It’s an easy thing to begin to lose faith in humanity.
On a global level, you see wars and terror.
On a local level, it might be something like a vandal hitting your vehicle or someone displaying a lack of respect in their dealings with others.
Every once in a while I feel compelled to surf the Internet in search of happy items. In the interests of full disclosure, I learned about these stories on gawker.com and then went to the source material from there.
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1. Another kind of police video
We’ve all seen the videos of people getting thumped by police officers. There was a period where you would have had to be living in a cave not to see LAPD officers beating Rodney King.
A tourist from Arizona was in New York when he saw an officer kneeling over a homeless man chatting with him.
In the picture, the man is wearing a pair of pants up to mid-calf and no shoes.
Officer Lawrence DePrimo had met the man earlier on the cold New York night last November. He said later that he was struck by both the man’s politeness and those bare feet.
He walked into a nearby store and purchased the man a pair of boots. The picture shows the man unwrapping them.
The cynics and haters of the world have suggested the whole thing was staged because the tourist was also an officer.
I take the man at his word. I’ve known a lot of police officers over the years -- including one of my closest friends -- and while a couple were clearly dorks, most are good men and women performing an impossible task.
One homeless man in New York now has warmer feet to show for an officer’s compassion.
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2. The job interview
Jhaqueil Reagan, 18, is looking after his younger siblings after his mother died two years ago. He quit school to look after them, earning his high school diploma equivalent.
He was making a 10-mile walk for a job interview through the snow two weeks ago when he ran into a local business owner and asked him how far it was. The owner, Art Bouvier, told him and then suggested he take a bus.
A while later when out on an errand, Bouvier found the young man still walking. He picked him up and heard about his story on the way to the interview. Regan didn’t have money for bus fare until he got the job.
Bouvier offered the young man a job if the interview didn’t go well. It was later accepted.
The city’s transit company also gave him a year’s worth of bus passes, according to Fox 59.
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3. Veteran remembered
The Daily Dot, a British website, found the story about the death of James McConnell.
The 70-year-old former Royal Marine had died at a nursing home without any family or close friends.
Rev. Bob Mason was put in charge of the funeral. When he learned the lonely circumstances of the man’s life, had a friend put a note on a military Facebook page.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, In this day and age it is tragic enough that anyone has to leave this world with no one to mourn their passing, but this man was family and I am sure you will agree deserves a better send off. If you can make it to the graveside for that time to pay your respects to a former brother in arms then please try to be there.”
It got the desired result.
About 200 strangers showed up for the funeral on Feb. 21. A group of motorcycles joined the procession.
“Last Post” was played by buglers.
And a man with no one was put to rest with the attention he deserved.
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4. The ring and the honest man
This story has three lovely components to it so we’ll save it for last.
Sarah Darling of Kansas City stopped to empty her change purse into the cup of a homeless man named Billy Ray Harris. It was a nice gesture.
What she had forgotten was that a rash on her hand had forced her to take off her engagement ring. She had stored it in her change purse.
Realizing later what she had done, she found her way back to Harris. He had picked the ring out of the change and saved it for her. She had her ring back.
She was struck by his honesty so she and her partner started an online fundraiser to reward Harris for his honesty.
CBS affiliate KCTV tracked Harris down and asked him what he thought. The result is telling.
“I like it, but I don’t think I deserve it,” he told KCTV. “What I actually feel like is, ‘what has the world come to when a person who returns something that doesn’t belong to him and all this happens?’”
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The world is a wondrous place. It’s easy to lose track of that simple fact.
It’s evident in a homeless man being helped or another returning an irreplaceable treasure.
In people willing to attend the funeral of a lonely stranger.
In a restaurant owner finding work for a young man down on his luck with a mighty burden to bear.
In the note I received recently from an older woman who told me that she has been offered rides home from strangers who saw her plight.
In all of the people who have pushed a stranger’s car out of a snowy prison on a city street or parking lot.
In the folks who have so unselfishly donated to things like the Friday Night Lights campaign, Victoria Hospital Foundation. P.A. Community Foundation or any of the dozens of charities in this city that make it a community to cherish.
The goodness is all around us. Never let the bad guys make you forget it.
Perry Bergson is the Daily Herald’s managing editor.