Yes, the U.S. federal government has shut down as a result of Congress failing to pass a budget and is in danger of defaulting on its debt when it runs out of cash on October 17, unless Republicans do what they say they won’t do: raise the debt ceiling.
The shutdown has meant that 94 percent of the E.P.A.’s employees are on a leave of absence, delaying the implementation of new rules to penalize polluters. Individuals with disabilities could find their lives disrupted when funds for programs and services from Medicaid are delayed.
But not all that’s going on right now is doom and gloom. Here are some recent good deeds to make you feel better about life.
1. Man Finds 8,000 Euros, Gives It to Police
A few weeks ago, a man from the Muslim minority in Xanthi in northern Greece found 8,000 euros (around $10,800) in a bag; he turned it in to police.
The man who had lost the money reported the incident shortly afterwards and thanked the other man for turning it in. “The Greek-Muslim does not appear to be rich, as he is one of the Greeks who is highly affected by the financial crisis. However, he did not even think of keeping the money for himself,” comments GreekReporter.com.
2. Worker Reinstated After Suspension for Helping Elderly Woman With Disabilities
On seeing an elderly woman in a wheelchair fall onto the tracks at Southend Central Station in Essex (U.K.) some weeks ago, Alan Chittock rushed to assist her. Because he had not acted in accordance with the policies of train company C2C, he was suspended and faced losing his job.
3. Center for Individuals with Disabilities Saved at 11th Hour
The Space Centre, in Ashton, Preston in the U.K. is a specialized facility providing a multisensory environment (a ball pool, indoor swings and more) that can soothe and help children and adults with disabilities. About 200 groups use the center but it faced closing due to a lack of funding and, according to the BBC, financial mismanagement — staff had discovered that “£800,000 in grants never actually existed.”
A national charity, Manchester-based Creative Support, has pledged to support the center, a real boon to individuals in need of such a place (I suspect my severely autistic teenage son Charlie would enjoy it!) and their families and others who care for them.
4. A 13-year-old and Passing Motorist Stop a Carjacking
On seeing two men with what appeared to be knives threatening a woman in a Stourbridge, West Midlands (U.K.) parking garage, a 13-year-old boy called out to a passing motorist, who then wrestled one of the alleged attackers to the ground. One man got away with a large amount of cash, but left the woman’s car keys behind in the incident last Saturday. The woman was, as an official said, “fortunately unhurt,” thanks to the quick thinking and actions of the teenager and the motorist.
5. Bystanders Come to the Aid of an 18-Month-Old in New York City
Thomas Ciriacks just happened to be in Riverside Park on the Upper West Side of Manhattan on October 1 when he rushed to the aid of James Fayette and his young son, Luke, who were being attacked by a man with a pair of scissors. Fayette, former principal dancer at the New York City Ballet and now a union representative, was literally protecting Luke with his body as the man, Julius Graham, stabbed him in his chest. Ciriacks and Fayette wrestled Graham to the ground while a jogger rushed to Luke.
Three other people were also attacked by Graham, who had lived on and off in a homeless shelter and was originally from Texas; he has been arrested and taken to Bellevue Hospital Center for a psychiatric evaluation. As Fayette said to the New York Times, “I was really amazed and impressed with other New Yorkers…. I love this city and the people in it.”
6. A Truck Driver Saves a Diabetic Motorist
Bob Rennie, a truck driver, had been following a car when it started being driven erratically in Luss, Dunbartonshire (Scotland). The car was swerving back and forth across the road, and Rennie, thinking it may have been a health issue, honked and tried to the driver’s attention. After four minutes, he decided to take action. Rennie swerved his truck in front of the car to stop it.
The car’s elderly driver had been having a diabetic seizure and was unable to stop the car. Thanks to Rennie’s quick actions, the driver and his wife (who was also in the car) avoided getting into what could have been a major accident. The driver called Rennie later that night from his hotel to thank him for what he’d done.
7. A Royal Navy Warship Comes to the Rescue of an Owl
The aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious was on patrol off the coast of Yemen when a Eurasian scops owl took refuge on the ship’s deck. As Lt Chris Patrick, a member of the Royal Naval Bird Watching Society, tells the BBC, the owl was migrating towards Sub-Saharan Africa and must have “run out of steam.” Patrick nursed the owl, who “looked as though it was simply waiting to die,” back to health before releasing it to continue its journey when wind conditions were favorable (something Patrick was able to figure out as he is the HMS Illustrious’ meteorologist).
Have you heard or witnessed similarly good deeds recently during the (almost forgot it) government shutdown?
Photo credits: Thinkstock