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1. Long-lost brothers find each other, thanks to a snowstorm and local news report

Had Edward Waites not traveled to Lake Tahoe in December during a massive snowstorm, he would never have been interviewed by KCRA Channel 3 — a 4-second appearance that was just enough time for his long-lost brother, Randy Waites, to spot him. Randy, 55, of Lodi, California, wondered if there was a Waites family connection. His daughter did a quick internet search, and found that in fact, Edward and Randy shared a father, Donald Waites. "I had to pick my jaw up off the floor," Randy told The Washington Post. Shortly after Randy's birth, Donald left his family, and Randy never saw him again. Edward, 54, was stunned when Randy's family contacted him in January, and the brothers finally met in person earlier this month. Donald died in 2009, and Edward told Randy he'd like to apologize on behalf of their father. As Randy explained to the Post, he doesn't "blame anyone — I'm beyond that now. I've waited my whole life to know someone like Ed. I just want to be the best brother I can be. And I know he wants to do the same for me."

The Washington Post

2. 60 years later, Alaska man gets the high school diploma he always deserved

As a student at Anchorage High School in 1961, Billy Ray Macon Sr. wasn't the typical senior. Macon was married with a baby and working nights at the Elmendorf Air Force Base. Because they didn't have a car, Macon walked an hour to and from school, and barely had time to start his homework before having to walk to work. For the sake of his family and their future, "the only thing on my mind was to get a diploma," Macon told Alaska's News Source. When he received his diploma, it had a red stamp that read, "This student met minimum state requirements." It diminished his accomplishment, and Macon said while he "didn't let that stop me," he kept the diploma in a bag. He went on to own a successful contracting business, but his granddaughter Tafena Timpson knew the diploma still bothered him. For Macon's 80th birthday on Jan. 28, Timpson arranged with Sven Gustafson, the principal of Macon's old school, to get him a clean new diploma. Gustafson surprised everyone by putting together an entire graduation ceremony for Macon, complete with choir and cheerleading performances. This was, Macon said, "unbelievable."

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Alaska's New Source

3. Dad gets tattoo to match daughter's scar from heart surgery

After his daughter started asking questions about the scar on her chest from open-heart surgery, Matt Backe found a way to show her that she wasn't alone. Everly "Evie" Backe, 4, was born with a rare congenital heart defect, and before her first birthday, underwent three open-heart surgeries. Her parents refer to the scar on her chest as a zipper, because it will be opened and closed again during future heart surgeries. Matt told Good Morning America that when Evie began questioning him about her scar, "My thought was if I could get something that was a replica of it, we could be zipper buddies," and she wouldn't feel self-conscious. In January, the Illinois resident showed a tattoo artist a photo of Evie, and had the scar recreated on his chest. Evie is a fan of her dad's tattoo, telling GMA, "He wanted to be special like me."

Good Morning America

4. San Francisco man's pancake party brought dozens of neighbors together

When his wife told him he was "getting weird" and needed to find new friends, a San Francisco man came up with a surefire way to meet people: by offering them pancakes. Curtis Kimball set a date for his pancake party, Jan. 22, and posted flyers about the event. On Twitter, he shared that during the pandemic, many of his friends left San Francisco, and he wanted to "meet some new people, make some new connections." He promised lots of different pancake options and encouraged people to bring their kids and dogs. His messaging worked, and about 75 people showed up to eat pancakes, arriving "with a sense of wonder and hope and joy," Kimball told Today Food. He was amazed by the "mix of generations and backgrounds, which you don't often see in San Francisco," and said his dream now "is that in a month or two thousands of people all across the country are hosting Saturday morning pancake parties for their friends and neighbors."

Today Food

5. Strangers from around the world helped send 86-year-old die-hard Bengals fan to the Super Bowl

Jim Lipscomb joined his beloved Cincinnati Bengals at the Super Bowl, thanks to the kindness of strangers. The 86-year-old was at the first-ever Bengals game in 1968, and immediately "fell for them," he told CBS News. When the team won last month's playoffs against the Chiefs and earned their ticket to Super Bowl LVI, Lipscomb's granddaughter, Lizzie Eschenbrenner, watched as he started crying tears of joy. She shared his reaction on social media, and the video soon went viral. Eschenbrenner started thinking about how much it would mean for her grandfather to watch the game in person, and launched a fundraiser to see if she could raise enough money to get him to L.A. She did, raising $42,000, and the generosity shown by strangers made Lipscomb tear up yet again. "The number of people that have donated, from different countries, it's just mind-boggling to me," he said.

CBS News

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