barton had just picked up 20 McKinley High School students eager to get home on a recent Friday afternoon.
They had to wait a little longer than usual while Barton saved a woman’s life and taught them an unexpected lesson in human compassion.
As the 37-year-old driver pulled away from the school bus stop at about 3:50 p.m. on Oct. 18, heading southbound on Elmwood Avenue, he saw a disturbing sight on the Scajaquada Expressway overpass. A woman was on the opposite side of the railing leaning out over the traffic below.
“I didn’t think it was real with everything else going on around her. Traffic was proceeding as normal and a couple of pedestrians walked right by her and a bicyclist rode by. I mean, they were inches from her,” said Barton, who instinctively stopped his bus and opened the doors.
“Do you need help?” he asked.
She looked at him and then back at the traffic on the expressway from her precarious perch on the west side of the overpass.
Barton called the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority’s Metro Bus dispatcher and reported what was happening.
But the reality of the situation struck him when he heard one of the students weeping and saying, “I don’t want to see someone die.”
Cautiously, Barton stepped from the bus. He made his move when he was within a few steps of the woman.
“She turned back to look at me and then back at the traffic and that’s when I kind of lunged and got my left arm around her body,” Barton said. “I asked her, ‘Do you want to come on this side of the guard rail now?’ and that was the first time she spoke to me and said, ‘Yeah.’ ”
Barton said he helped her over the railing and suggested they have a seat.
“Darnell won’t tell you this, but when he went back on his bus, the McKinley students gave him a round of applause,” said C. Douglas Hartmayer, NFTA spokesman, adding that authority officials only recently learned of the driver’s heroic actions from earlier this month. “That’s because of Darnell’s modesty, which speaks to his demeanor of being very humble.”
In fact, after Barton had given a statement, he continued to work, driving the outbound Route 5 route before completing his shift.
When his adrenaline had settled down and he had time to reflect, Barton recalled thinking to himself how he had done the right thing.
But rather than allow the spotlight to shine on him Tuesday during an interview, Barton, who drove school buses for years before landing an NFTA job three years ago, said he was impressed with the way the students on his bus had behaved.
“They were great. They sat there quietly. It was an encouragement to me. Oftentimes we look at young people and we forget we were young,” he said. “As each of them got off the bus, they shook my hand.”
They are not the only ones who admire Barton.
“We are all extremely proud of Darnell’s heroic actions,” said Kimberley A. Minkel, the NFTA’s executive director. “His quick and calm response during a very stressful situation speaks volumes about his character and unwavering willingness to help someone in need.”
Barton, though low-key, says he will be pleased if what he did helps the image of his fellow bus drivers, to show them as caring and compassionate.
Ellen DeGeneres Rewards Sarah Hoidahl $10,000 For Picking Up Military Members’ Tab
A New Hampshire waitress who picked up the lunch tab of two National Guard soldiers affected by the federal government’s shutdown has been repaid — more than 300 times over — by television star Ellen DeGeneres.
Sarah Hoidahl, a waitress in Concord, N.H., just wanted to do a nice thing for the soldiers, so she recently picked up their lunch tab. It cost her $27.75.
On Friday, DeGeneres squared the tab and then some, giving Hoidahl $27.75 in cash and a check for $10,000.
An emotional Hoidahl buried her face in her hands and thanked DeGeneres as the talk show host repeated “You’re a good person.”
DeGeneres caught wind of Hoidahl’s act of kindness when the New Hampshire National Guard posted a picture on its Facebook page. The story spread quickly online, producers saw it and invited Hoidahl to Hollywood.
Ellen also gave her a 50-inch television. [x]
He went to church that Sunday to plead for a family. Over the next two weeks his story spread across the world, popping up on websites, TV screens and front pages from here to India.
The Florida teenager says he has found his purpose. And 10,000 people believe they have found a son.
Davion Navar Henry Only, 15, was born in prison, raised in foster care, and lives in a group home with 12 other boys. He has never had his own room or felt wanted.
Last spring, after discovering that his birth mother had just died, he determined to find someone to adopt him.
He first shared his quest with the Tampa Bay Times in a front-page story Oct. 8. It told of his visit to St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, where his caseworker had arranged for him to take the pulpit.
In her 28 years working with foster kids, Connie Going said, she had never known one who wanted to put himself out there like that. To risk being rejected. Again.
“I know God hasn’t given up on me,” Davion softly told the congregation. “So I’m not giving up either.”
Photo: Melissa Lyttle / Tampa Bay Times
PPD Editor’s Note: For once, I recommend reading the comments.
Meet the family who provide sanctuary for the homeless
New Government figures reveal that 56,210 households are currently classified as homeless across the UK– a rise of nine per cent from the previous year. But charities fear the scale of the problem could be even bleaker than the official statistics indicate. Shelter believes there are many more people who have not come to the attention of local authorities - the ‘hidden homeless’.
One family has decided to take matters into their own hands by inviting homeless people—250 over seven years—to stay in their sprawling farmhouse in Hertfordshire.
Meet Mama Jade, the abused pit bull that’s getting a second chance at life
Content Warning: Animal Abuse
Mama Jade was found in Nashville, Tennessee, after wandering up to the porch of a stranger’s home. The woman who found her noticed that the dog showed signs of injuries indicating that she had been used as a bait dog in a dog fighting ring. That’s when she took to Craigslist, posting a picture of Mama and describing what she’d seen.
Most of her teeth had been removed. Scars around her neck bled from the collar she was wearing. The Craigslist post was titled “Your pitbull found me and I won’t give her back.”
The fresh bite marks on her muzzle, the scars that covered her body, the exposed pink and purple flesh around her neck, where she was obviously tied up with ropes that cut their way into her skin, over and over again. The obvious signs that she had been bred, relentlessly, time after time. The pressure wounds on her elbows that bled whenever they touched anything, from being tied and forced to lay on cement ground and metal cage mesh.
That night, the poster stayed up with her so she wouldn’t be left alone. She said, “Every time I’d move, she’d get up and look at me with worry stricken eyes. She didn’t want me to leave her. “ The next day she brought her to the animal hospital, PetMed, where she worked.
In addition to the injuries she had sustained, the vets realized that Mama Jade had breast cancer.
The staff at the animal hospital fell in love with her, and were heartbroken that she was in such rough shape. They fed her a diet of food soft enough for her to digest without having to chew, and realized what a sweetheart she was. The only time she was anything less than loving was when she was in the presence of another dog, as she was terrified of all other canines she saw.
In the Craigslist ad, the poster said that she was preparing to put Mama Jade to sleep. With the price of cancer treatments, it seemed the most humane way to proceed, and she would ensure that the dog would be as comfortable as possible until the end.
But that was before the Craigslist ad went viral, and she started receiving thousands of emails from people across the country. Over the course of a couple days, the poster was persuaded to give Mama a second chance at life, as many people offered to donate money to help pay for her treatments.
In their first photoshoot for a local news station, Mama Jade turned on the charm.
Man’s Kidney Donation Is ‘Missing Link’ for Three Transplants
When Ted Bartling, a rocket scientist from Utah, decided to donate a kidney to a stranger, he knew he’d potentially be saving one person’s life. What he didn’t know was that he’d be saving three people’s lives.
Bartling’s incredible sacrifice, or “gift” as he calls it, set in motion a chain of events at Salt Lake City’s University Hospital and Primary Children’s Medical Center that forever linked six people and allowed three, including a 2-year-old boy, to receive successful kidney transplants late last week. On Thursday, Dr. Jeffrey Campsen, who performed surgery on the donors, told Yahoo Shine that all three recipients and their donors are thriving and have headed home or will be discharged within the next couple of days.
"For at least 15 years, donating a kidney had been on my mind as something I could do to help somebody live a normal life like mine," Bartling, 51, told Yahoo Shine. "They’ll only take a kidney up until you’re about 60. I can do small things for people, but sometimes we have to do the bigger things if we are capable."
Apparently, he picked the perfect moment. There were three patients in need, but no matches. Juan Romero, 45, who has a rare B- blood type had been on a waiting list for three years and was on dialysis. Brandy Jess, 40, also on dialysis, had a donor — her friend Kristy Buffington — but at the 11th hour, a final test revealed they were incompatible. And then there was 2-year-old Beckham Fershtut, whose parents Ari and Hayley wanted to give him a kidney but weren’t good matches.
"The chain began with the child," said Campsen. “He was weeks away from starting dialysis. For a 2-year-old it’s incredibly difficult and shortens his lifespan.” Campsen says he could see that Beckham’s kidneys were failing. The toddler was listless and irritable, and his skin looked ashy. “And then we had a gentleman come forward who wanted to be what we call an altruistic donor.”
The boy’s father, Ari Fershtut, also made clear that he was willing to donate a kidney to a stranger if someone else had an organ for his son. Suddenly the pieces fell into place. “We moved quickly, and there was an ‘aha moment’ when we came to the table with all this information,” said Campsen. Ari Fershtut was a match for Romero, Bartling was a match for Jess, and Buffington was able to donate her kidney to little Beckham.
The surgeries were completed over two days. Bartling says that while the hospital didn’t formally introduce the donors and recipients, they sought one another out in the hallways after their surgeries. “The very first person that I met was the father of the child. It was very touching to meet the little boy. It’s major surgery. There is not much room for an adult kidney in a child that young. You could tell he was very comforted by having anyone by his crib.” According to Campsen, Beckham is now full of energy and his prognosis is excellent. “His parents look like they have had a 100-pound weight lifted from them.”
Campsen stresses the importance of live kidney donations, which he says are safe and effective, get recipients off of dialysis sooner, and lengthen their lives. There are about 90,000 people on the waiting list for transplants. “Kidney transplantation is medicine,” said Campsen, “but this was about a community coming together and helping each other.” He says it was like a ripple effect across Salt Lake City, the state of Utah, and “perhaps even the nation itself.” Because of Bartling’s courage and generosity, Beckham waited only a month for a kidney. “If it had been years,” said Campsen,”he might not have survived.” [x]
PPD Editor’s Note: This video made me openly weep tears of relief and joy. Consider this your ~*~soaking wet face warning~*~!
Sons Of Anarchy producer Mike Daniels gives stray dog a forever home
Eldad Hagar, Hope For Paws founder, and his friend Lisa Arturo, were touring the streets of L.A.’s South Central neighborhood when they came across a sweet but skittish stray. They took the dog, now named Scout, into their care and along with it, the task of finding her a permanent home.
That’s when this story goes from good to great. Within a few weeks of searching for an adoptive family for Scout, the organizations struck gold with Mike Daniels, a writer and producer for the hit television series, Sons Of Anarchy.
According to Annie Hart of the Bill Foundation, it was a perfect match from the very beginning.
"Mike and his wife Michaela [McManus] had recently lost one of their dogs and wanted to adopt a companion for their other dog, named Sully," Hart told HuffPost via email. "I knew just from reviewing [their application], something magical was going to occur through this adoption."
Once Scout and Daniels met in person, Hart’s predictions came true.
"After her rescue, Scout was terrified of most men," she wrote, "but when she met Mike Daniels at our adoption event, she instantly crawled up into his lap fell right to sleep."
Daniels told HuffPost about his own happiness at bringing Scout into his life:I had recently lost a Malamute Mix named Andy who had been my best friend for 11 years. When I went to look at Scout, Annie at the Bill Foundation told me she was skittish around men and not to expect her to warm up right away. I sat on the curb, the two of us made eye contact and then she just climbed into my lap, curled up and fell asleep. I think she picked up on my heartbreak and knew I would understand hers. It was enough common ground to get us started.”
Scout met the rest of the family — Daniels’ wife and their other dog, Sully — soon after, and all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place; the family was finally complete.
But the story doesn’t end there. After Scout got her happy ending, the rest of the Sons Of Anarchy team decided to take up Hope For Paws’ and the Bill Foundation’s mission of rescuing L.A.’s strays.
Hart said in her email, “A week or so after Mike and Michaela adopted Scout, I received a call from someone on Mike’s writing team. Mike had given them my number because they had found a scared, stray dog and they had taken the time to gain his trust and ultimately were able to rescue him.”
The Bill Foundation took over care of the dog — and of the next dog the SOA crew rescued a week later. The dogs were both named after two of the shows main characters, Opie and Jax.
"If Sons of Anarchy has a long run on TV and continues rescuing with us, we may end with a whole SOA cast of dogs!”
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Justin W. Galvin/Released)
A brother and sister who both serve in the U.S. Navy and have been separated for the past 30 years were finally reunited in an emotional day Friday at the Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD).
'Layaway Angel' with terminal illness pays for 16 struggling families' back-to-school supplies at Kmart
Some struggling families in Central Maine got a sweet surprise last week.
They all received a phone call from the Auburn Kmart’s layaway department informing that an anonymous stranger had just paid off their bill.
"Everybody wants to go back to school with new clothes," said Store Manager Joyce Beane. "Now 16 more families can do that."
The families had all fallen behind on their payments.
Enter the Back to School Angel.
"She was here about 15 minutes. She paid off 16 the layaways in cash, about $3,000. Then she said I’m not feeling well I need to leave," recalled Beane.
The woman told the staff she was terminally ill and just wanted to do something nice for others before she died. .
Rina Thibeau, an Auburn grandmother who works nights as a janitor, was of the 16 people who learned she’d been touched by the Back To School Angel.
She says she still can’t get over it.
"It takes all kinds of people in this world," said Thibeau. "This lady proved there are still good people out there."
It turns out Thibeau is one of those good people too.
She uses Kmart’s layaway program to buy gifts for needy children for a charity she started with friends called Christmas Smilez.
She says they helped 85 families in Androscoggin and Oxford Counties last year.
"So many other kids, this woman is helping and she doesn’t even know it," said Thibeau. "When I talk about it, It’s like a dream."
Its not the first time a layaway angel has touched down at the Auburn Kmart.
In 2011, a man and his two children came in just before Christmas to pay off every outstanding layaway balance in the store.
When word of that act of kindness got out, Store Manager Joyce Beane said offers of help came pouring in.
Beane say she hopes this angel’s actions cause people to reflect on what they would do if they knew their days were numbered ”and I think if we all, once a day or once a week, thought of doing something kind, there would be a loft less strife in our lives,” she said. [x]
Community Comes Together To Find Lost Dog Who Spent 65 Days In The Desert
Two months after a devastating accident, things recently took a turn for the better for a Phoenix, Ariz., woman.
Rose Sharman was gravely injured in late June when one of her RV’s tires blew out on Interstate 17, CBS reports. The resulting crash killed one of her dogs and left the other one missing.
"[Ily] went through the windshield and ran," Sharman told ABC.
Her year-old pup Ily, short for ‘I love you,’ took off into the desert and Sharman, bedridden from her injuries, was unable to search for her.
That’s when her amazing community stepped in. After hearing Sharman’s story, over 100 local volunteers launched a search around the crash site.
"If my dog was missing, I would want the world out looking for her," volunteer Sherry
The team set up a humane trap in an abandoned building a few miles from the crash site after sighting two dogs in the area. On Monday, more than two months after their search began, they got the visit they were hoping for.
"I told them to send me a picture," Sharman told ABC, "I couldn’t believe it was her."
Ily had lost 25 pounds and was dehydrated, but she’s now back home with Sharman where they are both recovering. [x]