The week's good news: August 4, 2022
It wasn't all bad!
Man reunites with woman he helped deliver on a San Francisco sidewalk 34 years ago
Patrick Combs always hoped that one day, he'd get to meet the baby girl he helped deliver on a San Francisco sidewalk. This year, that day finally came, when he was reunited with Searcy Hughes, now 34. On June 29, 1988, Combs was walking to work when he came across a woman on a street corner giving birth. He got there at the right time, as the baby landed in his outstretched hands. Combs shared his story with The San Francisco Chronicle, and it made the front page. Hughes, meanwhile, was later adopted, and raised in Virginia. "I vaguely knew that the story of my birth was sort of a big deal," she told The Chronicle. "So I asked a friend to type the keywords 'Crystal,' 'baby,' and 'born on the street' into the Ancestry.com website." After her friend found The Chronicle's article, Hughes contacted Combs on Facebook (much to his surprise). The pair recently met in San Francisco, where Combs took Hughes to the spot where she was born and explained the whole event in detail. Being able to connect with Hughes was "like an answered prayer," Combs told The Chronicle. Learning about her first day "definitely hit me super hard, but it's not a sad feeling," Hughes said. "It's a feeling that so much awesome humanity happened right here on the sidewalk."
This mother-daughter pilot duo made history in the sky
Capt. Holly Petitt had a very special announcement on a recent flight from Denver to St. Louis: her daughter, First Officer Keely Petitt, was her co-pilot. The Petitts are the first mother-daughter pilot team in the history of Southwest Airlines. "I just keep using the word 'surreal,'" Holly told Good Morning America. "You have this little baby, you're holding her in your arms, and in a blink of an eye, there she is sitting on the flight deck next to you. It's been surreal and a dream come true." Holly has spent the last 18 years with Southwest, while Keely, 25, was hired in May. As long as she can remember, "I knew I wanted to fly with my mom and it was just, like my mom said, so surreal and so incredible," Keely told GMA. The pair's inaugural flight was "incredible," she said, and they are looking forward to their next adventure. "It was just so awesome and so much fun," Keely said. "So I don't care where we go or when we do it, but anytime we would get to fly together again would just be spectacular."
Detroit man's Hollywood dream is coming true
Robert McTyre Jr. had a mission when he left Detroit for Los Angeles in 2009: make it in Hollywood as a director. Now, after a few hiccups, McTyre is moving up in the industry, having worked as a set lighting technician on Jordan Peele's new movie Nope, and on television shows Westworld, The Flight Attendant, and Mayans M.C. While in Michigan, he earned a degree in media arts and interdisciplinary film studies, but started working at Los Angeles International Airport when he wasn't able to find any industry jobs. He soon lost that gig and began sleeping in his car, coming very close to going back to Detroit. "It got really real," McTyre told the Detroit Metro Times. But then, things started turning around — he met his current fiancée, and got a job as a security guard at Warner Brothers. He went back to school to learn set lighting, and landed a Universal traineeship, which brought him to the Nope set. Today, he's part of the crew working on a film directed by actor Chris Pine. McTyre told the Metro Times he's learning the skills necessary to reach his final goal of making his own films. "There's a lot of things you have to know, so I can go from lighting to director of photography, which then gives me the tools to make the jump to director," he said.
Oklahoma City letter carrier celebrates 70 years of delivering mail
Johnnie Bell could have retired many years ago, but there's a reason why, at 93, he's still working as a mail carrier. "This is something I do because I enjoy doing it," he recently told Oklahoma's KOCO News. And on Friday, Bell celebrated his 70th year with the U.S. Postal Service, having worked in Oklahoma City the entire time. He started at 23, and is the longest-tenured USPS employee in the country. "He just loves everyone, and he has a way of being magic and just drawing everyone together to where they just all felt like family," co-worker Stephanie Fiordelisi told KOCO News. A lot has changed since Bell's first day, starting with his pay — back then, he earned $1.81 an hour. To celebrate his 70 years of service, Bell's coworkers got him a cake, and after the get-together, he got back to sorting the mail. "He is truly a public servant," coworker Julie Gosdin said.
These volunteers are keeping the Appalachian Trail clean and accessible
Equipped with a variety of tools and a healthy respect for nature, an army of volunteers from Georgia to Maine work hard to keep the Appalachian Trail clean. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has volunteers in 14 states that spend hundreds of thousands of hours each year maintaining the trails. Their work involves using rakes to clear debris and digging channels to guide water so it doesn't pool in one place. The trail allows people to safely see nature up close, and "we want to make sure that it can be enjoyed by those of us living now and also future generations," Wayne Limberg of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club told The Christian Science Monitor. Increased trail usage during the pandemic led to an increase in litter and graffiti, and volunteers are busier than ever — but it's worth it. "I've gone out in all seasons, all kinds of weather, and every single time I've never regretted it because you always see something beautiful," volunteer Russell Riggs told the Monitor. "I think love is probably not too strong of a word."