Sometimes strangers can become friends.
Last week, 28-year-old Eric Haralson went to McDonald’s in Noblesville, Indiana with the sole intention of eating breakfast alone. Little did he know that as soon as he sat down — he would obtain company.
A 70-year-old woman named Jan approached Haralson in the restaurant and asked to join him for breakfast.
Haralson responded with an enthusiastic yes.
“My reply was ‘of course’ because that’s just who I am,” Haralson told Today Food. “So she grabbed her food, I pushed her chair out for her and introduced myself.”
After she sat down, both of them spent the next 45 minutes engaging in conversations about life and appreciating each other’s company.
Haralson spoke of his girlfriend and son and Jan spoke of going to church each Sunday and of her artist days.
After breakfast and conversations, Haralson walked her to her car and exchanged phone numbers with the desire to have breakfast again.
Later, Haralson saw a picture of him and Jan on Facebook. A school teacher named Amanda Marquell Craft snapped a photo of their exchange and published it to social media — praising Haralson for his compassion. The photo has been shared thousands of times.
“Shout out to this guy! This elderly lady (seemed to be a little lonely) came up to him and asked if she could sit with him,” Craft wrote.
“My friends and I watched him introduce himself and shake her hand. They talked and laughed together like they were friends. They didn’t know each other and they couldn’t be more different. But today they shared a meal together and it touched our hearts.”
David Leigh, a friend of Jan’s, commented on Haralson’s FB page also expressing his adoration for Haralson’s kindness.
“I know you made Jan’s day that morning of meeting her and allowing her to sit at your table,” Leigh wrote. “I don’t know if you are religious, but she may have been your guardian angel making a visit with you to see if you loved your fellow man… that was a blessed thing you did and keep doing them. God loves you. You truly are a gentleman. My best to you and your future.”
Haralson was glad to have shared a meal with her and was happy to have inspired many people, but he is most glad to have a new friend.
Jan “just wanted some conversation,” according to Haralson, but now her request has sparked interest in many people to lend a helping hand, be kind people, and share their own stories of sitting down with strangers.
He even expressed his admiration for her and exchanged her words of wisdom with Today Food. “She is a wonderful woman,” Haralson said. “She mentioned many times how we all should love one another. And how we should not judge anyone because you never know how their day is going and what they’ve been through.”
Since last Thursday, Haralson had left Jan a voicemail asking to have breakfast with her again and expressing their newfound fame. He still has yet to reconnect with her.
“I’ll keep trying,” he said. “I know if we had forever, she would have a story for me for everyday.”
As Brendan Kelly danced to upbeat music at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, he heard a familiar sound: pop-pop-pop-pop. Kelly remembered hearing the same noise–the distinctive rattle of gunfire–at a country music concert in Las Vegas last year, and immediately took action.
“As soon as I identified where the target was, or where the threat was, I grabbed at least two people around me and yanked them as hard as I could to the nearest exit,” Kelly told KABC news, a CNN affiliate. Kelly and several other patrons escaped through a rear exit and fled to safety.
At that point, Kelly called his relatives to inform them he had lived through a second shooting. The Marine Corp veteran attributed his survival to divine providence. “Only thing I can attribute it to is God, his protective hand over me that night on October 1 (last year in Las Vegas) and last night,” he said.
Kelly’s phone call was interrupted by continued gunfire from the bar. As patrons streamed out of the building, Kelly rushed to administer first aid to the wounded. He removed his belt to slow the bleeding from a friend’s arm. “I wanted to help as best I could,” Kelly explained. “If we could be the first level of first responders before they got there, then you do all you can do instead of standing around not doing much.”
In his conversation with KABC reporters, Kelly struggled to come to grips with the Borderline shooting, which occurred just a block from his house. “It’s too close to home,” he said. Borderline had served as a “safe space” for Kelly and other survivors of the Las Vegas massacre–but that very place fell victim to the violence Kelly and his friends sought to escape.
Kelly’s conclusion? Only God could provide ultimate safety from danger.
“Can you lend a hand?” was a question formulated by October Books, an independent bookstore, located in Southhampton, England.
Volunteers were needed for “heavy manual work.” It was crucial for volunteers to lift and carry boxes and office supplies.
Among the supplies included thousands of books.
This question came from October Books after they struggled to afford the rising rent prices of the store they occupied since 1970.
Aside from the price issue, the bookstore had to figure out how to move their stock without having to pay for expensive moving services.
This was when October Books pleaded for volunteers to form a chain between the old store and the new location.
At first only a few showed up, but to their astonishment — over 200 people lined up on the pavement to pass out 2,000 books.
“It was very moving,” Ms. Hynes, a bookstore employee told The New York Times, adding all employees “got choked up” over the community’s help.
Amy Brown, one of the store’s employees told NPR her stunned reaction to the turnout.
“I was handing books to people without actually seeing the entirety of it,” Brown said. “So it was only after about 20 minutes I actually went out to the road and saw the extent of the people.”
“We wanted something that was accessible for the whole family, for children and people who were older who wouldn’t necessarily be able to paint or move heavy pieces, to help out,” Ms. Hynes said.
Even passing pedestrians would jump in to help. Nearby cafe’s even brought teas and coffees for the volunteers.
“It was really sort of surprising and positive and just a really moving experience to see people chipping in because they wanted to help. And they wanted to be part of something bigger,” Brown told NPR.
Overall, the bookstore has bigger plans as well.
“The shop plans to sell the second floor of the former back building to a charity in Southampton to create supportive housing for homeless people and to create a community hub in the back,” Ms. Hynes said.
According to a recent poll sponsored by Ligonier Ministries, more than half of Americans believe abortion is a sin, reports PR Newswire. Fifty-two percent of respondents considered abortion to be sinful, up from 49% just two years ago.
LifeWay Research interviewed 3,000 American adults from a variety of demographic backgrounds for the 2018 State of Theology survey, an annual poll which tracks public opinion on topics such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and gender identity.
Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, offered his assessment of the study’s results. “These survey results may surprise some people, but pro-life beliefs have definitely been gaining ground in recent years. . . . With a majority agreeing that abortion is a sin, we have a clear indication that many Americans want the state to restore protection for the unborn child.”
The survey not only considered Americans’ aggregate views on abortion, but also tracked the responses of various age groups. In a heartening result for pro-life advocates, the survey revealed that millenial Americans (those aged 18-34) expressed stronger opposition to abortion than any other age group.
Fully 57% of millenials believed abortion was a sin, while only 48% deemed abortion morally acceptable. Millenials’ opposition to abortion has increased by seven percentage points since 2016, according to the study.
In light of the survey’s results, Mohler expressed hope for future pro-life political gains. “There would be considerable support for a Supreme Court decision reversing Roe v. Wade. There is clear support for protecting the life of the unborn, which explains overwhelming opposition to abortion on demand.”
Every year, students are chosen from around the United States to compete in the nation’s top tier science and math contest. This year, 30 students were chosen from only 14 states, and Washington County’s own high school student in Beaverton is one of them.
Pratik Vangal is a freshmen at Sunset High, but in the eighth-grade at Stoller Middle School, he invented a solution for poor air quality after observing in Bangalore, India at his grandparent’s home the difficult situations many families undergo due to poor ventilation and fires created from wood and trash.
The ventilation system is made out of solar wafers and small desktop computer fans and costs merely $5 per system. When it is wired to the sides of the home, it can clear the air in as short as a minute. Vangal won first place for his fan at the Intel Northwest Science Expo at Portland State University, and it was at this expo that he learned about the prestigious competition.
The competition runs from last Friday through Tuesday and will take into consideration the students’ projects that they will present as well as various scientific and mathematical challenges to test their reasoning and leadership. Winners will be announced this Wednesday.
Read more about Vangal’s project as well as the competition here.
Annually, TriMet uses an estimated 6 million gallons of diesel fuel every year in the Portland area, resulting in around 57,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air, and while riders who opt for transit instead of cars do help lower the amount of pollution, the agency admits this is still far from ideal.
TriMet’s executive director of public affairs, Bernie Bottomly, commented in an interview with The Oregonion, “We want to make an effort to move in this direction and address what is a gigantic issue around climate change.”
As such, the plan to cut back on diesel fuel was suggested as a long-term solution. The agency stated that new single battery-electric buses are being tested with a 2016 federal grant, and they are hoping to order 80 new battery-electric buses over the course of five years using $53 million allotted to TriMet in the 2017 statewide transportation package. But with battery-electric buses still in testing, TriMet is not sure if battery power is the long-term solution and is still searching for other alternative fuels, like hydrogen.
This year, the agency will discuss future sources of funds for the project, one possible proposal is to introduce a carbon-pricing bill in 2019.
Read The Oregonian article for more information on the TriMet project.