The week's good news: Sept. 29, 2022
Stranger and elderly veteran become 'best friends for the day' during Disneyland trip
It was an adventure these two new friends won't ever forget. Isaiah Garza recently posted on his TikTok a video showing him approaching an elderly man in a park and asking him if he'd like to spend the day at the happiest place on Earth: Disneyland. "You'd really take me?" the man, a 100-year-old veteran, responded. "This is great!" Their meeting had been pre-arranged between Garza and the man's caregiver, but was a total surprise for the centenarian. Once they arrived at Disneyland, they went for a spin on the Mad Tea Party before riding It's a Small World and singing the song together "like 50 times," Garza told Fox 11. "It was so cute." In the TikTok video, Garza is shown dancing with the man near Sleeping Beauty Castle and giving him a pair of Mickey Mouse ears, captioning it, "[We] became best friends for the day." This was "one of the best days of my life," the man said, adding, "I feel like I might be dreaming or something. I thought my life was over. I will remember this day for a long time." Garza was homeless for several years, and he often thought about his future and doing random acts of kindness. "I told myself I was going to use this energy and harness it for good someday," he said.
Parents ask beloved NICU nurse to be their son's godmother
When Austyn Evans was finally able to bring her baby Conrad home from the hospital after six months in the neonatal intensive care unit, she was thrilled, but there was one thing she was going to miss: her son's nurse, Carly Miller. Conrad was born early with a kidney blockage and breathing difficulties, and was immediately whisked away to the NICU at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. For the first 37 days of his life, Evans and her husband, Branden Williams, were unable to hold him. They relied on updates from Miller, who was "the only one who really knew Conrad," Evans told Today Parents. She remained his primary nurse even when he was put on a type of dialysis she was not experienced in, and Conrad grew to recognize her voice, responding as soon as she entered the room. "It makes your heart swell," Miller said. After six months in the NICU, Conrad was released, but since her family formed such a tight bond with Miller, thinking about "having to never see Carly again was heart-wrenching," Evans said. She decided to ask Miller to be Conrad's godmother, presenting her with flowers and a note. Immediately, Miller said yes and started to cry. "It is hands down the coolest thing that I've had happen," she told Today Parents.
14-year-old Eagle Scout earns all 139 merit badges
With each merit badge he earned, from moviemaking to golfing, Ben Hayes grew more and more confident, inspiring his fellow scouts and troop leaders. Hayes, 14, is an Eagle Scout from Whitehall, Michigan. This summer, he reached his goal of earning all 139 merit badges — something less than 1 percent of scouts do. Hayes has autism, and when he was being bullied in elementary school, he joined Boy Scouts to make friends and learn new skills. He excelled, and even during the early days of the pandemic connected with other scouts through Zoom to earn badges; his partner for the home repair merit badge lived in Japan, so because of the time difference, Hayes was often up at 3 a.m. to get to work. Hayes' mom, Rebecca Shannon, said her son was once nervous to talk to other people, but his achievements — and public speaking merit badge — have made him more self-assured. "The lesson I learned, not everything is easy, but if you work hard you will get to your goal," Hayes told People. "To be accepted by peers who don't judge you has a whole new meaning."
California teen uses new crochet skills to create a very special dress
It's been two years since Noemi Mendez taught herself how to crochet, and the 15-year-old put her skills to the test when she decided to make her own quinceañera dress. A quinceañera is a Hispanic rite of passage celebrated on a girl's 15th birthday, and Mendez's mother, Daisy Hernandez, told ABC 7 Los Angeles it's a "beautiful tradition in our culture, so I was really excited when she decided she wanted to have a quinceañera." Mendez, a resident of Cherry Valley, California, was worried that her vision for the dress might not come true, but Hernandez said she shared some supportive words, telling her daughter, "If you think you can, I believe you can, and if for some reason it doesn't work out, we'll just buy one. I am very proud of her for accomplishing that." It took about four months to finish crocheting the dress, which is blue with magenta piping and butterflies and flowers on the skirt. On Instagram, Mendez posted updates on how the dress was going, and when she finally got to wear it to her quinceañera on Saturday, everyone oohed and aahed. "It's special to me," she said, adding that she hopes the dress will be passed down one day in her family.
NASA's Webb Telescope captures clearest image of Neptune's rings in 30 years
NASA's James Webb Telescope has captured the clearest image of the rings around Neptune in over three decades, the space agency announced last week. The photo also details the planet and its 14 known moons. Neptune typically appears blue in images like those taken by the Hubble Space Telescope because of the methane in the atmosphere, but this new photo captured with Webb's Near-Infrared Camera — which "images objects in the near-infrared range from 0.6 to 5 microns," NASA writes — depicts the planet as whiter in color. In July, NASA released the telescope's first images depicting the birth of stars, as well as a never-before-seen compact of galaxies, and earlier this month, the telescope captured a cosmic tarantula, showing thousands of young stars that had yet to be seen. "It has been three decades since we last saw these faint, dusty rings," Heidi Hammel, a Neptune system expert and interdisciplinary scientist for the Webb project, said. "This is the first time we've seen them in the infrared."