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After Vancouver, the kindness of strangers, and more

Random kindness took the sting from the outrage Crystal Ratvay experienced during the Vancouver riots.

After Vancouver, the kindness of strangersStudent Crystal Ratvay’s 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier was one of many cars destroyed by drunken rioters in Vancouver after the Canucks lost last month’s Stanley Cup final to the Boston Bruins. But in her case, random kindness took the sting from the outrage. After a friend posted a Facebook item about her being left unable to get to school, strangers pitched in $1,600, which a generous dealer took in payment for a 2001 Cavalier. “I’ve cried so much in the past week, so I’m just teared out right now,” said Ratvay. “I’m just in awe.”

The value of basement tinkeringDecades of basement tinkering finally paid off for George Weiss of Brooklyn, N.Y. He could never get companies interested in his more than 80 inventions, including a car-key belt buckle and the “Do It Your Shelf” storage system. But he hit it big when a company called Ideas Never Implemented invested in a word game he created, called Dabble, and brought it to market last month. Dabble was recently awarded a 2011 Game of the Year Award from Creative Child magazine. Weiss’s advice to other inventors: “Work on something that’s meaningful to you. If you do that, you’re more likely to find success.”

A thief's change of heartIt was bad enough that thieves broke into Triumph Church in Greenwood, Ind., last week and stole musical instruments and equipment. But part of the trove was special: a bass guitar that had belonged to the pastor’s late son, Army Sgt. Trent Schmidt, who died in a car crash four months ago. Floored by the loss, Pastor Stephen Schmidt and his wife, Wendy, pleaded on the local news for the thieves to return the bass. Their prayers were answered when they found it in an alleyway next to the church. The Rev. Schmidt said the thief’s apparent change of heart was “unbelievable, just amazing.”

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