The week's good news: November 21, 2019

Catherine Garcia

1.

When Diana Chong and her family found themselves stranded nearly 200 miles from home, they never expected their local bagel shop manager would come to their rescue. Last Saturday, Chong ran into Bagels 101 in Middle Island, New York, leaving her husband and kids waiting in the car. Chong accidentally left her key fob on the counter, but because the car was running, the family was able to drive off. The Chongs traveled 189 miles to Honesdale, Pennsylvania, for a party, and Chong tried to get locksmiths and dealerships there to help her. But it was Bagels 101 manager Vinny Proscia who saved the day, telling Chong he would deliver the key fob to her. "This act of kindness is just unheard of," Chong told CBS New York. Proscia arrived six hours later, and to thank him, Chong gave him food, coffee, gift cards, and an invitation to her family's "Friendsgiving." [CBS New York]

2.

A humpback whale population in the South Atlantic that was nearly hunted to extinction has made an astonishing rebound, researchers say. Worldwide, 300,000 humpback whales were killed by hunters between the late 1700s and mid-1900s, and by 1958, just 440 Western South Atlantic (WSA) humpbacks were left. In 1986, the International Whaling Commission prohibited commercial hunting, and by the mid-2000s, it was estimated the WSA population had only recovered by 30 percent. In a study published this month in the Royal Society Open Science, researchers said they decided to make a new calculation, taking into consideration the historical decline of the whales and data from recent aerial and boat surveys. They were shocked by what they found: There are now 24,900 WSA humpbacks in the region, nearly 93 percent of the population size before hunting began. The study's authors say there is a "high probability" that by 2030, the population will be at 99 percent of pre-hunting numbers. [Smithsonian]

3.

When a San Diego police officer went to inspect a stolen car last month, he had no idea he was about to meet his new best friend. Inside the abandoned car, Officer Andre Thomas discovered a scared yellow Labrador in the back seat. The dog reminded him of Melakai, his own yellow Lab who died in March. For more than 10 years, Thomas and Melakai were always together, and because they were so close, it was hard for Thomas to ever imagine getting another dog. Per protocol, Thomas brought the dog to the Humane Society, but he couldn't stop thinking about him. After three weeks, the owners hadn't yet claimed him, so Thomas stepped up and filed the adoption paperwork. The two have become inseparable, and the pup is now known as Victor, "a name worthy of the adversities the dog has overcome," the San Diego Police Department said. [Fox 5 San Diego]

4.

Ashleigh Bentz wants to make sure every child has a toy that looks just like them. The Springfield, Missouri, resident was born without a fibula in her right leg, and was also missing bones in her foot and two toes. When she was 2, her leg was amputated and she was fitted with a prosthetic. Bentz is now a certified prosthetic assistant, and doesn't want kids who have limb differences to feel left out. She launched a fundraiser and used the $2,500 in donations to purchase 600 Barbies that either have prosthetics or use a wheelchair. "For there to be a gift that a kid could potentially pick out that looks just like them, that's big," she told KY3. The dolls have been given to Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis, and officials there said they have enough Barbies to pass out for several years. [KY3]

5.

Babies born at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh celebrated their first World Kindness Day with a very special guest. World Kindness Day is Nov. 13, and it's a good fit for Pittsburgh, where Fred Rogers taught children the importance of goodwill on his classic children's television show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital nurse Caitlin Pechin decided to mark the occasion by crocheting tiny red cardigans with ties and booties for the newborns, in honor of Mister Rogers' signature attire. Fred Rogers died in 2003, and the hospital invited his wife, Joanne Rogers, to come join the festivities. She was delighted, and the babies' parents were excited to celebrate the moment with her. "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, growing up I watched with my grandmother," Michael Lewandowski, the father of newborn Mary Rose Lewandowski, told TribLive. "Seeing Mrs. Rogers was very special." [TribLive]

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