And a Happy Friday to you all. Thursday was one hell of a day; we had our worst President ever basically decide climate change and the future of our planet isn’t important; saving a few thousand coal mining jobs temporarily is (God, he’s just such an ass-wipe).
We had a fantastic mano-a-mano duel in the National Spelling Bee between a 6th-grade girl named Ananya Vinay and an 8th-grade boy named Rohan Rajeev, that went on and on, neither one blinking, until finally Ananya won it and STILL didn’t crack a smile for like 30 seconds. And we had Game 1 of the NBA Finals dream matchup No.3, Golden State vs. Cleveland, which turned into a Warriors rout (no guilt about missing most of that one to watch the Bee.)
Anyway, after an eventful week with lots of tragedy (the Portland heroes getting killed has gotten way too little play; please read this beautiful Nick Kristof column if you get a chance), I really could use some Good News. Hopefully you could too.
First up today, you might remember a few weeks back I ranted about the disgusting practice of “lunch-shaming” in school districts across America, where students whose parents weren’t up to date with lunch money dues were horribly embarrassed in cafeterias, with school employees throwing their lunch away or performing other awful acts to the kids.
Well, thanks to so much attention recently getting paid to this issue, a Seattle man named Jeffery Lew did something extraordinary: He started a fund-raising campaign that paid off the entire lunch debt of the Seattle school district, around $20,000. There’s already $44,000 in the fund, and the district said in a statement that any leftover money would be used to pay off future debt.
Just from hearing that news coverage it kind of broke my heart as a father,” Lew told ABC News. “I can’t imagine having one of my children coming home from school saying, ‘Hey, I was denied lunch because I owed money.’
After the success of the Seattle campaign, Lew started fundraising efforts to erase the Tacoma and Renton school districts lunch debt as well (Tacoma had a $20,000 debt and $21,000 had been raised as of midnight Thursday; Renton’s debt was $18,000 and $10,000 had been raised so far.
Great job, Jeffery Lew. As a father myself I could not imagine the humiliation these children must feel over being “lunch-shamed.” Glad to hear, at least in your part of the world, no child will have to feel that again for a while.
**Next up today, this was a very cool New York City moment. For those of you who don’t live here, we’re in the middle of a very bad stretch of subway and train delays here, lots of problems even on short trips.
Jerich Alcantara, a nursing student at Hunter College, left two hours early for his graduation ceremony this week, knowing he’d be taking the E train to his school.
But thanks to a malfunction that caused the emergency breaks to deploy, Alcantra and his fellow strap-hangers were stuck on the train for hours, and Alcantra missed his ceremony.
Undeterred, though, he and the folks in his car staged a mock ceremony for Alcantra, including a diploma on the Internet, and the Green Day song “Time of Your Life” as musical accompaniment.
I think it ended up so much better than if I was on time,” Alcantara said. “I would have probably fell asleep if I was at commencement.”
The raw video can be seen here; very cool moment.
**And finally, a few years ago I was blown away and inspired by a man “60 Minutes” had profiled named Louie Zamperini, and recently I got the same warm and amazing feeling watching this story about Ben Ferencz. Who? Ferencz is 97 years old and is the last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials, the famous post-World War II international court event that prosecuted Nazi war criminals.
Ferencz is still amazingly sharp and fit for 97, and he has such an optimistic attitude that I couldn’t help but be inspired by him. I embedded a clip of the show above, but a much clearer version can be found here.
What a tremendous individual.