It wasn't all bad...

The week's good news: July 2, 2020

Catherine Garcia
A school bus.
JerryB7/iStock

1.

Bus driver graduates from college after students inspire him to go back to school

A history buff, school bus driver Clayton Ward would often find himself chatting with kids about their classes, sometimes sharing lessons he learned in high school. The students enjoyed their discussions, and several told Ward they wanted him to be their teacher. After graduating from high school in Tennessee, he took some college classes, but then moved to Framingham, Massachusetts, to become a bus driver. Just having that bit of encouragement from students "stuck with me and gave me the motivation to complete a goal I had started years ago," Ward said. In May 2019, Ward — still working full-time as a bus driver — began taking classes at MassBay Community College, and one year later, he earned his associate's degree in liberal arts, graduating with a 4.0 GPA. This fall, Ward will attend Framingham State University to earn his bachelor's degree in history with a minor in secondary education. [People]

2.

Nurse finally gets to thank the firefighter who saved her life 37 years ago

Deirdre Taylor can't really recall the day Eugene Pugliese rescued her from a burning building, but he remembers everything. In December 1983, Pugliese, then a firefighter in Manhattan, found 4-year-old Deirdre unconscious in her apartment. He revived the girl by giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and although he "didn't see her ever again after that, I always wondered about her," Pugliese told CNN. Today, Taylor is a 40-year-old nurse living in Virginia. She also wondered what happened to Pugliese, and when Taylor went to New York City to help treat coronavirus patients, she asked a firefighter she met if he knew Eugene Pugliese. He didn't, but a friend did, and that man shared Pugliese's phone number with Taylor. Pugliese told CNN he was thrilled to hear from her, and to learn that she "turned out to be a remarkable woman with a magnificent life." When it's safe, they plan on attending a Yankees game together. [CNN]

3.

Street artist turns potholes into masterpieces

Jim Bachor has proven that anything can be turned into art — even potholes. Since 2013, Bachor has filled almost 90 potholes in Chicago, then topped them off with mosaic art. Using glass and marble, he has crafted mosaics depicting everything from roses to ice cream sandwiches, but his focus now is on items that are more topical — since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, he has made mosaics showing toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Bachor told CBS Sunday Morning that the mosaics can be considered "a souvenir of these times to look back on," and he is "trying to pull out the positive out of a negative." He knows his mosaics won't last forever, but Bachor still keeps going. "You know, when you love what you do and a lot of people like what you do," he said, "how could you not continue to do that as long as possible as an artist?" [CBS Sunday Morning]

4.

Oklahoma pediatrician adopts patients after forming 'an instant bond'

Dr. Arveitta Edge will never forget the day she met her son, D.J. Edge is a pediatrician in Noble, Oklahoma, and two years ago, D.J.'s foster parents brought him into her office for a checkup. "I thought, 'Oh my gosh, he's such a sweet-natured child,'" Edge told Good Morning America. "There was an instant bond, an instant click." Later, she met his biological sister, Briana, who is "incredibly smart and has a wicked sense of humor." Edge shared with the family that she hoped to one day adopt a child, and when they called last year to see if she was interested in fostering D.J. and Briana, she jumped at the chance. In May — with their loved ones and former foster parents watching — Edge formally adopted D.J., 10, and Briana, 7, during a video conference. Their new family traditions include watching a movie together on Fridays and playing games on Saturday nights. [Good Morning America]

5.

Washington woman makes 1,200 pans of her famous lasagna to help neighbors in need

Michelle Brenner grew up eating her grandmother's authentic lasagna, and wanted to share the joy with others. The Gig Harbor, Washington, resident went on a community Facebook page and offered to "gladly prepare" her lasagna for anyone who wanted it. Brenner had been furloughed from her job, and thought this would be a nice, small project to take on. She used her $1,200 stimulus check to buy ingredients, and at first, fielded requests from neighbors and friends. Soon, strangers began asking for lasagna, and Brenner found herself making pan after pan for single parents, first responders, and people in need. Since starting three months ago, she has made at least 1,200 pans of lasagna, working eight hours a day, seven days a week. "The world as we know it is falling apart, but my two little hands are capable of making a difference," she told The Washington Post. "I can't change the world, but I can make lasagna." [The Washington Post]