The week's good news: March 3, 2022
Boy reunited with teddy bear he lost 1,000 miles from home
When 5-year-old Ezekiel Burnett threw his stuffed bear, Teddy, so high at the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport in November that it landed in the rafters, his parents Jessica and David figured that was the last time their son would ever see his plush friend; they needed to catch their flight home to Dallas and didn't have time to ask for help. In February, Jessica was stunned to see on Facebook that the airport posted a picture of Teddy, saying he was turned into the lost and found on Jan. 4. The Burnetts used a photo to confirm that Teddy belonged to Ezekiel, and instead of sending the bear home in the mail, arrangements were made for Ezekiel and David to fly to Milwaukee to pick Teddy up on Valentine's Day. Ezekiel told The Washington Post he could tell the airport workers "took good care" of Teddy, and he's glad his friend was able to "go to a lot of places in the airport and have fun."
Humpback whales are thriving in Australian waters
Conservation efforts have paid off in Australia, with the country removing humpback whales from its threatened species list. Before whaling operations ceased in Australia in 1963, and international protections were put in place two years later, more than 30,000 humpback whales were killed by whalers in Australia and New Zealand, The Guardian reports. Only about 1,500 humpbacks were in Australian waters at the time, and today, it's estimated there are at least 40,000. Australian Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said that removing humpbacks from the threatened species list is "based on science and sends a clear signal about what can be achieved through coordinated action. It is a message of hope for the welfare of a number of species." There are still domestic and international protections to safeguard humpback whales, Ley added, and Australia will keep working with the International Whaling Commission "to promote whale conservation and maintain the global moratorium on commercial whaling."
Broadway star reunites with stranger who bought him a ticket 15 years ago when he couldn't afford it
While sitting in the audience of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee on Broadway, Claybourne Elder made an impression on another person watching the show. This was 15 years ago, while Elder, who wanted to be an actor, was visiting Manhattan from Utah. After the performance was over, a man walked up and asked if he was from out of town. Elder told CBS News that after he said yes, the man handed him $200 and said: "You looked like you were having more fun than the people in the expensive seats. Go buy yourself a ticket to Sweeney Todd tomorrow. It'll change your life." Elder followed his instructions and purchased a mezzanine seat for Sweeney Todd, starring Patti LuPone. Fast forward to 2022, and Elder has made his Broadway dreams come true, co-starring with LuPone in Company. Elder never forgot the kind stranger, and has been giving away tickets to Company on social media. After sharing on Instagram a picture he took with the man who gave him $200, Elder learned his name: Mark Howell. Howell told CBS News that hearing how his act of kindness changed Elder's life has been "really inspiring and overwhelming."
'Jeopardy!' champion removes wig to 'normalize what cancer recovery looks like'
Christine Whelchel wants to normalize cancer recovery and is doing so in a major way. Whelchel, a piano teacher and church organist from Tennessee, won her fourth game of Jeopardy! on Monday's episode, and did so without the wig she was wearing in previous games. During the player interview segment, Whelchel said she "decided that I didn't need to hide behind a wig anymore, and I wanted to normalize what cancer recovery looks like." She was diagnosed with breast cancer last March, and auditioned to be on Jeopardy! the night before undergoing surgery in May. Whelchel revealed during her first episode that she is "cancer-free as of right now." Jeopardy!'s official Twitter account has praised her as a "strong Jeopardy! player and an even stronger person."
Couple surprises each other by planning proposals for the same day
While planning a recent trip to London, Eva Fitzner and Jessica Di Cosmo didn't realize that "have a double proposal on an ice rink" was part of the itinerary. After three years together, Fitzner thought it was time to pop the question to Di Cosmo, and planned to do it during their vacation. She didn't know that Di Cosmo had the same idea, and also packed an engagement ring in her suitcase. Once they were at the ice rink, Fitzner got down on one knee and proposed, and immediately after Di Cosmo said "yes," the tables turned and Di Cosmo pulled out a ring and proposed to Fitzner. Fitzner told USA Today she thought it was "a joke" at first, because "this is the kind of thing you only see in Christmas movies." She accepted her proposal, to the cheers of their fellow ice skaters.