The week's good news: February 20, 2020

It wasn't all bad!

A beach.
(Image credit: Zephyr18/iStock)

1. Maine woman's long-lost class ring found an ocean away

No one can explain how a class ring lost in Maine 47 years ago was just found in Finland, but it now means even more to owner Debra McKenna. The ring belonged to her high school sweetheart, Shawn. He gave it to her in 1973 when he went away to college, and not long after, McKenna lost it while shopping. She forgot about the ring, but not Shawn — the pair wed in 1977, and remained married until 2017, when Shawn died of cancer. Last month, a man was using his metal detector in a park in Kaarina, Finland, and under about eight inches of dirt, he found a ring with a blue stone. It was inscribed with "Morse High School," "1973," and "S.M." He notified the school's alumni association, and they determined it belonged to Shawn McKenna. When his widow learned that the long-lost ring had been found, "there was a lot of weeping," she told the Bangor Daily News.

Bangor Daily News

2. Florida 10-year-old hopes to spark global movement to keep beaches clean

Sasha Olsen is on a mission to clean up the world's oceans and beaches, and hopes other kids will join her. The 10-year-old from Bal Harbour, Florida, was saddened to see polluted water during a trip to Japan and Vietnam last summer, and became even more discouraged when several South Florida beaches were closed due to bacteria. "I wanted to know why things were this way, but couldn't find an answer," Olsen told the Miami Herald. She joined forces with her cousin Narmina Aliyev to start a nonprofit called Iwantmyoceanback. The group holds beach cleanups and fundraisers, with kids learning how to stop pollution and creating art out of micro plastics found in the water. Iwantmyoceanback is spreading the word online, too, through Olsen's YouTube series Table Talks. She chats with guests about protecting the ocean, and they create a painting together that is signed by the guest and auctioned off as a fundraiser.

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The Miami Herald

3. Cab driver intervenes and saves passenger from falling for a $25,000 scam

When a Northern California cab driver realized that his 92-year-old passenger was about to become the victim of a scam, he devised a plan to save her. Roseville Cab owner Raj Singh picked the woman up from her home two weeks ago, and she directed him to drive her to the bank. The woman told Singh she received a call from someone who said she owed the IRS $25,000, and was on her way to withdraw the money. Immediately, Singh determined she had been targeted by a scam artist, but the woman didn't believe him. Singh suggested the pair stop by the police station in Roseville, where an officer could talk about the scam with her. The woman agreed, and after speaking with an officer, she fully understood that the call was not from the IRS. Singh drove her back home, and the woman's money remains safely in the bank.

Los Angeles Times

4. Entire plane showers new parents and just-adopted daughter with love

It was a flight Dustin and Caren Moore will never forget. The Moores boarded a Southwest Airlines plane in Colorado, headed to California. They were flying home with their newly adopted infant daughter, who was just eight days old. The Moores shared a bit of their story with a flight attendant, and soon the whole plane knew. Another flight attendant announced over the intercom that the Moores, who had been trying to start a family for nine years, were flying home with their new baby. The entire plane "just erupted in cheers and whistles," Dustin told Good Morning America. Flight attendants passed out napkins to passengers so they could write down words of encouragement and advice for the new parents, and people kept coming up to the family to share their congratulations. "We were stunned and overwhelmed," Dustin said. They left the plane with about 60 napkins from well-wishers.

Good Morning America

5. This 98-year-old Girl Scout has been selling cookies every year since 1932

If the Girl Scouts ever decide to create a badge for Dedication, it should have Ronnie Backenstoe's picture on it. Backenstoe, 98, joined the Girl Scouts in 1932 at age 10, and has been involved ever since. The Wernersville, Pennsylvania, resident has been selling cookies for the last 88 years, both as a member and a leader, and is still active with a local troop. The girls recently visited Backenstoe at her retirement community, where they set up shop and sold cookies to residents. Things are different now than they were in 1932, when there were just three types of cookies and each box cost 15 cents. Backenstoe continues to get great joy from selling cookies alongside her fellow troop members, and said being a Girl Scout shaped who she is today. "I think it was just part of living, and that's really what Girl Scouting is — it teaches you how to live," Backenstoe told WFMZ.


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