For their first wedding anniversary, Susan Landis gave her husband, Sam, a gift that changed his life: A DNA kit that connected him to the family he'd spent decades wondering about.
Sam Landis was adopted in 1974 by a couple in Cincinnati. He was six months old at the time, and because it was a closed adoption, he was never able to find any of his biological relatives. After Susan gave him the DNA kit, they waited for the results and ultimately connected with a cousin, leading Landis to his birth father, Greg Baker. "I don't have any regrets and I know he doesn't either, and the time was just right for us to meet," Landis told WLWT. "It was God's timing."
Landis and his wife flew to Orlando, where they met Baker, his mother, and his wife; Landis also found out that his birth mother died in 1997 and that he has a half-sister. "When I saw him and he looked just like me, there's no doubt," he said. "A DNA test wasn't even needed. I can't even explain the joy that I felt and then when I got to hold him and hug him. I felt that we belonged together." Baker told WLWT he always wanted to search for his son, but respected the fact it was a closed adoption. "I always thought about him, always prayed for him," he said. Catherine Garcia
They didn't speak the same language, but it didn't matter — two young baseball players at the Little League World Series used technology to communicate.
— bob holtzman (@Bob_Holtzman) August 20, 2017
Former ESPN anchor Bob Holtzman was at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on Sunday when he stumbled upon a familiar scene: Two boys glued to their phones. But it turned out they weren't focusing on a game or surfing the internet — the players, one from South Dakota and the other from the Dominican Republic, were using Google Translate to talk to each another. Holtzman tweeted that watching these kids form a new friendship was the "coolest thing" he saw that day. Catherine Garcia
When Rickee Stewart walks down the aisle next month, she won't have any wedding presents waiting for her to unwrap when the day is over — and that's exactly how she wants it.
The West Jordan, Utah, high school teacher has registered for winter coats and tennis shoes to give to homeless students, rather than china and sheets. Stewart told KSL.com she had no idea there were more than 100 homeless students at Copper Hills High School until the school set up a food pantry for them. In her wedding invitations, she let guests know that instead of sending gifts to her, they could help her students. Her goal was reached before she sent out all of her invitations, and in the second batch of invites, she asked guests to consider donating money to provide coats and tents for every Jordan School District student in need.
Stewart said donations are coming in from friends and family across the U.S., and even strangers, and she plans on incorporating lessons about homelessness and charity into her curriculum. She told KSL.com her "hope is that we get to not only have this amazing wedding and start our lives together, but that we are able to put some warmth on all of those kids." Catherine Garcia
Just call him Dr. Jayden.
Jayden Fontenot, a quick-thinking 10-year-old, recently saved his newborn brother's life, keeping his cool the entire time. Ashley Moreau of Sulphur, Louisiana, had no idea she was in labor until she went to the bathroom and saw her baby was starting to come out, feet first. Her eldest son ran to his grandmother's house, called 911, then raced back to his mother, asking what he could to help. As gently as possible, Fontenot began to slowly pull at the baby's feet, "just hoping I didn't hurt him," he told ABC News. Fontenot was able to get the baby out, safely.
Had he not intervened, the baby would have died, doctors said, and it's possible Moreau could have bled out. "I'm just so proud of him," she told ABC News. "I don't think he understands how big this is. He saved me and his brother's life." Both Moreau and her newborn are doing well. Catherine Garcia
When 84-year-old Mary Grams lost her engagement ring while she was pulling a weed on her Alberta farm in 2004, she never expected to find it. But then, 13 years later, she found it in the most unexpected of places: wrapped around a carrot plucked from her garden.
Grams' daughter-in-law Colleen Daley dug it up while she was digging carrots for dinner. Daley said she immediately knew it must belong to "to either grandma or my mother-in-law because no other women have lived on that farm" that's been in the family for 105 years.
Grams had tried to keep her lost ring a secret over the years, even going so far as to buy a similar ring in the hopes her husband wouldn't notice (he didn't). But Grams certainly felt the loss, as she'd been wearing the ring since her husband proposed to her in 1951.
It took three weeks for Dana, a lion rescued from a defunct zoo in Aleppo, Syria, to make the journey to her new home in Jordan, and during her first night at the al-Ma'wa reserve, she gave birth to a lion cub named Hajar — Arabic for "the immigrant."
Dana was one of 12 animals, including four other lions, two bears, and two tigers, to leave Syria for Jordan, thanks to the efforts of the animal charity Four Paws. The team had been concerned she might give birth while in the cage she had to travel in; had that happened, Dr. Amir Khalil said, the cub probably would not have survived. The vet thinks Dana waited until Friday, when she arrived in a secure area, to finally have her cub. "She is a mom, she had the instinct," he told ABC News. "It's a miracle."
Not much is known yet about the cub, as it is bonding with Dana and hasn't been examined by Khalil. Its fur is white, which could change, and it is estimated to weigh 3.3 to 4.4 pounds. An ultrasound done in Turkey showed that Dana was carrying two cubs, and a follow-up ultrasound will reveal if she is still expecting, or if the second cub was born at the same time as Hajar and died. Dana and Hajar already have a strong bond, something Khalil is grateful to see. "After the dark," he said, "there is light." Catherine Garcia
Keith Davison turned his grief into a gift for the children in his Morris, Minnesota, neighborhood.
The 94-year-old retired judge's wife of 66 years, Evy, died from cancer in April 2016, and his life changed in an instant — he became lonely and accustomed to the silence. "You cry a lot," he told WXIA. "That's just the way it is, because she's not here." While he has three adult children, Davison doesn't have any grandchildren, and he came up with a way to ensure he'd have plenty of guests, at least during the summer months: He'd install a pool in his backyard, open to all the kids in the neighborhood.
At first, his neighbors thought he was kidding, but once the in-ground pool was built, they knew he was serious. The town doesn't have an outdoor public pool, and Davison's generosity ensures that every child on the block can spend their afternoons swimming and splashing. "It's him spreading joy throughout our neighborhood for these kids," neighbor Jessica Huebner told WXIA. Davison's only rule is that the kids are accompanied by a parent or grandparent while swimming. He said he swims when the pool is empty, and finds that having the happening spot on his street is a welcome distraction. Davison's wife is no longer with him, but as Huebner told him, he's got several new family members. "You kind of adopted our whole neighborhood of kids," she said. "These are your grandkids." Catherine Garcia
Gertrude Mokotoff, 98, and Alvin Mann, 94, aren't your typical newlyweds.
The pair met eight years ago at a gym in Middletown, N.Y. Their first date was at a local restaurant, and they've been together ever since. Mokotoff asked Mann to marry her — "I was tired of chasing after him," she told The New York Times' Vows section — and they tied the knot on Aug. 5. in front of family and friends. "I kept getting teased about dating a cougar," Mann said. "But the age difference never really bothered me because we just hit it off, and I wasn't about to let her go."
It's been a momentous few years for Mann — in 2016, he received his bachelor's degree in history from Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y. — and the World War II veteran and retired businessman said he and his wife, a former biology professor and the first female mayor of Middletown, aren't going to slow down. "Age doesn't mean a damn thing to me or to Gert," he told the Times. "We don't see it as a barrier. We still do what we want to do in life." Catherine Garcia