The Daily Saint

"By saints I meant people who behaved decently in a strikingly indecent society. Perhaps some of you are or will become saints for her child to meet." --Kurt Vonnegut

This Couple

While tending bar in New Jersey, Christina Summitt got to chatting about pets with a friendly couple before the night got busy. The man asked her if she had dogs of her own; she confided that her “baby,” a Great Dane-black Labrador mix named Tucker, was at the veterinary hospital after having emergency surgery hours earlier after he swallowed a hard plastic ball. She was worried about him.

The man said something about surgery being expensive. She said the estimate for the surgery was around $2,700, but she would do whatever she had to do for the dog, whom she adopted in 2011. Summitt, 37, works three jobs — full-time as a chef at the hotel, Saturdays as a bartender, and as a food prep worker two days a week at a deli in her town. 

The couple ordered drinks and dinner at the bar. When it was time to close out their $80 tab, the man filled out the receipt with a tip — for $1,000. He said to put it toward Tucker’s surgery.

(Photo via CNN)

These Firefighters

A Fairfield, Conn., resident who became pinned in the doorframe of a pickup truck was rescued by several firefighters on Sunday. The men maneuvered around the vehicle to then lift it off an 86-year-old man named Frank Us.

According to a statement released by the Fairfield Fire Department, firefighters from multiple units decided to use brute strength to rescue the man based on the tight squeeze and complexity of the situation. In a video from the scene, captured by DoingItLocal.com, a team of first responders and firefighters lift the pickup truck from the back with their bare hands to free him.

Check out the video here: http://bit.ly/1ptwHoA

This Bus Passenger

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A bus driver in Toronto had his faith in humanity restored after witnessing a rider give his shoes and socks to a man wearing plastic bags in place of shoes. The driver explained the gesture as “soul touching.”

“It made my heart melt,” Surjit Singh Virk, the bus driver, told QMI Agency. “He just took his shoes and socks off and said, ‘You can take these, don’t worry about me — I live close by and can walk.’

"People usually don’t care or even look at other people on the bus," he continued. "They didn’t even want to sit beside this guy because of how he was dressed.”

The Toronto Sun reached the giver of the shoes by phone, but the man asked that the news outlet not identify him because in his Islamic faith, charitable acts should be anonymous. He was also reluctant to have his photograph published.

“I felt bad for the guy,” the 27-year-old man said. “He was wearing plastic hairnets on his feet. I was only about a two-minute walk from home, so I thought I could give him my shoes.”

(Photo via Surjit Singh Virk)

Hector Montoya

Hector Montoya, 9 from Grand Prairie, Texas, was saving up for a PlayStation 4. But after hearing about a deadly fire that claimed the lives of a mother and daughter nearby, he decided to spend his money on buying smoke detectors for houses in his community that didn’t have them, CNN reported.

"It really hurts my heart to see people die in a fire," Hector told the outlet.

He’d saved $300, and with it he was able to buy 100 smoke detectors which the local fire department installed last weekend, NBC 5 DFW reported.

"Saving a life is more important," Hector told the news station.

The boy was planning to save up again for the game console, but now he won’t have to. After word of his good deed was spread on the local news, strangers decided to reward him with the PS4 he had originally intended to buy, and also to donate an additional $100 for more smoke alarms, CNN reported.

"Helping other people makes me feel good," Hector told NBC 5 DFW. "I’m making a difference by doing this, and helping everybody."

(Photo via NBC5, Story via HuffPo)

Kristen Rose Conley

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What I’ve always loved about my little sister is that you can’t put her in a box. By that I mean you can’t make assumptions about her or categorize her in any sort of way, and if you do make such a mistake, you’re immediately disproven. For that, and for so many other reasons, Kristen Rose Conley — the sister I call Rosie — has and always will be one of my favorite people in the universe.

Krissy is brilliant. Her ability to read, understand, then breakdown science and medical jargon and explain it in layman’s language consistently astounds me. She kicks ass hiking, biking, snowboarding, and marathoning. (She regularly places when she runs 26.2.) Seriously, challenge her to a sport. She’ll probably beat you in it — and then she’ll never once talk about the victory because she is so damn humble. She has never promoted her successes, hence why I have taken over.

Krissy is intense. So damn intense. And that’s a great thing. People who change the world are never going to be “chill,” a word i have come to despise. Gamechangers’ minds are spinning with an unrivaled intensity, and they’re the ones who make a difference. They’re the creators, the innovators, the do-ers. Krissy has and always will be among those people.

Krissy is an anomaly in today’s world. She has never owned a smartphone (“Why do I need it?”), and she has cried at least once when we were younger because she didn’t feel our family was sufficiently recycling.

Krissy is a badass woman in the military, beating the boys during physical training tests, never mind ending up being one of only a handful of women to pass Air Assault School. Check her out on the street, though, and you’d think, “Who is that beautiful Portland hippie hipster walking by, purchasing that locally made soap, honey and beeswax?”

Krissy finished at the top of her class in nursing school. She has been puked on, pooped on, has had blood splatter all over her, but she always remains unflinching. Krissy approaches her job with a balance of care and authority, never ever making a patient feel self-conscious, which explains why she is a favorite of so many who are lucky enough to be under her watch. 

On top of everything else, Krissy is really, really, really fun.

I write all this because Krissy has spent the last week or so down in Guatemala, where she has been working as a nurse at a clinic in a small rural village, providing medical care for the locals. I have no doubt that Krissy has already become a favorite there. She plans on this adventure being the first of many nursing trips and residencies in developing countries.

I have no doubt that she will be completely and utterly embarrassed by this post, but Rosie, thanks for being a Daily Saint to all those patients who have come your way, and a Daily Saint to your dear old sister since May 6, 1986.

Bryan Pijanowski

Purdue University ecologist Bryan Pijanowski is asking people all over the world to record audio of natural sounds on April 22 as part of Global Soundscapes Day, according to Purdue News.

Pijanowski and his team created mobile phone applications designed to capture soundscapes and store them in a database for research, as well as preserving natural sounds for future generations to come. The project is designed to capture up to 1 million sound recordings from all over the planet.

People are also encouraged to answer a few questions about how the different sounds make them feel for potential use in making public spaces more relaxing.

"We hope to use these collected soundscapes from Earth Day 2014 to change the sound of public spaces, hospitals and other venues, replacing them with sounds that make us feel good, sounds that are peaceful and restful," Pijanowski told Purdue News.

He often travels the world to study soundscapes and their relationship with ecosystem health, according to Wired, but this new project will help scientists gather much more data without having to travel to each place.

"We should get a sense of whether and how we’re making this a noisier planet, which I think we’re doing," Pijanowski told Wired. "And it should increase awareness of sounds. Hopefully it will make people stop and listen."

(Photo via Purdue/Story via Huff Po)

This Photographer

"Showing kids in Malawi their photo for the first time. This happened literally everywhere I went. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled this much."

(Photo via Twitter)

Meb Keflezighi

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The American man who won the Boston Marathon today honored last year’s bombing victims by having their names written on his race bib.

Meb Keflezighi, 38, is the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983. Keflezighi, who was born in Eritrea and emigrated to San Diego at the age of 12, was emotional when he crossed the finish line today, and many spectators noticed the four names written in marker on the corners of his bib. Those names were Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu,  Krystle Campbell and MIT Officer Sean Collier. All four people were killed in last year’s Boston Marathon bombings.

(Photo via USA Today)

Elsa the Pitbull

When Elsa was only one year old she suffered a major spinal cord stroke, leaving her unable to walk.

Kelly Dann had only recently adopted the pit bull from the BC SPCA. Elsa had been abused and through four foster homes before ending up with Dann.

Despite the bleak prognosis about her new dog, Dann said she was not going to just put her down.

“I just felt like she needed us to be there for her and that would give her strength to get better and it has,” said Dann. “I’m not giving up on her, she’s not giving up so if she’s not ready I’m not giving up on her either.”

After 16 months of rehab, Elsa still can’t walk and has to be pushed around in a dog buggy, but she can hobble, she can move around and most importantly, she’s happy. And she is fulfilling a higher purpose — giving back to others who are undergoing treatment, just like she did. Elsa visits with people who are disabled, elderly, chronically ill and mentally ill. A patient named James said he looks forward to seeing Elsa every Tuesday night.

“It’s great, and she’s endured pain and she’s been through rehab too,” he said. “She’s the cutest dog I know.”

“She makes lots of people smile here, a lot of people.”

This Dad

"My dad turned 50. Instead of gifts, he asked everyone to bring toys for kids in need. This is him giving a toy car to a child battling AIDS." 

(Photo via Pinterest)

This Bus Driver

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By Marcel Walker

On a recent Friday I almost missed a bus I needed to catch to an important meeting. I was on the opposite side of the street and waved at the bus driver as he drove through the intersection.

I fully expected him to shrug and continue on, since no one else was waiting.

Instead, he pulled over and waited for me to cross the street. That may not sound like a big deal, but the lights were against me and no drivers would slow down so I could board the bus. A couple of cars even honked at the bus as he waited, but he stayed there until I could finally get to it.

It had been an incredibly stressful morning, and I couldn’t afford to miss my meeting, so this driver really hooked me up when he didn’t have to.

Local bus drivers have a thankless job. They are often dealing with an ungrateful public, they literally have people’s lives in their hands every day, they have to get us all to our destinations on time and they are, for whatever reason, not expected to be human and make occasional mistakes.

As someone who doesn’t drive, my existence often revolves around the people who drive the buses. I’ve had negative experiences with drivers, too, but I’ve had far and away more positive experiences with them. I wish I had this particular driver’s name, but at the very least I want to send some goodwill his way.

(Story via Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

Anonymous asked: There was a day at my school where I took sticky notes and wrote "Smile. You're beautiful" on all of them and put them on the locker of every girl in my grade, and there's roughly 50 of us. It probably took 15 minutes, tops - let's spread the beauty of making people smile. :)

Well, that’s just perfect:) Keep spreading the good stuff and being a Daily Saint! xx

These Window Washers

Window washers at Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital this week continued with a popular tradition to help put a smile on the faces of sick children.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the handymen dressed as Captain America, Spider-Man and Batman on Tuesday in the hopes of surprising and cheering up the youngsters sick in the hospital. Nurses call the new tradition, which started last year, “Superhero Day.”

While it’s hard to say which hospital started the trend a few years back, many children’s hospitals have taken to asking their window washers if they wouldn’t mind sporting tights, capes and masks for a day to surprise patients.

Lurie neuro-oncologist Dr. Stewart Goldman told the Tribune he feels the “Superhero Day” event and the positive feelings it inspires can help the hospital’s young patients heal.

“There is power in laughter and joy and excitement,” Goldman said.

Peggy Cooper Cafritz

On Wednesday evening, Peggy Cooper Cafritz was watching D.C.’s WUSA9’s news, when they were discussing a boy named Zach Wood, who is a high school senior lives in one of D.C.’s poorest neighborhoods. He recently got accepted into several ivy league summer programs, but he didn’t have the $10,000 that he needed to attend. He had turned to the crowdfunding page gofundme.org to try and raise money to go. As of the news program, Zach had raised about half the money he needed.

After seeing the segment, Cafritz called the station and said she wanted to foot the rest of the bill. Cafritz told reporters that she was touched by the story and was frustrated that it was simply money, not drive or ambition, that would hinder Zach from taking advantage of the opportunity.  

Cafritz told Wood that the only condition is that she wants Zach to keep in touch long after the summer program ends.

Besides being a renowned art patron in D.C., Cafritz has been involved in education in the District of Columbia for decades, including having held a a term as the president of the D.C. Board of Education. She also co-founded the Duke Ellington School for the Arts in Northwest D.C.

(Photo/Story via WUSA9)