The Upbeat Everyday Acts
  • Cary Collings holds up his winnings (Photo via Facebook)Cary Collings holds up his winnings. (Photo via Facebook)

    It's better to be lucky than good. Just ask Cary Collings: He recently found himself with a high-scoring scratch-off ticket, and then, when he bought another, he had one worth even more—all in the same 24-hour period.

    According to the Facebook page for Washington's Lottery, Collings' day started off on the right note when he won the $55,555 prize on a scratch-off ticket. Not a bad day's work, but Collings wasn't finished. On his way to cash in his ticket, he stopped at a store to buy some more. One of them ended up being worth $200,000. reported that Collings, who lives in Puyallup, Wash., plans to use some of his winnings to pay off debts. He said he is undecided on what to do with the rest of his windfall but has no plans to quit his job.

    While Collings' feat is extremely rare, he isn't the first person to win big more than once. Earlier this year, Stephen and Terri Weaver of Arkansas won a $1 million jackpot. Then, later that same weekend, they won an additional $50,000,

    Read More »from Man scores big in lottery twice in 24 hours
  • NASA's new class of astronauts. Top Row (L-R): Josh A. Cassada, Victor J. Glover, Tyler N. Hague, Christina M. Hammock. Bottom Row (L-R): Nicole Aunapu Mann, Anne C. McClain, Jessica U. Meir, Andrew R. Morgan (photos: NASA)NASA's new class of astronauts. Top row (L-R): Josh A. Cassada, Victor J. Glover, Tyler N. Hague, Christina M. Hammock. Bottom Row (L-R): Nicole Aunapu Mann, Anne C. McClain, Jessica U. Meir, Andrew R. Morgan (photos: NASA)

    NASA has picked eight new astronauts, half of them women, according to a press release from the space agency.

    NASA said this was the "the highest percentage of female astronaut candidates ever selected for a class." The American space agency announced that the eight astronauts were chosen from among 6,100 applicants, the equivalent of a .0013 acceptance rate.

    The AP reports there are currently 49 astronauts at NASA. The newly picked group of eight will begin their training in August at Houston's Johnson Space Center.

    NASA's new hire announcement comes on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the late Sally Ride's historic mission as the first woman in space. Ride remains the youngest American in space, either male or female.

    NASA stressed that it chooses its astronauts based only on skill. Jay Bolden, public affairs officer at NASA, told CNN: "We have great female candidates in the pool this year. The selection is about qualifications. It has nothing to do with their genders."

    In a

    Read More »from Half of NASA’s new class of astronauts are women
  • Ambulance (Thinkstock)

    Talk about above and beyond the call of duty.

    A heroic New York City dispatcher spent a marathon eight hours on the phone with a stroke victim as rescuers attempted to locate her.

    A story in the New York Post reports that EMT dispatcher Joann Hilman-Payne got a call from an ill Mary Thomas, and rescuers rushed to the woman's residence at East 71st Street. But the stroke victim was not there.

    According to a letter of commendation written by EMT Capt. Philip Weiss praising Hilman-Payne, the dispatcher then struggled to communicate with the slurring Thomas to try to determine her location—and keep her conscious.

    With the help of Verizon and the NYPD, firefighters checked several nearby addresses, but none proved to be right. Rescuers finally found Thomas at an East 72nd Street residence, where she had been working as a housekeeper.

    She was rushed to Lenox Hill Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, according to the Post.

    “Throughout the entirety, [Hilman-Payne] worked to keep the patient awake,

    Read More »from EMT dispatcher helps find stroke victim during 8-hour call
  • Jayden Sink (Image courtesy Jon Sink)

    A 5-year-old girl who set up a lemonade stand across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., on Friday raised more than $10,000 in the name of peace.

    Jayden Sink, with more than a little help from her father, Jon, sold "Pink Lemonade for Peace" from her stand outside the Equality House, a rainbow-painted building across the street from the controversial church's headquarters on Friday. According to Jon, his daughter got more than $170 in cash and more than $10,000 in online donations through Crowdrise. The money went to Planting Peace, a nonprofit that owns the Equality House.

    Supporters of the Westboro Baptist Church—which has become infamous for its homophobic protests at soldiers' funerals—reportedly hurled insults at the pair and their customers, including more than a dozen active soldiers from the nearby Fort Riley military base who arrived at the lemonade stand on motorcycles.

    "They hung out for quite a while and definitely showed their support," Jon Sink wrote

    Read More »from 5-year-old girl takes on Westboro with lemonade stand
  • Solana Cortez and her biological father, Gary Fuller (Family photo)“Did you think about me?” a woman on the other end of the phone line asked Gary Fuller.

    The question came from the 27-year-old daughter he had never met. An ordained minister, Fuller is usually good with words but says her question had him babbling.

    “The call was so emotionally charged, I hardly remember what came out of my mouth,” he recalls. “I wasn’t proud of so willingly bowing out and never pursuing her.”

    In the summer of 1980, Fuller was a 20-year-old Northern California college student when he began dating a nurse’s aide at the convalescent home where he worked part time. The romance fizzled by the fall, about the same time his girlfriend learned she was pregnant. To further complicate matters, the woman soon became engaged to someone else. Back in school full time, Fuller complied when asked to sign away his paternal rights.

    “I didn’t know if the pregnancy went to term. I didn’t know the gender, anything,” Fuller told Yahoo News.

    Not until February 2009, when his daughter,

    Read More »from Newfound dad grateful for his daughter’s courage


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