Good News Friday: The clock-building boy from Texas is humiliated, then honored. A Montreal hockey player again shows his huge heart. And a Syrian refugee’s photo inspires massive kindness


A couple of programming notes, loyal readers: First, thanks to a generous almost last-minute invitation, my wife and I found ourselves at a Madonna concert at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night. 1988 me would’ve been so damn excited. 2015 me was pretty excited. It was … an experience. Much more on the show in a blog post next week.

Secondly, I really want to say so much about the second Republican debate, but sadly there was nothing in that three-hour verbal orgasm of bullshit that qualifies as “good news,” except maybe that it’s good news none of those buffoons are President right now. Donald Trump continues to be a frightening joke, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee desperately tried to show who had the biggest cojones on foreign affairs, and Carly Fiorina scored points by standing up to the bully Trump (it’s kind of scary when Chris Christie is only, like, the fourth-biggest bully on a stage).

Needless to say, I’ll have much more to say on these bumbling fools in the future.

OK, on with the show…

My cup runneth over with thoughts and Good News stories today, and I love when that happens. I sometimes forget to publicize my own work on this here blog, so I wanted to be sure and point you to a recent story on my weekly Friends of Jaclyn Experience page. It’s about Cody Kessler, the USC football quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate, who has struck up a beautiful friendship with 9-year-old Joey Rodriguez, a pediatric brain cancer patient. Please check it out here, if only for the awesome photo of Joey looking up at Cody toward the bottom of the page. Priceless expression.

OK, first up this week, I’m sure you’ve all heard the disgraceful story of how 9th grader Ahmed Mohammed in Irving, Texas was treated when the engineering whiz brought in a homemade clock to show his teacher.

He was arrested, detained, and suspended from school because another educator thought the clock was a bomb. Oh, did we mention Ahmed was Muslim? Funny how this kind of persecution only happens to black or brown people in America.

Anyway, of course what happened to him was awful, but was so heartening and wonderful was seeing the outpouring of support for this boy. The White House invited him to visit. MIT offered him a tour of its campus, as has Harvard.

Millions in America have taken to social media to support him, and the police department in Irving have been shamed.

How do you turn a negative into a positive? Just like this. And Ahmed’s quote, about how he thought no one would care about him because he was a Muslim boy, just about breaks your heart.

But clearly, millions of people care. And he’s getting at least somewhat of a happy ending to this story.

**Next up, I’ve written before about the huge kindnesses shown by Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban. On the ice, I’m not much of a fan of the guy (he’s kind of known as a big injury faker), but off the ice he does so many wonderful things for kids in the Montreal community.

He once again showed he’s a terrific, compassionate man this week by donating a whopping $10 million to a children’s hospital.

I so love his quote about this: “I try to think: Are you a hockey player, or someone who plays hockey? I just play hockey. Because one day I won’t be a hockey player anymore, I’ll just be someone who played hockey. So what do I want people to remember me for … Every time you walk into this hospital, you’ll know what I stand for.”

He’s 26 years old. What compassion and grace. Hockey’s lucky to have a representative like him.


**And finally today, the story of a Syrian refugee named Abdul Haleem al-Kader. A photo of him selling pens in Lebanon (above), while holding his child, went viral all around the world.
He was tracked down, identified, and soon a social media campaign sprung up to help this single father, desperately trying to survive and raise his daughter after fleeing the awfulness in Syria.

The campaign raised $170,000 for al-Kader, a staggering sum. He now wants to help other Syrian refugees with his money.

It’s a great story; read more of al-Kader’s story here.

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