The week's good news: November 30, 2017
It wasn't all bad!
Woman becomes first with Down syndrome to compete in Miss Minnesota USA Pageant
Mikayla Holmgren made history on Sunday when she became the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA Pageant. The 22-year-old Bethel University student took home two major prizes: The Spirit of Miss USA Award and the Director's Award. Holmgren began dancing at age 6, and in 2015 she was named Minnesota Junior Miss Amazing. On Facebook, Holmgren said her goal is to one day teach art to children and be a model. "I want to live independently and continue to be an advocate for inclusion," she added. "I want to be a light shining for acceptance."
New Jersey man pays off $10,000 worth of holiday layaway items for others
His name is Charlie, but to the people whose layaway orders he paid for, he's Santa. A man who identified himself as Charlie K. went to the Toys "R" Us in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, to shop with his son, and while he was there, paid for 62 layaway orders, totaling $10,780. He also purchased $2,000 worth of items to donate to Toys for Tots. "I'm trying to bring some happiness to people, to the community that brought happiness to me and my family," he told CBS Philadelphia. Charlie said this was the first time he'd ever done something like this. His generosity stunned customers like Stephanie Dawson, a grandmother who had seven toys worth $200 on layaway. "I want to say thank you very much and I appreciate it and thank God for you," she said.
Father organizes annual birthday surprise for daughter to receive after he's gone
The last five birthdays have been bittersweet for Bailey Sellers — her father died just one month before she turned 17, but he's still been a major part of every celebration since then. Before Mike Sellers died of pancreatic cancer in 2013, he made arrangements with a flower shop to send his daughter flowers and a card on her birthday, ending when she turned 21. Bailey, who is studying psychology at East Tennessee State University, said the final card was filled with words of encouragement and comfort, with her father writing, "I am in a better place. You are and will always be the most precious jewel I was given." "When I opened this card, I especially felt him with me," Bailey told WATE.
Woman raises $390,000 for homeless man who saved her
While driving to Philadelphia in October, Kate McClure ran out of gas. The 27-year-old was stranded and alone on the side of I-95 when a homeless man named Johnny Bobbit Jr., 34, approached her. He told her to get back in the car and lock the doors while he went to get help, and returned with a can of gas he bought with his last $20. McClure got to her destination safely but couldn't stop thinking about Bobbit, so she launched a GoFundMe campaign with a $10,000 goal to get him set up with an apartment, a reliable car, and a few months worth of expenses. Her campaign went viral, and has raised more than $390,000 for Bobbit. It's enough money for him to get a house, truck, and retirement fund, and some of it will be donated back to the organizations that have helped Bobbit since he became homeless a year ago.
After Antiques Roadshow epiphany, man living on disability sells old family blanket for $1.5 million
An old family blanket changed Loren Krytzer's life. After losing his leg in a near-fatal accident, the 53-year-old former carpenter from California was jobless, and had been living off disability checks. But then he saw a Navajo blanket, nearly identical to the one his grandmother had passed down to him, on an episode of Antiques Roadshow. It was valued at around $500,000. So Krytzer took his blanket, which had been sitting in his closet for years, to an auction house. He'd hoped to make enough money to buy a house, but when the heirloom sold for $1.5 million, he was shocked. The sale "gave me a new lease on life," Krytzer told CNBC. He has since bought two homes and married his longtime girlfriend.