A mother and son in Philadelphia were surprised with $500 and NFL playoff tickets after an act of kindness. Bryanne McBride and her son Mason were out running errands on a Saturday afternoon, preparing for the Eagles game, when they encountered a stranger who asked them for some money.
“Do you have a dollar by chance? I’m just trying to grab the bus,” Zachery Dereniowski says in the video. Dereniowski runs the “MDMotivator” account on social media and is known for rewarding people for their acts of kindness. Mason thought he recognized the public figure from his videos online. “He said, ‘Mom he sounds like the guy from YouTube.’ And I was like, ‘Alright bro, let’s just give him the change,'” recalled Bryanne. Bryanne looked through her purse and then ran to her car to get some change. When she returns, Dereniowski asks why she decided to help?
“I hate telling people no, especially when I can help,” replied Bryanne. And that’s when Dereniowski returned the money and offered up something huge in return — $500 and tickets to the Eagles-Giants NFC divisional playoff game. The mother and son were in complete shock. Bryanne said “We were actually getting our goodies to watch the game from home. He said it. It was like he fell out of the sky it happened so fast.”
She knew it was Mason and his dad, Darryl, who had to go to the game. “It felt real when we met down at the Linc at 5:30 and went through. The players come in, that’s when, ok this is real,” said Darryl. For Mason, he’s still speechless about the experience. His favorite part, of course, was meeting the players.
An Anthony van Dyck piece found in a shed in upstate New York — where it was originally purchased for a paltry $600 — has sold for a staggering $3.1 million at auction. The long lost painting dates back to between 1615 and 1618, was reportedly a live model study for the Flemish master’s opus “Saint Jerome With an Angel,” which is currently on display in Amsterdam.
The hefty price tag may seem outrageous for most but the nearly 3-foot-tall work is reportedly one of two such live studies of that scale to survive. Christopher Apostle, the head of the Old Master Paintings department at Sotheby’s in New York, said “They weren’t really meant to be exhibited, the artist would often keep them in the studio to refer back to later.”
Art collector Albert B. Roberts had originally discovered the ritzy rough draft, entitled “A Study for Saint Jerome,” in a shed in Kinderhook, New York during an estate sale in 2002. The back of the canvas was riddled with bird droppings but the art aficionado identified it as a Dutch Golden Age painting and scooped it up for just $600.
Roberts had his find authenticated in 2019 by art historian Susan Barnes, who recognized the template as a “surprisingly well-preserved” work by van Dyck. Roberts died in August 2021 at the age of 89 and his estate offered the painting to Sotheby’s for auction. Part of the proceeds will go towards Albert B. Roberts Foundation Inc., which provides financial support to artists and various charities.
Tiktok food reviewer Keith Lee has blessed another struggling business. On Jan. 19, Lee posted a video recounting the story about a food truck owner parked on a lonely street in Las Vegas. The video, which has since gone viral, describes how the life of Gary Shanks, owner and chef of Southern Taste Seafood, changed for the better, all because of a chance encounter with the influential social media star.
On the way home from the bike ride, Lee says he came across a food truck he hadn’t seen before. As he approached, Shanks asked Lee what he wanted to order, and that’s when the TikToker noticed the menu was seafood-based — and Lee has an allergy to shellfish. Shanks generously offered Lee other items on his menu, like burgers, fries and catfish, and offered to prepare those dishes in separate bowls, with separate dishes and fresh oil to accommodate him, if he showed up the next day. Lee agreed to return.
“He told me he’s just trying to survive right now. It’s very slow. He’s lucky if he gets five to 10 people in,” he recounts. Lee says the next day, Shanks served him a burger and fries made with new oil and separate utensils, just as he said he would. Shanks, surprised that Lee came back, offered to make him his order for free, but Lee wasn’t going to let that happen.
Lee explained to his fans in the Tiktok “I went live the other day with Miss Shirley, passing out food to the less fortunate. During that live, you sent $450 worth of gifts. I took all that money and I sent it directly to his Cash App.” Shanks, clearly shocked in the clip, was overcome with emotion at Lee’s generosity. After Shanks tried to return the gift multiple times, Lee assured him that the donation was not a mistake. “I love moments like that ‘cause I’m so thankful and grateful from the bottom of my heart to be a vessel, and to help people like that,” Lee says.
Lee went home and sampled Shanks’ food in the now viral TikTok, giving high scores for the burger and fries. “Delicious. It was juicy, it was cheesy … immaculate,” Lee says. “Especially to be a place that don’t specialize in burgers. He makes seafood!” Now Shanks and his business are feeling the love. In a follow-up TikTok, Lee shares that so many people were sending Shanks money that within 24 hours he had received $30,000 without even selling a thing. He’s also had to enlist help to keep up with the uptick in business. Shanks says he was making $50 to $200 dollars depending on the day, but he’s seen about a 900% increase in revenue since the review.
Keith Lee is now known for his ability to change the fortunes of businesses big and small. His viral TikTok review of a Chipotle quesadilla hack in December caused it to go so viral, it ended up being added to the national chain’s menu. Then, earlier this month, Lee’s sterling review of Frankensons, a once-struggling pizza shop in Las Vegas, led to lines down the block overnight. Shanks said Lee showing up at his food truck was God-sent.
A Buffalo man who broke into a school to help shelter 24 people stranded in the Buffalo Blizzard has been given Super Bowl Tickets by his hometown team. Jay Withey, the 27-year-old mechanic and hero, received the reward for his live-saving actions from the Buffalo Bills in collaboration with Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Legendary former Bills running back Thurman Thomas personally delivered the surprise to Withey. “We love you. We know what you did on Christmas Eve was very heroic, and you’re our hero,” Thurman told Withey. Withey says he is stunned at how widespread his story has gotten, sharing he didn’t expect it to go as viral as it did. “I can’t believe the amount of reach-out it got,” he said in the video. “I mean, I got thank-you letters from Australia. I can’t believe how far it got, but it was wild” Withey said.
Jay broke a window of Edge Academy on Christmas Eve in order to get 2 dozen people, including several seniors and two dogs, out of hurricane-force winds, snow, and deathly cold temperatures. He borrowed the academy’s snowblower to get people unstuck from the roads and into the school. Once inside, he found granola bars, water, and blankets in the nurses’ office, and gathered apples, juice, and cereal from the kitchen.
The group waited out the storm together and before leaving, cleaned up every trace of their presence. The school declined to press any charges, nor accept any of the group’s repeated attempts to pay for the food or broken window.
A Florida family leapt into action after learning that one of their own had gone missing at sea.
Dylan Gartenmayer, 22, went missing at sea for several hours after getting caught by the Gulf Stream current while diving off the coast of Key West, Florida. Around 5:45 pm on January 19, the Gartenmayer family received a phone call from a family friend who explained that Dylan had gone diving with two friends and had been missing for two hours.
The coast guard had been searching for him but it was getting dark. “We were told that he went down for a dive and did not resurface. So we were thinking the worst,” Priscilla Gartenmayer said. She and her boyfriend frantically took her grandparents’ boat out and headed for the last place his friends saw him.
Dylan said when he got swept away by the current, he spent around two minutes underwater. When he finally resurfaced, Dylan said he was about a mile away from where he had been diving — then he had to swim for over a mile to make it to a channel marker. And although he could see Coast Guard helicopters “out in the distance,” they couldn’t see him. He was ready to “fight the night out” and began tying buoys together as a makeshift raft but unbeknownst to him, his family was already taking matters into their own hands.
Priscilla Gartenmayer said “Before we even completely stopped the boat to start looking, Joel spotted Dylan near the channel marker that marked that reef,” she said. “The joy we felt in that moment is indescribable.” Priscilla’s boyfriend, Joel Cruz recorded the moment Dylan was pulled to safety— and a now-viral video captured their ecstatic reaction when they spotted him in the water and were able to rescue him.
An Alabama man has been anonymously paying for his neighbors’ pharmacy bills for over 10 years. Hody Childress, a farmer and US air force veteran, had been keeping it a secret since 2012 when he walked into a drug store in his home town of Geraldine and learned from the owner, Brooke Walker, that sometimes families can’t afford to pay for their medicines.
Childress told Walker: “Here, this $100 is for anyone who can’t afford their prescription. Do not tell a soul that the money came from me. Tell them it’s a blessing from God.” A month later, Childress walked back into Geraldine Drugs. “Here’s another 100-dollar bill. Do not tell a soul that the money came from me. Tell them it’s a blessing from God,” Childress told Walker.
He gave thousands of dollars to a pharmacy over the years, where members of his own family regularly visited without ever knowing what he was doing. Late last year, Childress sensed that he was approaching the end of his life. He fought multiple health issues including COPD and was having trouble getting around. The 80-year-old needed someone to take his $100 bill to Geraldine Drugs, and he entrusted the task to his daughter, Tania Nix.
“I was shocked — I had no idea that he was helping people at the drug store” Nix said. “He told me he’d been carrying a $100 bill to the pharmacist in Geraldine on the first of each month and he didn’t want to know who she’d helped with it. He just wanted to bless people with it,” she said. Nix had helped her father but had no idea he had been doing this small kindness for over a decade.
Childress passed away on January 1, 2023 and only then did the extent of his kind deed become known. Pharmacist Brooke explained she had been sworn to secrecy, but she felt like the door was open now and that she could share what had been going on. Now that word has leaked out, family and friends in Geraldine are paying it forward, keeping Childress’s pharmacy fund going.
“There are so many people in Geraldine who have lived longer because of Hody, he was a true humble servant who will always be loved” pharmacist Heather Walker said. It turns out, Childress’s kindness is contagious. Geraldine Drugs has received a flood of donations—first from locals and then from people around the country—in his memory. With that money, the pharmacy has created a Hody Childress Fund, which will continue his legacy of helping out those in need.
A Las Vegas pizzeria has been blessed thanks to a TikToker on the rise. On Jan. 3, TikTok food reviewer Keith Lee shared a video to his millions of followers that would change the fate of Frankensons, a Las Vegas restaurant that serves pizza, chicken wings and more. In the video, he recounts a story about how he came in one day and had a heartwarming experience with the owner, Frank Steele.
“Yesterday afternoon, I got an email from an employee of a family-owned restaurant here in Vegas,“ Lee said. He explains that an employee asked him to come and try the spot because, while they think the food is delicious, Frankensons business was flailing. The employee said the business couldn’t afford to pay rent as a result. They cite a lack of marketing as the culprit for their slow business, and while they would love a food reviewer to come review the food, the only offer they received from another influencer would’ve cost them $2,600. Lee didn’t charge them and paid for his own food, wondering if it was really the marketing, or if the food was bad.
In a tiktok post that garnered an astounding 31.8 million views in a week, Lee delivers his honest review of Frankensons’ wings, pizza and garlic knots — all of which cost him $86.73. “Frank was so dope. He took his time, he was patient,” Lee says of the owner of Frankensons, with whom he had a long chat about the business. Lee maintains that Steele’s kindness added another level to the already impeccable service at Frankensons.
At the time, Steele had no idea about Lee’s legion of TikTok followers or his considerable influence. “This is one of the best wings I’ve ever had, this is a 10,” Lee says after taking a bite of a lemon pepper chicken wing. Other items he gives high scores to are the garlic knots, a classic Italian sub, the thin crust and classic pepperoni pizzas and the peach chutney wings. Lee is fair in his reviewing, however — he says isn’t such a fan of the fries or the ranch dressing.
Frank Steele said business wasn’t great for his four-month-old restaurant, and he was lucky if he did $400 a day in sales. Lee’s TikTok review brought Frankensons customers from Iowa, California, Utah and more. According to Steele, it only took a few hours after Lee’s visit for the tides to change. “Our phone never stopped ringing. I’ve sold more lemon pepper wings in the last two days than I have in the past four months. I made more garlic knots yesterday and the day before than I’ve ever made. It’s just been overwhelming. It’s been a blessing. This restaurant has been a dream of mine for 30 years” Steele said, choking up.
In a series of follow-up videos, Lee shares that he has visited Steele a few times since the review went viral and said that by day 4, that the lines for the business are still down the block.
“Frank! Bro, what,” Lee says to Steele in his most recent TikTok update. As Lee looks at the line outside the shop that his video caused, folks in line cheer. “This is crazy.” Steele said “I’m working to get stocked up on supplies and food and bringing everyone in to help. All I can say is thank you. This has been life-changing.”
A remarkable story from the Buffalo blizzard that hit during the Christmas holiday, a man became a hero after breaking into a school. The Edge Academy school’s alarm went off on Christmas Eve, but due to the ‘worst snow storm in a generation‘ the local police near Buffalo, New York, were unable to quickly respond.
When the Cheektowaga Police did arrive, they found one of the windows had been broken out—but checking the school building, they found nothing out of place. They thought maybe the damage was caused from the hurricane-force winds—until they saw a handwritten note left on a table. The note started with an apology for causing damage to the window—and having to borrow the snow blower to rescue others who had run out of gas while trapped in their cars. “Got stuck at 8 p.m. Friday and slept in my truck with two strangers. Just trying not to die. There were 7 elderly people also stuck and out of fuel. I had to do it to save everyone and get them shelter and food and a bathroom.” The note was signed, Merry Christmas, Jay.
Officers were astonished when they watched the school’s video surveillance. “We witnessed people taking care of people,” said a report on the Department’s Facebook Page. After breaking in, Jay went back out into the storm and found others who were freezing in their cars, and brought them inside—24 in total, and 2 dogs. Once settled inside, he found granola bars, water, and blankets in the nurse’s office, and gathered apples, juice, and cereal from the kitchen.
Kids played in the gym while adults watched football games and storm updates on television. The hours on Saturday turned into a Christmas Day Sunday, spent sheltering at the school.
The police facebook post said “When they were finally able to leave safely, you never would have known anyone was there. This group of amazing people cleaned up all the tables… and the building they found shelter in. There was a freezer full of food but no one touched it. They only ate what was necessary to stay alive.”
Soon, police wanted to identify the mysterious ‘Jay,’ so they could commend him for “actions that one-hundred-percent saved lives”. After they did find the 27-year-old, they announced on Facebook: ‘Because of Jay Withey, people are still alive.’ Jay even used the school’s snowblower to dig out other stuck cars, to help clear the streets for plows.
Jay told news outlets “I’m just grateful that I had the opportunity, and I had the will to do it.” The group is “like family” now—and is already planning a reunion in Spring. Not only did the school decline to press charges, they told the group who offered to pay for the snacks and damaged window not to worry about it saying they are just happy they were safe and warm.
NFL fans and players were shaken when Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field during a Monday Night Football game. Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest and was resuscitated on the field as everyone in the stadium and those watching at home looked on. Eventually, he was taken away in an ambulance that had driven onto the field and rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
The shocking news generated an avalanche of compassion that has already raised nearly $5 million for Damar’s charity in less than a day. The 24-year-old, who plays safety in Western New York, created the charity to provide toy drives and back-to-school supplies for children in his hometown of Pittsburgh.
The Chasing M’s Foundation first posted the humble fundraiser on GoFundMe in December of 2020, with Damar writing: “As I embark on my journey to the NFL, I will never forget where I come from and I am committed to using my platform to positively impact the community that raised me. “I created The Chasing M’s Foundation as a vehicle that will allow me to deliver that impact, and the first program is the 2020 Community Toy Drive.”
More than 160,000 people made donations, including Tom Brady and the Baltimore Ravens who each donated $10,000. The fundraiser had over $500,000 in donations within hours of Hamlin’s collapse. Days later the GoFundMe, which had a $2,500 goal, has raised over $8 million. The Hamlin Family posted an update saying, “We can’t thank all of you enough. Your generosity and compassion mean the world to us.”
Seven days after his collapse, Damar Hamlin tweeted his thanks for the outpouring of prayers as he was being sent from Cincinnati to a Buffalo hospital to continue his recovery.
Buffalo, NY experienced a catastrophic blizzard over the Christmas weekend that left many stranded with over 4 ft of snow and winds of up to 70 mph. While the area is no stranger to snow, getting that much snow and high winds together is unusual. A group of South Korean tourists narrowly avoided a ruined vacation because of the kindness of strangers.
On the morning of Dec. 23, the winds went within minutes from 10 miles per hour up to 70. The storm lasted four days, but the vast majority of the snow — about 36 inches out of the total 51.9 inches recorded in the region — fell Friday into Saturday morning. Traveling from Niagara Falls to Washington DC, the tour group of 10 South Koreans got stuck in the blizzard on Christmas Eve.
Two of the group went to a local house to ask for a shovel to dislodge their vehicle. Alex Campagna heard their frantic knocking on his door. Knowing it was the worst blizzard he had ever seen, he thought it would be a better idea for them to wait out the storm. He invited them all inside, putting them up on couches, air mattresses, and sleeping bags.
Eager to repay his kindness, the guests cooked several South Korean meals like jeyuk bokkeum, stir-fried pork, and dakdori tang, a spicy chicken stew. As it turns out, Campagna and his wife really like Korean food and actually happened to have some of the more extravagant ingredients on hand.
The stranded travelers stayed the night Friday and Saturday, swapping stories and watching football. On Christmas day drivers came to pick up the tour group and took them to New York for some impromptu flights. A member of the group, Choi Yoseob said “It was kind of like fate, the luck of arriving at the Campagnas’ doorstep with their fully stocked kitchen and unhesitating hospitality. He said the hosts were “the kindest people I have ever met. We have enjoyed this so much.”