The week's good news: November 23, 2017
It wasn't all bad!
Chance encounter leads to a special friendship between 4-year-old and elderly widower
Friendships can form anywhere — including in front of the dairy section at the grocery store. After his wife died, Dan Peterson, 83, of Augusta, Georgia, couldn't shake his grief. One day last year, during a quick trip to the store, he met a 4-year-old named Norah Wood, who could sense he was down. "I thought he needed a friend because he was sad," she told NPR. Norah ran up to Peterson and said, "Hi, old person. Today's my birfday." Her excitement was contagious. "When you have a little girl bouncing up and down and being so happy to be alive, you sort of change," Peterson said. Norah's mother later found out she had a mutual friend with Peterson. She called to set up a visit, and over the past year, has gone over to his house for weekly get-togethers with Norah.
Texas English teacher adopts her former student
After several years in foster care, Anthony Berry never thought he'd be adopted at age 16 — and he definitely didn't think his new mom would be his former English teacher. Anthony met Bennie Berry last November, and she thought he was kidding when he asked her to adopt him in January. "Then later I found out that it was really an option to adopt him, so we pushed forward," she told ABC News. Anthony entered the foster system at age nine, and had decided he didn't want to be adopted, but that changed when he met Bennie. "Life is like a box of chocolates," he joked. "You never know what you might get." Last week in Beaumont, Texas, the adoption was made official. "I have a son," Bennie said. "I'm more than elated. I have a son for the rest of my life."
Rescue cat now part of the staff at the British Embassy in Amman
The British Embassy in Amman has a new "diplocat," and his name is Lawrence of Abdoun. Named after T.E. Lawrence and adopted last month from a Jordan animal shelter, the cat resides at the embassy in Amman's Abdoun neighborhood. "Apart from his mousing duties, he reaches out to followers on Twitter," Deputy Ambassador Laura Dauban told Reuters. "What's quite interesting is the British public are seeing the U.K. embassy in Jordan in a different light. Through Lawrence's Twitter account, we're trying to show a different side to Jordan, what it is really like, a peaceful, prosperous country that British tourists should come and visit." He isn't the only cat working for the U.K. government — in fact, he reports directly to Palmerston, the chief mouser at London's Foreign Office.
Holocaust survivor, 102, meets nephew he never knew he had
Eliahu Pietruszka spent 70 years thinking every member of his immediate family had died during the Holocaust. Two weeks ago, he learned that not only did his younger brother survive, but he had a son who wanted nothing more than to meet his uncle in person. Pietruszka, 102, fled Poland in 1939. His parents and younger brother Zelig died in a concentration camp, and he thought Zelig's twin, Volf, had died, too. Two weeks ago, Pietruszka's grandson was contacted by a woman working on her family tree, who told him Volf survived World War II. Volf died in 2011, but his son, Alexandre Pietruszka, 66, is alive, and flew to Israel to meet his uncle. "It makes me so happy that at least one remnant remains from my brother, and that is his son," Eliahu told The Associated Press. "After so many years, I have been granted the privilege to meet him."
Surfer walks from New York to Florida to help pets in need
For two months, surfer Conrad Carr gave up the ocean for land, walking more than 1,000 miles from New York to Florida to help animals affected by hurricanes. After his friend dared him to walk 1,000 miles, promising to give him $100 for every mile completed, Carr decided to go for it. His famous friends Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth helped spread the word, and more donations came in for the cause. "The animals don't have a voice," he told USA Today. "You gotta save all those guys struggling out there." His journey lasted from September to November, and he's happy to have brought awareness to the plight of animals struggling due to hurricanes. "You feel a lot better when you go out there and do something good for someone who can't," he said.