It wasn’t all bad
At the end of the school year in 1997, Judith Toensing wrote in one of her sixth-grade students’ report cards, “Keep up the good work! Invite me to your Harvard graduation!” Twenty-one years later, the student did just that. Christin Gilmer, 33, kept and treasured the note from Toensing, whose powerful lessons encouraged her to study public health. So when Gilmer graduated from Harvard as a doctor of public health last week, she made sure Toensing was there to share the big day with her. “She lit a fire in me,” says Gilmer.
Austin Perine is only 3 feet tall, but he’s a superhero to many homeless people in Birmingham, Ala. Ever since the 4-year-old learned that many residents of his hometown live without adequate food or shelter, he’s made it his mission to feed the hungry. Every week, Austin dons a red satin cape to hand out chicken sandwiches and cold drinks to the needy at a local homeless shelter. He bought the food with his allowance at first, but when a fast food chain heard of Austin’s efforts, it gave him a $1,000 monthly allowance for a year to supersize the project. His superhero motto? “Show love,” says Austin.
A New York City woman in labor who wanted to be married before giving birth had her wish granted by another laboring mom-to-be just a few hospital rooms down the hall. Brianna and Casey Walko had planned a City Hall wedding for May 17, but then Brianna’s water broke two weeks early, and the hospital chaplain was nowhere to be found. Hearing the story, Sushma Dwivedi Jindal told staff that she’d been ordained as an officiant years before and offered to help—even though she’d just received an epidural. When the couple entered Jindal’s delivery room, she began the ceremony, “Brianna, Casey, welcome to the most unexpected wedding ever.”