Ben Millar, an Irish waiter who hasn’t been able to see his family for over two years, can finally return home thanks to the generosity of one of his customers.
On Saturday, Nov. 19, a man named Jeffrey and his family visited the restaurant where Millar works. Millar talked to them for a while and discovered that Jeffrey and his family visit Ireland often.
“I jokingly said ‘I wish I could go back that often to see my family,’” Millar recollected. “I thought nothing of it.”
After Jeffrey and his family left, Millar picked up their check and saw that Jeffrey had put $750 on the tip line of the receipt. Jeffrey had also left a note that read “hopefully this can get you back to Ireland for the holidays.”
“My initial reaction was shouting ‘Holy s—!’” Millar said.
Millar’s girlfriend, Taryn Keith, is pregnant with a baby boy, and Millar plans to save the money and travel to Ireland after his son is born. Millar wants to take his new family to see his family in Belfast.
“I also hope I can reach out to Jeffrey so he knows how much I appreciate it,” Millar said. “It means a lot to me but more to my family since it’s been almost two years. I would love if Jeffrey could come over when I go back, so I can show him the true Northern Ireland, not just the tourist aspect.”
Taryn Keith has shared her boyfriend’s extraordinary story on a social media post that has gone viral. “Thought I would share it to show everyone there is not only hate out there,” she wrote. “Truly blessed.”
Five hundred Buddhist nuns recently completed a 2,485 mile bicycle journey from Kathmandu, Nepal to Leh, India to raise awareness of human trafficking in South Asia. Members of the Drukpa Order have made this difficult, dangerous trek three times previously. They were inspired to begin biking after hearing stories of girls being sold by their impoverished families after earthquakes ravaged Nepal last year.
“We wanted to do something to change this attitude that girls are less than boys and that it’s okay to sell them,” said Jigme Konchok Lhamo, a 22-year-old nun.
The nuns journeyed not only to raise awareness, but also to meet local people, to talk to political and religious leaders, to provide food for the poor, and to help villagers access medical care.
The Drukpa Order is commonly called the “Kung Fu nuns” because of their training in martial arts, which is an unusual activity for nuns in the Buddhist religion. Regardless of their unorthodox activities, the Drukpa Order has grown from a mere 30 members to 500 members over the course of 12 years.
The Drukpa nuns are confident that they are changing commonly held ideas about women. “Most of the people, when they see us on our bikes, think we are boys,” said 18-year-old nun Jigme Wangchuk Lhamo, “They get shocked when we tell them that not only are we girls, but we are also Buddhist nuns. I think this helps change their attitudes about women and maybe value them as equals.”
South Asia is quickly becoming one of the most prominent areas for human trafficking. This is due to gangs taking advantage of poor villagers and selling them as slaves. Post-natural disaster trafficking has become increasingly common. The Drukpa nuns said the earthquakes in Nepal last year changed their understanding of human trafficking, motivating them to do more than provide food to devastated areas.
“People think that because we are nuns, we are supposed to stay in the temples and pray all the time. But praying is not enough. After all,” said Jigme Konchok Lhamo, “actions speak louder than words.”
When Princess Charlotte of Cambridge was born to Duchess Kate and Prince William several weeks ago, the Internet erupted with news and excited energy. People throughout the world craned their necks to see what was going on. One of the most exciting ways to keep abreast of the events was through the app Snapchat, a photo and video-sharing app for Smartphones.
The London “snap-story” posted in early May was a joyful celebration of Princess Charlotte’s birth. Seen through the “eyes” of the excited city-dwellers, the event of the princess’s birthday could be witnessed from myriad vantage points, as Snapchat users filmed and uploaded videos and photos from all over the city. The London Bridge, lit up with pink lights in honor of the little princess, could be seen in one shot; in another, the royal car sped by carrying the royal family away from St. Mary’s Hospital.
In a world where bad news is common, Snapchat celebrates diversity, culture, and life. When I go on Snapchat, I get glimpses of life in cities like Dubai, New York City, and Edinburgh, as users share photos and videos of their meals, their music, and their unique cityscapes. Other events, like college graduations, are also broadcast live on Snapchat, and users can celebrate these accomplishments alongside the happy graduates.
Whether Snapchat’s story of the day features a beautiful city like Sydney, Autralia, a joyful graduation at the University of California, or an exciting red carpet event like the Oscars, Snapchat’s platform provides an opportunity for every-day people to share their unique experiences and appreciate culture around the world.
Shortly after the devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, and Col. Yoram Laredo, of the IDF Home Front, discussed ways to assist the country.
Just before the meeting, Netanyahu said, “You are being sent on an important mission. This is the real face of Israel — a country that offers help at any distance in moments such as these.”
The Home Front Command assistance team Israel is sending in approximately 260 personnel. At the time of the meeting, an advance team was already in Nepal, preparing for the rest of the team to arrive.
The team’s goals are locating missing Israelis, rescuing people trapped under rubble, and providing the thousands of earthquake victims with medical care.
An extensive field hospital will be set up as well. “As time passes, the focus will move from search and rescue to hospital treatment. The hospital can treat 200 patients a day,” Laredo said. “We can link up with local heavy engineering vehicles.”
Israeli delegations have assisted in many disasters, including in Haiti and the Philippines.“It’s a blessed thing that a variety of Israeli delegations are going, as from my experience, in situations like this, everyone who arrives will be needed and have work to do,” said Dov Meisel, a volunteer paramedic.
“The Nepal government asked for help, and Israelis rush to help,” Meisel said.
Four years ago, 7-year-old best friends Mai Frandsen and Mae Rainey were adopted from a southern Chinese orphanage into families on opposite sides of the U.S. Now 11 years old, the girls both received treatment at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California for a genetic blood disease.
The girls share thalassemia, a genetic blood disease that inhibits the body’s ability to produce oxygen-carrying hemoglobin. Without blood transfusions, patients with the disease will become severely anemic and may die.
“If they don’t get transfusions, children will die in the first few years of life,” said Dr. Ash Lal. Lal runs the thalassemia clinical program at the Benioff Children’s Hospital.
The girls’ health improved with their new families, as obtaining adequate blood transfusions in China for orphans can be difficult. Many adopted children with the disease who didn’t received treatment have additional problems such as organ damage or growth impairment. The Oakland hospital opened a special clinic for adopted Chinese children with the genetic disease to help them recover.
After Mae was adopted in November of 2011 by the Rainey family in Charlotte, N.C., she mentioned life in foster care and the orphanage frequently, especially her friend “Sing-Sing.”
“For 3½ years, she would say to us, ‘Do you think we’ll ever find Sing-Sing?’” said Bryan Rainey, Mae’s father.
Rainey and his wife Robin didn’t know who Sing-Sing was, whether that was her real name, or if she would even keep the same name if she was adopted.
Mai was adopted in May of 2013. Both of the girls were given new names upon adoption; the fact that they were given the same name is a coincidence.
Mae eventually required a bone marrow transplant to cure her disease. In the process of finding a donor match, her family found Mai on the same list. The parents exchanged photos and the girls recognized each other immediately.
“Mae said that’s her. That’s her best friend,” Bryan Rainey said.
When the girls first talked over the computer, they were shy and quiet. Their parents realized they would both be at the Oakland hospital and decided to meet there.
The meeting was awkward at first and both girls were nervous, later calling their meeting “weird.”
“At first you don’t know what to say. This is a stranger to you,” said Mae. But by the next morning, it was as though they’d never been apart, and they said they’ll be friends forever.
“They were both really nervous,” said Heather Frandsen, Mai’s mother. “I don’t know if my Mai really believed it was going to happen. But when we got back to the room that night, after they met, her whole demeanor changed. I think when Mae left the orphanage, that was really traumatic for my Mai. I think Mae was her person. You know, that one person who means everything.”
As for the girls, they never thought they’d see each other again and are thrilled to be together.
“It’s just crazy,” Mae said. “You know, in Chinese, mei-mei means sister.”