Tag Archives: Chuck Culpepper

Good News Friday: A debt collector makes people happy. A beautifully-written tale about a Waffle House’s last day. And a special Division III runner brings joy

Hope everyone had a good Halloween. We got a good bit of trick-or-treating action at our new apartment, although I have to say I didn’t see a lot of interesting or unique costumes this year. One kid was dressed as a Tootsie Roll, which I enjoyed.

If you haven’t visited it yet, the fairly new site upworthy.com is where some of my best material for Good News Friday is coming from these days; they post inspirational stories, happy videos, and basically the best stuff on the Web that tugs at your emotions.

This one is typical of their stellar efforts, though I first saw it on the awesome “CBS Sunday Morning” TV show. It’s about a debt collector named Bill Bartmann who started a very different kind of business, a woman in major financial trouble, and what can happen when compassion gets shown.


**Next up, a fabulous story from the terrific sportswriter Chuck Culpepper, one of those stories you normally never hear about. A senior at small Elms College named John Southworth has Down’s Syndrome, and last week he ran the longest race of his life at a Division III cross-country meet, an 8K.

The NCAA allowed a volunteer coach to run alongside Southworth (see? The NCAA has a heart sometimes!), and the way his teammates embrace and adore Southworth, well, it’s just very sweet.

Said John’s father: “It all goes back to the emotions you have when you have a child born with Down’s Syndrome. First, it dashes all your normal hopes and dreams for the kid. You think, ‘I guess I won’t have the fun of seeing him play little-league sports and high school sports.’ So it’s one of life’s ironic surprises that he was on a high school team and now is here on a college team.”

Added freshman teammate Joey Sirois: “He’s probably the only kid I’ve ever seen finish a race with a big smile on his face.”

It’s a terrific story told well by Culpepper. To the people in this story, this was the biggest story of the year.


**Finally today, another story I never would’ve seen if not for Twitter. SI’s Richard Deitsch pointed me and his followers to this fantastic story written by an Indiana University journalism student named Jessica Contrera, and it’s about the final day of life for a Waffle House restaurant in Bloomington.

Just about every newspaper reporter has written one of these stories in their life; I did one in college at U. of Delaware, when Scott’s Ice Cream on Main Street decided to close. They’re fun and a little sad and really challenging, because you want to capture everything you can all at once.

Contrera does an amazing job of painting the scene and giving us vivid detail. Seriously, this is one of the best stories I’ve read this year. Take a few minutes and dive into the lives of these customers, and of 46 years of memories inside one little restaurant.


Good News Friday: A Middle East story of brave pioneers. Some college football players show their true honesty. And Jon Stewart is back!


And a Happy Friday to all! I’m happy because this coming weekend is always one of my favorites of the year: The first week of the NFL season, and the U.S. Open semifinals and finals. (For the record, I predict the Jets to go 3-13, and Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic to win the Open.)

But here are three more things to be happy about, if tennis and football aren’t your thing:

First up, a fantastic human-interest story with a positive spin from the Middle East, where we get positive news about as often as Rush Limbaugh makes sense. But Chuck Culpepper of SportsonEarth.com has found a wonderful tale, of the pioneering women’s soccer team from Jordan, trying to become the first Arab team to make the Women’s World Cup.

They are bravely breaking barriers for women, for women in sport, and bringing some hope and joy to girls around the region, making them believe (we hope) that anything is possible.

Culpepper has written a beautiful tale, that’s well worth reading as a reminder that even in the Middle East, progress is possible.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

**Next up, Jon Stewart is back on “The Daily Show,” after a three-month break, and all seems right with the world again.
This clip from this week isn’t the funniest one ever, but it’s just a small slice of what we miss by not having him on TV. I love me some Jon Stewart.


**And finally, I love this story.

Jelani Bruce, Anthony Biondi, Kell’E Gallimore and Thomas James are all football players at tiny William Paterson University in New Jersey. On August 25, the quartet walked into a 5 and 10 store during a break between practices.

The store was closed, but the lock malfunctioned and the lights were on, making it appear open. They picked out batteries for a game remote and an auxiliary cord costing a total of $5 and searched the store calling out for a clerk.
They couldn’t find a clerk, so they left the money that the items cost (about $5) on the counter, waving the bills at the security camera (that’s my favorite part!) to show how much they were leaving. They also left $.80 in tax, and walked next door to a Rite-Aid to tell someone there what they had done, and that the store was unlocked.
The owner of Buddy’s Small Lots was moved by the gesture, and had the security camera footage aired on TV, when a sister of one of the players identified the men.
Such a simple, honest act, but a beautiful and unexpected one, don’t you think?
They were already on the “Today” show and may soon be on “Ellen.”
We hear so many negative stories about the Johnny Manziels of the college sports world. Please, oh please, let these William Paterson kids get 1/10th of that attention this season.