Teens from the Boys and Girls Club of Boston (BGCB) Ready to Work program were given free laptops as part of a collaboration between AT&T and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston. The 250 laptop giveaway was part of BGCB’s Ready-to-Work program, which helps high school club members focus on employment opportunities through personal mentoring, resume design workshops, job fairs, interview training and other opportunities to prepare for employment opportunities.
AT&T has given each member a free laptop Courtesy of Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston. The 10-year-old program consists of nine clubs spanning 22 of Boston’s 23 boroughs. As students received laptops from the school for online classes, Ready to Work began to take shape to provide club members with a way to virtually prepare for employment opportunities.
As students returned to full-time classroom instruction, schools began reclaiming laptops, making it difficult for many high school students to access the Internet and participate in Ready to Work. As in person classes resumed, many teens lost access to many online resources and AT&T wanted to fix that lack in access to technology. The surprise took place at Berkshire Partners Blue Hill Boys & Girls Club, where 140 club members attended a teenage careers fair before receiving their laptops. The remaining 110 members who could not attend also received their laptops after the event.
AT&T Atlantic Region President John Emra said in a statement “Our AT&T employees are committed to giving back to the Boston communities where they live, work and play. These great kids are the future of our city, our economy and our company. We are grateful for the opportunity to spend time with them and for the life changing work of Robert Lewis and everyone else at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.”
A Massachusetts man jumped into action when another driver lost consciousness behind the wheel while on interstate 93. A nearby driver recorded the rescue attempt and put it up on TikTok where the surreal rescue went viral. The video shows a blue suv brushing along the guardrail as it drives down the snowy highway and other vehicles slowing down. The camera pans to the right where a black suv is stopped and suddenly a man is seen sprinting across several lanes and dodging cars to reach the runaway vehicle with little regard to his own safety.
The man, Adolfo Molina, runs alongside the suv grabbing at the door handles. At one point another person came to give Molina a hand, and together they tried to use sticks to stop the still-moving car which was beginning to move back towards the highway. They tried to push it into the guardrails to at least slow it down and prevent it from colliding with another car. The video doesn’t include the eventual end of the pursuit when her car hit a divider and stopped.
Adolfo Molina, 25, makes a living as an Uber driver. He said he saw a driver in trouble and felt the call to help and got out of the vehicle, doing everything in his power to stop the runaway car. Molina’s wife, Maytee Pena, said “I was surprised at first but at the end of the day I wasn’t, because he’s a helpful person. Something in his mind just said ‘go help’ so he got out of the car and did what he needed to do, it was like a sign of God. God sent him to do that mission.”
State police later revealed the driver was a 57-year-old woman from New Hampshire who had indeed lost consciousness for unknown reasons. She was transferred to a nearby hospital, and Molina, who was honored for his heroism at the Dominican consulate in Boston, hopes to be able to meet her someday. Molina will also be honored by the mayor of Lawrence for his heroic deed.
An Indiana man ordered at a local McDonald’s drive thru got much more than he expected.
On Jan. 16, TikTok user Josiah Vargas, shared a video detailing his trip to a McDonald’s drive-thru in Elkhart, Indiana that resulted in him receiving much more than he ordered. In the now-viral clip, Vargas ordered a Sausage McMuffin and was shocked to find thousands in cash in a second bag handed to him when he was given his order.
Vargas explains that he ordered his food and was handed two bags, one with his order and the other contained their deposit. After showing some of the contents of the bag, which contained stacks of bills and change assorted in individual Ziploc bags, a shellshocked Vargas examines what was erroneously handed to him instead of his breakfast sandwich.
“Why? There’s a couple thousand dollars here,” Vargas says, holding up a baggie full of $20 bills. “Like, why would they do this? Why would they give this to me? What the f—? Now I have to return it because I’m a good person, I guess,” Vargas says, putting the money back in the bag. “How interesting.” Pulling back up to the McDonald’s, Vargas unbuckles his seatbelt and before he heads in, he asks the universe, presumably, “Why would you guys do this to me? You know how bad I want this money? Why put me in this situation?”
He walked into the store with his phone’s camera still recording but pointed toward the ground and approached the counter with a joke. “You guys laundering money around here?” Vargas says to a worker at the register who realizes he’s returning the cash they had been looking for. Amid all the relieved reactions from staff that can be heard from McDonald’s staff, one employee asks if they could give him a hug — which he accepts.
Back in the car, Vargas reflects on his good deed. “I cut that short, but they were just all hugging me and thanking me, some were crying. Free McDonald’s for a month, I guess. When I was driving away. They called me back in. They gave me $200,” he says, smiling. The TikTok ends with Vargas sharing what he believes to be the moral of the story. “Do good, people. Return $5000, got $200 and free McDonald’s for a month,good trade value and maybe a viral TikTok” he says.
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.
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.”
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.”
Makayla Burns, 24, and her dad run a small business called Horrornaments, which makes creepy-themed ornaments such as evil pickles and violent clowns. The Michigan business was struggling so as a last ditch effort, she posted a TiktTok video asking for help-and help came. The video went viral with over 1.1 million likes, and sales lit up like a Christmas Tree.
The video shows her dad pacing aimlessly around their warehouse, clearly stressed out.”It’s the middle of December, and my dad is currently walking around the warehouse wondering why we aren’t busy with orders,” Burns wrote in the video. “I’ve been trying so hard to promote his ornaments, but I don’t know what to do anymore. And honestly it makes me so sad. Like…this is his livelihood.”
Burns said they received more orders in the last two days than they have in the previous 11 months. To date, the Burns team has 5,000 orders of ornaments and both are very thankful for the support. In another video, MaKayla’s dad gets choked up talking about it. “You just saved this business,” he tells her with tears in his eyes. “You have no idea how tickled I am.”
She said her dad was worried he might not even be able to pay his rent before the windfall. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I don’t know what else to say other than thank you.” Hopefully now that the company is on the radar of horror lovers, they will thrive in the new year.
After Renee Story’s daughter’s flight was canceled, the determined mother’s positive thinking got her daughter home. Alanah Story was set for a 7PM flight from Orlando to Knoxville when her flight was delayed and ultimately canceled. Frontier Airlines was unable to give stranded passengers assurances that they would be able to fly out that night.
While at the help desk, Renee met Carlos, a police officer who was also heading to Knoxville for a 10:00 AM appointment with his daughter the next morning at a university. The two agreed that they could rent a van to drive there. They then suggested the idea to several passengers and they were able to gather a group of 13.
Alanah said “I was off to one side because I didn’t want to be involved, my mom just turned to me and said ‘we’re headed downstairs to get a van, come on people! Like 13 people followed her, I was just wondering what was happening.” Among the rest of the group were Johan and Adolf, from Mexico, Michelle, who was headed to a farming convention in Knoxville as a keynote speaker, and Q, who was simply trying to get home.
The strangers each chipped in $60 to rent a 15 passenger van and headed out on a road trip.
In the end, all the passengers managed to keep their appointments, Carlos’ daughter made it to the university appointment and Michelle was able to deliver her speech as the keynote speaker. Carlos posted a video to tiktok explaining “We made our 10:00 AM appointment, all because of a community that came together.”
But what started as a 650 mile journey of convenience, paced over 10 hours, ended with some brand new friendships. Alanah made friends with Q, who lives in Knoxville, and the two are planning on going out for karaoke soon. Carlos’ wife Lauren and Alanah’s mother Renee have also kept in touch.
Alanah said “It was not a quiet ride, no one was getting any sleep on that drive, I think I slept around 20 minutes. I really couldn’t have picked a better group of people to make the trip with. The whole experience really confirmed my faith in humanity for a little bit, in the States right now we’re going through a period of division, so it was nice to see.”
Aero Angel is a charity organization that provides free flights for chronically ill children. The national aviation charity provides free flights using private jets flown by a crew of volunteer, professional pilots. Commercial airline travel is sometimes not a safe option because of a child’s illness and if specialists aren’t available in an ill child’s area, that can mean repeated trips farther away to seek expert care.
Aero Angel fills that gap, allowing children to get treatment they may not have had the option for without the transportation. They offer unlimited free flights to children in need of private transportation to appointments at specialist medical centers. The service is nationwide, and last year alone made about 70 flights. Aero Angel is not an air ambulance service and limits its flights to children whose fragile medical conditions mean commercial flying is not an option.
Brittany Baillargeon, Aero Angel’s Special Projects Director said families that need long distance transportation can just go to the website aeroangel.org, and fill out a flight request form and upload a letter of medical necessity. It’s free to all families whose children can’t fly commercial and all of the costs are covered through donors. The flights are provided to families until the service is no longer needed. While there is no set minimum mileage requirement, most of the flights are at least 500 miles long from the child’s home to their destination. The business jets flown have a non-stop range of 4 hours or about 2,000 miles.
Based in Denver, Colorado, AeroAngel was founded by Denver attorney and commercial pilot Mark Pestal. His passion for aviation and a desire to help others led him to create a unique model of using volunteer professional pilots to families who desperately need it. Operating a high performance jet aircraft is expensive and requires a huge amount of resources. Through sponsors, donations and volunteers-these angels in the sky have been serving communities across the US for more than 11 years.