The week's good news: January 7, 2021
To celebrate the new year, loyal customer leaves juice bar workers a $2,021 tip
The year 2021 got off to a good start for the workers at Miami Squeeze. On New Year's Day, a regular customer came into the North Miami Beach juice bar and health food restaurant and placed a $71.84 breakfast order. When she signed her receipt, she left a $2,021 tip plus a note: "Happy New Year!!! Always love coming here." Kelly Amar, whose parents have owned Miami Squeeze for 35 years, told The Miami Herald this is "the biggest tip we've ever gotten by far. This blows out anything we've ever gotten." The generous customer requested that the tip be split among everyone who works at Miami Squeeze, which resulted in each employee receiving almost $100. "It was a really special moment," Amar said.
10-year-old who loves nail polish creates her own line of products for kids
Khiley Braxton celebrated her 10th birthday by launching her own business. The Long Beach, California, resident and her family were going to take a trip in June for her milestone birthday, but the getaway was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Khiley's mom, Khrystle Braxton, told ABC7 Los Angeles that after talking with her daughter, she decided to use the vacation money to help Khiley realize her dream of starting a nail polish company. Khiley is now the owner and CEO of Sissy B. Nails. The company offers 18 different nail polish colors, with Khiley naming each one herself. All of the kid-friendly polishes are water-based, as well as scent-free and toxin-free. The nail polishes are sold online, plus at a salon in Long Beach. Khiley told ABC7 she's a new entrepreneur, but has already learned a very valuable lesson about business: "If you never give up and you don't shut down, you can be very successful."
Grad school student has raised $30,000 for charities thanks to his homemade pizza
Ben Berman found a way to give back while sharpening his skills in the kitchen. The University of Pennsylvania grad student started making homemade pizza at the beginning of the pandemic to cheer up his friends. Berman bought thick string and set up a pulley system, placing slices of his pizza into paper bags and sending them down from his second-floor apartment to his friends on the street. Wanting to do more, Berman launched Good Pizza PHL, and asked his pals to Venmo donations in exchange for pizza. He pays for the ingredients out of his own pocket, and 100 percent of donations go to three charities that help fight food insecurity and homelessness. He now gets hundreds of requests a week, so Berman chooses 20 people at random to pick up pizza on Sunday nights. "We hit $30,000 before the holidays," he told Today Food. "My new goal is to keep adding on zeroes to that number."
Well-preserved woolly rhino unearthed in Siberia
An Ice Age-era woolly rhino discovered in Siberia is one of the most well-preserved animals ever discovered in the region, scientists say. The rhino was found on the banks of the Tirekhtyakh River in August. Scientists said many of the rhino's internal organs and soft tissues are still intact, and its horn — a rare find — was also next to the carcass. It was discovered in melting permafrost, and when the ice roads in the area become passable later this month, the rhino will be driven to a laboratory for radiocarbon studies. Russian media reports that Valery Plotnikov, a paleontologist with the Russian Academy of Sciences, said because part of the rhino's intestines are intact, researchers will be able to "reconstruct the paleoenvironment of that period." Plotnikov estimates the rhino was about 3 or 4 years old when it died. It's possible the rhino drowned, Plotnikov said, with the death occurring anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 years ago.
Virginia neighbors find a way to show UPS driver how much he is appreciated
For one neighborhood in Virginia, UPS driver Anthony Gaskin has been delivering more than packages — he's also been bringing joy. Patty Friedman moved to the Hallsey neighborhood in Midlothian during the pandemic, and told WTVR that Gaskin instantly made her feel welcome, always smiling and waving as he dropped off packages. "It was terribly lonely and he was always the highlight of my day," she said. Gaskin has delivered thousands of packages to the neighborhood during the pandemic, including essentials for high-risk families and holiday gifts. To show their appreciation, Friedman and a neighbor planned a surprise, socially distanced celebration for Gaskin in December. Hundreds of residents got into their cars and lined the streets along Gaskin's route, honking their horns, ringing bells, and holding up signs as he slowly drove by. Gaskin's supervisors were also there to present him with a gift. Friedman told WTVR that Gaskin was shocked and moved to tears by the outpouring of support.