We put all our best stories from July in one post to make it easier for you to get a little good news in your life.
1. Former College Wide Receiver And Marine Makes Lifesaving Catch To Save A Baby From A Burning Building
A former college football receiver made the catch of a lifetime when he saved a 3-year-old child thrown from the balcony of a burning building.
LIFESAVING CATCH: Eyewitness video shows Phillip Blanks – a former college wide receiver – sprint to the scene of a third-floor apartment fire in Phoenix before catching a small child thrown from a balcony; the mother of the child did not survive. https://t.co/CyIuiva87p pic.twitter.com/egzOxE5bFr— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) July 7, 2020
28-year-old Phillip Blanks made the life-saving grab on July 3rd as a fire consumed an apartment building near where he lives in Phoenix. He saw a 30-year-old mother on the third-floor balcony, desperate to save her toddler from the flames.
As the mother prepared to throw the child to safety, Blanks’ instincts kicked in, and he dove to catch the 3-year-old just in time.
“He was twirling in the air like a propeller,” Blanks told KABC-TV. “I just did my best. His head landed perfectly on my elbow. His ankle got twisted up as I was diving.”
In addition to his football career that prepared him for this pivotal moment, Blanks is also a retired US Marine who served in 12 countries after graduating from high school.
“There wasn’t much thinking. I just reacted. I just did it,” Blanks said. “It was all fast, it was a blur. It was tunnel vision as I was running. I didn’t see anything but the baby.”
He told the Washington Post that his training taught him to “always be on high alert, not be complacent and to have discipline.”
“The guy who was there with me … it looked like he wasn’t going to catch him. So that’s why I stepped in. I just wanted to make a better catch.”
Once the toddler was safe in Blanks’ arms, he was taken to a nearby hospital, along with his 8-year-old sister where the children were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
2. Wear Your Mask While You Read This Bit Of Good News About COVID Immunity And Then Keep Wearing Your Mask
While there is still so much that is unknown about coronavirus immunity and studies are still in their beginning stages, researchers are tentatively suggesting that immunity may be more widespread than initially thought.
Researchers at the Karolinksa Institute in Sweden tested 200 people for both antibodies and T-cells. For every person testing positive for antibodies, two were found to have specific T-cells that identify and destroy infected cells. This was also seen in people who had mild or symptomless cases of COVID-19.
However, before you start running around without a mask on, it’s not clear yet whether this just protects the individual or if it can also stop them from passing COVID-19 to other people.
The 200 people tested at the Karolinksa Institute were blood donors while others were tracked down from the group of people first infected in Sweden. It’s possible those people did mount an antibody response, but either it had faded or was not currently detectable by tests. This could mean a larger group has some level of immunity than previously thought.
Professor Danny Altmann at Imperial College London described the study as “robust, impressive and thorough” and said it added to a growing body of evidence that “antibody testing alone underestimates immunity.”
According to one of the study’s authors, Marcus Buggert, this does not get us any closer to herd immunity and more analysis needs to be done.
Specifically, more research needs to be conducted to understand whether these T-cells completely block the virus or whether they might protect an individual from getting sick but not stop them from being a carrier and transmitter of the virus.
In the meantime, keep wearing your mask and practice social distancing!
3. After Yeeting Silicon Valley Racist From Restaurant, Waitress Receives $82,000 In Tips
A waitress has received $82,000 in tips from people around the world for simply doing the right thing—standing up to a racist customer who was harassing an Asian family.
Gennica Cochran, who works at Lucia restaurant in Carmel Valley, California, had to escort 37-year-old Silicon Valley CEO and racist Michael Lofthouse out of the restaurant after he yelled “Trump is going to f*** you” at the Orosa Chan family out for a birthday meal on July 4th.
“I felt very protective of them,” Cochran said. “To hear the emotion coming out of my voice, to see my mannerisms, it was unbelievable it was just something that came over me and I just did what needed to be done.”
Footage posted by Jenny Chan on Instagram shows Lofthouse shouting racist abuse at the family, including calling them “f****** Asian pieces of s***.” Lofthouse also is seen giving them the middle finger. “You f***ers need to leave,” he says, before Cochran steps in and tells Lofthouse to get out.
It was the first time Lucia had opened back up after being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the family was celebrating a birthday. Cochran said she could not let racist abuse ruin their experience.
“You are not allowed here. You do not talk to our guests like that,” she says.
Then Lofthouse turns to Cochran and asks, “who are these f***ers?”
Without missing a beat, she tells him they are “valued guests”—to which Lofthouse responds, “Are they? They are valued guests in America?”
Cochran then tells him to get out. “You are not allowed here ever again,” she says.
Chan wrote on Instagram that the “white supremacist” businessman began harassing her family soon after they sang happy birthday to her aunt. Aside from the racist comments caught on camera, she said he also told them to “go back to whatever f****** Asian country you’re from” and that “you don’t belong here.”
Lofthouse is a UK-born CEO of California-based Solid8, a small tech company with a crappy-looking website. He emigrated to the United States in 2010. He later told DailyMail.com that “this was clearly a moment where I lost control and made incredibly hurtful and divisive comments.” Lofthouse has since stepped down from Solid8 and cut all business ties with the company. He says he is now enrolled in an anti-racism program.
Folks who saw the videos decided that they needed to tip Cochran for being an incredible waitress and human being. Three GoFundMe accounts have raised a combined $82,000. Cochran says she plans to use the money to pursue yoga teaching and also help others in the service industry.
“I did what anybody else should or would do in that situation,” Cochran said.
She also has a message for the Orosa Chan family: “I love you. I’ve got your back always. I will always speak up for you and please come back to Bernardus, I’d love to buy you a drink. And please just know that those words are not the values of the people that live here on the Monterey Peninsula.”
Cochran’s advice to everyone else? “If you see something do something. Stand up against racism and hatred in any form any time you can.”
4. Antique Store Owner Gifts Student Piano After His Rendition Of “Don’t Stop Believin'” Goes Viral
A Northeastern University student, John Thomas Archer, made quite an impression at a Massachusetts antique store when he started playing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” on a piano for sale.
One of the employees at ReMARKable Cleanouts began filming the young man’s even more remarkable performance, and the video started making its way around the internet. When store owner, Mark Waters, saw it he thought it was “fantastic,” he told Good Morning America.
The young man’s playing struck such a chord that Waters decided to give Archer a piano, and the store owner tracked him down on Facebook. When Archer learned that he was being gifted a Steinway, “he went into tears and it brought tears to my eyes,” said Waters. “It was one of those feel-good moments.”
Well, that’s music to our ears!
5. Single Dad Adopts 13-Year-Old Boy After He Was Abandoned At A Hospital
View this post on Instagram
A 13-year-old-boy who’d been abandoned by his adoptive parents at a hospital has finally found a forever home.
At age 4 Tony was previously adopted out of the foster care system by a couple from Oklahoma. But according to Peter and social worker Jessica Ward, when Tony was 11 his adoptive parents left him at a hospital and never came back for him.
“He asked if his parents were coming to get him and they said no,” Peter told Good Morning America.
In early 2018 Peter received a call from Ward who hoped the foster dad would be able to take Tony for the weekend. Peter said that Tony’s story brought him to tears, and he knew right away that they were meant to be family.
“I thought, ‘Who would do that?'” Peter said of Tony’s abandonment. “Once I knew the parents’ rights were signed off and he had nowhere to go, I [knew] I had to take him.”
Peter grew up in Uganda where he ran away from an abusive home for a life on the streets at just 10-years-old. He found a guardian in Uganda who rescued him and gave him a chance.
“They became my sponsor, my family. I grew up the poor of the poorest people on the planet,” Mutabazi said. “I grew up where no one told me to dream, that there was no future for me.”
Peter eventually emigrated to the US where he works for nonprofit World Vision United States, an organization that works with kids growing up in vulnerable areas. Inspired by his own “foster family,” Peter explained, “How can I not give back?”
In 2017, he worked to get certified to become a foster parent and since then has fostered 12 children. And now Peter is a proud father. Tony’s adoption was finalized at a Charlotte courthouse in North Carolina where he and Peter now live.
6. “She’s Already Paid A Steep Price”—Black Birdwatcher Christian Cooper Won’t Cooperate With Cops In Prosecuting Amy Cooper
The Black birdwatcher Chris Cooper, who was accused of ‘threatening a white woman’s life’ after asking her to leash her dog in Central Park, says he won’t cooperate with authorities in their efforts to prosecute the woman for falsely reporting an incident in the third degree.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. announced charges against New York City woman, Amy Cooper, earlier this week.
“Our office will provide the public with additional information as the case proceeds,” Vance said. “At this time I would like to encourage anyone who has been the target of false reporting to contact our Office. We are strongly committed to holding perpetrators of this conduct accountable.”
After the incident, Amy Cooper quickly became the target of social media outrage in response to video of the encounter posted by the birdwatcher, Christian Cooper—no relation to Amy.
In the video, which has been viewed nearly 6 million times on Facebook, hysterical Amy Cooper calls the police and repeatedly tells them that an African American man is threatening her life.
Amid the controversy, Cooper lost her home and her job at investment firm Franklin Templeton.
She even temporarily lost custody of her dog when an animal rights group took action against her in response to the perceived “rough handling” of the animal displayed in Christian Cooper’s video.
Now Christian Cooper says Amy Cooper has suffered sufficient punishment and that he has no interest in cooperating with the prosecution’s investigation against her.
“On the one hand, she’s already paid a steep price,” he told The New York Times, “That’s not enough of a deterrent to others? Bringing her more misery just seems like piling it on.”
Cooper explained that he is aware of the greater implications of the event and added, “…if the DA feels the need to pursue charges, he should pursue charges. But he can do that without me.”
The incident took place in May when Christian Cooper was birdwatching in a section of Central Park called ‘The Ramble,’ where dog owners are required to keep their pets on a leash. He saw Amy Cooper’s dog “tearing through the plantings” and asked her to leash the animal so he could enjoy his hobby, but she refused.
Christian Cooper began to film the encounter, causing Amy Cooper to threaten to call the cops.
“I’m going to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life,” she said.
“Please tell them whatever you like,” He responded.
On the phone with police, Cooper pleads with the dispatcher to send officers to the scene, saying, “I’m being threatened by a man in the Ramble…Please send the cops immediately!”
The video ends when Amy Cooper eventually leashes her dog, and Christian Cooper thanks her.
After the video went viral, Amy Cooper issued a public apology via CNN in May.
“I’m not a racist,” she said. “I did not mean to harm that man in any way.”
In response to charges against her, Cooper’s Attorney, Robert Barnes, appears to be taking the “cancel culture” angle.
“Based on a misunderstood 60 seconds of video, she lost her job, her home, and her reputation,” he said in a statement to CNN.
“Public shaming, lost employment, denied benefits & now prison time for a mis-perceived, momentary alleged ‘wrong think’? For words said in a sixty-second interaction where even the alleged victim calls this reaction way excessive? This criminalized, cancel culture is cancerous & precarious. That is why acquitting Amy Cooper is important.”
Cooper could spend up to one year in prison if convicted. She will go before the courts in October.
Now can we finally let Christian Cooper get on his life? Just a Black man trying to watch some birds out here…
This is Christian Cooper. pic.twitter.com/gOQyVztX5h— Joshua Potash (@JoshuaPotash) May 26, 2020
7. Inventor Of The N95 Mask Comes Out Of Retirement To Basically Save The World—For Free
A few months ago, I had no idea what an N95 was, but now I will never forget. And the man who is responsible for engineering the mask, Dr. Peter Tsai, has never been busier—despite retiring two years ago.
When COVID-19 began to spread around the world in March, Tsai was asked to come out of retirement and help overwhelmed healthcare workers and medical companies—and his work has undoubtedly saved lives.
“Everyone was asking me about the respirators,” said Tsai, 68, who is originally from Taiwan and now lives in Knoxville, Tenn.
People wanted to know how to scale up production as the critically needed N95 masks started running out—and how to sterilize the masks for reuse. N95 masks, unlike cloth masks and other forms of personal protective gear, actually filter out contaminants, which makes them very important for medical health professionals working with COVID-19 patients.
So Tsai got to work. He set up a lab in his home and began working “almost 20 hours a day” trying to figure out how to decontaminate the masks. He tried everything he could think of the cheaply sterilize the masks without losing filtration usefulness. And then, after experimenting, he published an emergency medical report.
Tsai found that N95 masks can be heated at 158 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes using a dry heat method. His hypothesis was supported by the National Institutes of Health. (For those of us who do not need an N95, according to Tsai, the best material for homemade masks is non-woven fabrics, such as car shop towels.)
Dr. Tsai also began collaborating with research groups such as N95DECON and Oak Ridge National Lab to work on scaling up the production of N95 masks. With Dr. Tsai’s help, the lab was able to produce the filter technology they needed.
“He came in and described exactly what was needed to build his charging system and scale it,” said Lonnie Love, a lead scientist at Oak Ridge. “Tsai has been really critical for us to solve this problem fast.”
“He’s very humble and unassuming despite being a pioneer in this area of filtration,” Love also said. “Just when he’s ready to relax, all hell breaks loose, and he’s become critical.”
Merlin Theodore, the director of the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility at Oak Ridge said Tsai repeatedly rejected payment for his work, but Oak Ridge policy requires compensation.
“That’s what struck me the most about him,” Theodore said. “He didn’t care about the money. He just wanted to help as many people as he could.”
“If I can have this opportunity to help the community, then it will be a good memory for the rest of my life,” Tsai said. “I’m happy to do it.”
8. “Guardian Angel” Viewer Spots Cancerous Tumor In TV Reporter’s Neck
View this post on Instagram
If a concerned viewer hadn’t gotten in touch about the lump in TV reporter Jessica Price’s neck, she says she’d never have called her doctor about the tumor that turned out to be thyroid cancer.
Price, a reporter with NBC affiliate WFLA-TV in Tampa, got an email from a woman in June who’d observed the abnormal lump after watching Price on air.
The terse message was entered into the email’s the subject line:
“Hi, just saw your news report. What concerned me is the lump on your neck. Please have your thyroid checked. Reminds me of my neck. Mine turned out to be cancer. Take care of your self,” the woman wrote.
At the urging of her “lovingly-pushy boyfriend,” Price called her primary care physician. Price’s doctor agreed that something didn’t look right and after an ultrasound, found a nodule growing on her thyroid that was later confirmed as cancerous and spreading to her lymph nodes.
Price tweeted Thursday that she’d be undergoing surgery this week to remove the tumor, her thyroid, and affected lymph nodes.
She wrote in her post, “Had I never received that email, I never would have called my doctor. The cancer would have continued to spread. It’s a scary and humbling thought,” Price wrote. “I will forever be thankful to the woman who went out of her way to email me, a total stranger. She had zero obligation to, but she did anyway.”
Price went on to say, “Talk about being on your side, huh? The world is a tough place these days. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Take care of each other. Love y’all and see you soon.”
Price said that since the pandemic began, she’d been working so much to cover “the most important health story in a century” that she neglected her own health and wellbeing.
“As a journalist, it’s been full throttle since the pandemic began. Never-ending shifts in a never-ending news cycle. Adjusting to remote workflows and in my case, taking on a new investigative role,” she wrote on social media, “We were covering the most important health story in a century, but my own health was the farthest thing from my mind.”
According to the American Cancer Society, until recently, thyroid cancer was the most rapidly increasing cancer in the US. Women are at a higher risk of developing thyroid cancer compared to men.
9. After Wife With Dementia Dies, Husband Pens Letter To Hairdresser Thanking Her For Making Her “Last, Best Moments” So Happy
An unexpected note left for Illinois based hairstylist, Sara Verkuilen is making the rounds on the internet, and it’s sure to make you cry like a baby.
The letter, left at the salon where Sara works, was written by a man who had come in with his wife for a haircut in December. The husband revealed that his wife was suffering from dementia, and that she sadly passed in March, just as quarantine began.
He was moved to write the note, because his wife’s hairdresser had made such an impression with her kindness and patience.
“You treated her as if you’d been working with dementia patients all your life,” the letter reads. “You let us sit next to each other, and when it came time for her cut you turned her chair towards me so I could watch her expression as you cut her hair.”
Once the national lockdown set in and people were ordered to stay at home, his late wife found it especially difficult to do those things that sparked joy.
In the letter, the man describes his wife’s most recent haircut as “one of the last, best moments of her life.”
“She felt so pretty. She visited the mirror in her bathroom several times during the day and would come out beaming,” the letter goes on. “To see her so happy was priceless.”
Receiving the heart-wrenching letter made Sara’s day. She posted it to Facebook along with the caption: “This is why I love what I do. Thank you for this letter.” The post has since been widely shared.
Sara doesn’t have any formal training in dealing with customers diagnosed with dementia, according to an interview she did with Upworthy.
“I just try to treat everyone that sits in my chair with basic human respect,” she says in the same interview.
“My advice for other stylists would be to just treat them as you would any other client. Sometimes things take a little longer, and it’s tough in our career because time is money but hairstylists are a special breed of people. We often do it for passion more than the money.”
Like so many others, the pandemic and subsequent lockdown left Sara unemployed for several months.
“I was out of work due to [the pandemic] for a few months,” she shared. “The company I work for went bankrupt and almost closed my salon forever so it was a wild rollercoaster of emotions.”
But Sara has returned to work at a salon owned by a family friend, and thanks to this man’s letter, she is feeling appreciated and inspired to continue being a positive force.
10. Journalist Adopts Dog Who Won’t Stop Hugging Him
Sometimes, you just know when a dog picks you. I remember visiting my dog for the first time at PetSmart (the shelter he was being cared at brings their pets there once a week for a showing). He was incredibly shy, but he crawled over and just sat on my lap and stayed there. I took him home the very next week, and he’s sitting here by my feet as I write this.
A dog at a shelter definitely chose his person—and the video of the tenacious pup has gone viral. This moment happened when a reporter visited the animal shelter to do a story. Suddenly, a very excited dog came up to him and just started hugging him in that very sweet way that dogs do, when their claws dig into your leg but you love them so much that it doesn’t matter.
Apparently, the reporter did not have any treats and had never seen the dog before, so this was super special. The reporter started petting the dog, and it became a love fest. It was such a beautiful moment that people nearby started recording.
So the reporter did what he had to do: adopted the dog.
You love to see it!