Feature

It wasn’t all bad

When salesman Jamie Howard knocked on Paul Sucher’s door in Twin Falls, Idaho, six months ago, he was hoping to sell him a vacuum cleaner. Howard ended up giving Sucher one of his kidneys. Sucher, 35, suffered

kidney failure three years ago and was far down on a donor waiting list. During his sales spiel, Howard, also 35, learned that Sucher couldn’t afford a vacuum because of his medical bills. He also discovered that Sucher

had O-positive blood, as does he. “I went outside, prayed about it,” Howard remembered. “It was something I was called to do.” The surgery was a success, and a grateful Sucher said he feels so good, it’s as if he was never

ill. “It’s truly a miracle,” he said.

Tom Murphy sleeps on a bench, has no money, and struggles with alcoholism. But the 49-year-old homeless man is the unofficial chess king of Washington, D.C. Murphy spends his days playing chess at D.C.’s Dupont Circle, where he specializes in a lightning version of the game known as “blitz,” in which each player has just five minutes for all his moves. He has won several tournaments and finished 15th in the 2005 world blitz championship. “The mathematical equation has always been fascinating to me,” says Murphy, a former math and science major. “Then when you add the camaraderie, the ambience, the open air, it’s almost irresistible.” Murphy’s tournament ranking is “expert,” and in coming months, he hopes to qualify in the highest category, “master.”

When the driver of an Orlando school bus suffered a seizure this week and lost control, 39 students began screaming in terror. The bus careened off a

guardrail and was headed for disaster. But Mariah Hutchinson, 17, jumped from her seat and grabbed the steering wheel, wrestling the bus away from the guardrail. Joshua Cosme, also 17, pulled the emergency brake and

brought the vehicle to a stop. Nobody was seriously injured. The students’ “quick thinking,” said Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Jorge Delahoz, “kept this from becoming a tragic incident.”

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