The week's good news: July 29, 2021
It wasn't all bad!
In 30 minutes, traveler raises $10,000 in tips for airport piano player
Pianist Tonee "Valentine" Carter received the biggest tip of his life last Wednesday, courtesy of strangers who heard him play virtually. Carlos Whittaker was dazzled by Carter when he spotted him playing the piano at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and shared videos of the performance with his 200,000 Instagram followers. He asked them to help him deliver Carter his biggest tip ever, and within 30 minutes, $10,000 had been sent via Venmo and Cash App. When Whittaker told Carter about the tip, he was stunned. "I love giving and donating and helping people, but I never expected someone to do it for me," Carter told CNN. The money kept coming in, and that $10,000 grew to $70,000 by Saturday. Carter has kidney disease and receives dialysis treatment nightly, but that doesn't stop him from going to the airport nearly every day, because when he plays the piano, "I feel like the happiest man in the world," he said.
Teen pilot wants to be the youngest woman to fly solo around the world
Zara Rutherford hopes that her upcoming air adventure serves two purposes — she wants to break a world record while showing girls that the sky's the limit when it comes to a career. On August 11, the 19-year-old from Belgium plans to set off on a 32,000-mile trip, aiming to become the youngest woman to ever fly solo around the world; the record is now held by Shaesta Waiz, who was 30 when she circumnavigated the globe in 2017. Rutherford will be flying in a Shark ultralight aircraft, and it could take three months to complete her journey, which will take her across 52 countries. Two of Rutherford's passions are flying and computer science, and when she was younger, she really didn't see too many women in those fields. This was "quite discouraging," Rutherford said, and it is her desire to "inspire other girls to try to beat my record and then go and start competing with the boys."
Creative volunteers are writing and illustrating free books to help kids in South Africa with literacy
Book Dash is working to make sure that all children in South Africa see themselves in the stories they read. The nonprofit was founded in 2014, and brings together volunteers to write and design books for South African kids. Each team has a professional writer, illustrator, editor, and designer, and over the course of a 12-hour "dash," they put together a picture book. The topics range from the silly to the serious, and over the last seven years, more than 140 books have been made and 1 million copies distributed. Graphic designer and Book Dash volunteer Thokozani Mkhize was always reading as a child, but almost all of her books came from abroad. Book Dash is changing that for this generation of South African kids, and Mkhize told The Christian Science Monitor she's happy to be part of the movement. "You see yourself in these stories and these characters," Mkhize said. "You can feel, 'I am normal, my experiences are normal, and my stories are important, too.'"
Unable to find adaptive gear for her son, this mom started making it herself
Lisa Radcliffe wanted her son and all kids who wear leg braces to have cool designs to choose from, and when she couldn't find any on the market, Radcliffe got creative. She launched a company called PunkinFutz to make adaptive gear for kids, including wheelchair bags, fidget toys to help build motor skills, and compression vests for children who have sensory issues. About 75 percent of the company's staff has special needs, and they share their experiences living with cerebral palsy or being deaf, and that is worked into the products. The items are "better because of them," Radcliffe told People. "When we talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion, you can't really have that conversation and leave out disability, which is what I think we've been doing." Radcliffe's next big idea is to open an adaptive factory in New York City.
Olympic diver Tom Daley knit an adorable holder to protect his gold medal
Tom Daley's talents go far beyond the diving board. The 27-year-old British diver earned his first gold medal Monday in Tokyo, 13 years after making his Olympic debut in Beijing. Daley and his partner, Matty Lee, won the men's 10-meter synchronized diving competition, and as soon as he held his long-awaited medal, Daley knew he had to protect it. After learning how to knit and crochet last year, Daley started an Instagram account that is devoted to his handmade pieces. Overnight, he made a knit holder for his gold medal so it won't get scratched, with the Union Jack on one side and the Japanese flag on the other. Daley wrote in the caption that mastering knitting and crocheting helped him stay focused during quarantine and training for the Olympics, and he's grateful for his supporters who enjoy his diving and crafts.