It wasn’t all bad
When Ethan Crispo walked into a Waffle House in Birmingham, Ala., for a midnight snack, he was sure he’d go home with an empty stomach. There were 30 customers in the restaurant and—because of a scheduling mishap—only one harried employee, Ben, who was cooking the food and cleaning up. Then, a customer asked Ben for an apron, stepped behind the counter, and started washing dishes. Two other diners began busing tables, and the restaurant was running smoothly again. “Humanity isn’t just good,” said Crispo. “It’s great.”
Jonathan Pinkard has a new heart and a new family, all thanks to nurse Lori Wood. The autistic 27-year-old was living in a men’s shelter and in need of a heart transplant when he arrived at Georgia’s Piedmont Newnan Hospital late last year. But because Pinkard had no one to care for him post-surgery, he couldn’t join the transplant waiting list. After caring for Pinkard for two days, Wood made her patient a life-changing offer: If he wanted, she would become his legal guardian. Pinkard moved in with Wood in January and underwent heart surgery in August; he hopes to be well enough to resume his job as an office clerk soon. “All I can say is, ‘Thank you, Mama Lori,’” said Pinkard.
Police Sgt. Mike Nowacki had a plan: He’d run Chicago’s Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K in 50 pounds of SWAT gear and then propose to his girlfriend, Officer Erin Gubala, at the finish line. The race went well, but as he approached the final stretch, Nowacki heard people screaming for someone to help an unconscious woman. Nowacki rushed over and administered CPR with a firefighter until an ambulance arrived; doctors said their actions saved the woman’s life. Eventually, Nowacki powered on to the finish line, told Gubala what had happened, and popped the question. “She had to say yes after that,” said Nowacki—and she did. ■