David Bruce: The Kindest People: Be Excellent to Each Other (Volume 3) (Free PDF)

  1. “The Baby’s Not Crying — It’s Not Breathing Right Now”

On 16 March 2013 near Garfield and 22 Mile roads in Macomb Township, Michigan, a hysterical father flagged down Ryan Cornelissen, a 21-year-old criminal justice student at Macomb Community College, who then called 911 and said to the dispatcher, “A guy stopped me. I think something’s wrong with his wife. He doesn’t speak very good English. He stopped me on the side of the road.” The couple had been going to a hospital because the woman was about to give birth, but the baby arrived before they made it to the hospital. Mr. Cornelissen said, “The baby’s not crying — it’s not breathing right now.” Dispatcher Steven Kukuk told him, “You need to try to stimulate the baby’s breathing, rub his back with your fingertips. Hold the baby so the head is supported too, okay? Keep the head supported — we want to keep that neck and head supported.” Dispatcher Kukuk told Mr. Cornelissen how to provide rescue breaths and how to give CPR to the infant. Eventually, the child began to breathe. Mr. Cornelissen said, “Oh, yes! The baby is whimpering. He’s breathing!” Dispatcher Kukuk said, “Very good. You did a good job.” An ambulance took the mother and baby to the Henry Ford Macomb Hospital to recover. Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said, “The calm demeanor of Ryan is positively remarkable. And the excellent instructions provided by Dispatcher Kukuk are a testament to his training and professionalism.” The parents of the baby are Vietnamese. Mr. Cornelissen said, “After it was over, the dad came up to me, thanked me numerous times .”

  1. Finnish Babies Sleep in Cardboard Boxes

Ever since 1938, the government of Finland has given expectant mothers a box that contains baby clothes, baby bedding, a sleeping bag, a small mattress, cloth diapers, outdoor gear, baby-bathing products, and other items that a baby needs. When the small mattress is placed at the bottom of the box, the box becomes baby’s first bed. The four walls of the box keep the baby from falling out of the box. Expectant mothers can choose between taking the box or a grant of money — in June 2013, the amount of money expectant mothers could get was 140 euros. However, almost all expectant mothers — 95 percent — take the box because it and its contents are worth much more than 140 euros. At first, only expectant mothers with low incomes could get the box, but beginning in 1949, it was given to all expectant mothers. Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world — in part, because of the box. Heidi Liesivesi, who works at Kela — the Social Insurance Institution of Finland — said, “Not only was it offered to all mothers-to-be, but new legislation meant in order to get the grant, or maternity box, they had to visit a doctor or municipal pre-natal clinic before their fourth month of pregnancy.” Reija Klemetti, a 49-year-old from Helsinki, remembers getting a box: “It was lovely and exciting to get it and somehow the first promise to the baby. My mum, friends, and relatives were all eager to see what kind of things were inside and what colours they’d chosen for that year.” The colours are always gender-neutral so that the clothing can be passed down from a boy to a girl or from a girl to a boy. Titta Vayrynen, a 35-year-old mother who has two young boys, said, “It’s easy to know what year babies were born in, because the clothing in the box changes a little every year. It’s nice to compare and think, ‘Ah, that kid was born in the same year as mine.’” She added, “There was a recent report saying that Finnish mums are the happiest in the world, and the box was one thing that came to my mind. We are very well taken care of, even now when some public services have been cut down a little.” The maternity box encourages good parenting. Panu Pulma, professor in Finnish and Nordic History at the University of Helsinki, said, “Babies used to sleep in the same bed as their parents, and it was recommended that they stop. Including the box as a bed meant people started to let their babies sleep separately from them.” To promote breastfeeding, the box does not contain baby bottles in order. To promote future literacy, it contains a picture book. An article by Helena Lee for the BBC News Magazine listed the contents of the box for June 2013: “Mattress, mattress cover, undersheet, duvet cover, blanket, sleeping bag/quilt. Box itself doubles as a crib. Snowsuit, hat, insulated mittens and booties. Light hooded suit and knitted overalls. Socks and mittens, knitted hat and balaclava. Bodysuits, romper suits and leggings in unisex colours and patterns. Hooded bath towel, nail scissors, hairbrush, toothbrush, bath thermometer, nappy cream, wash cloth. Cloth nappy set and muslin squares. Picture book and teething toy. Bra pads, condoms.”

  1. An Honest Man is Found in Wilkes-Barre!”

On 2 July 2013, entertainer Steve Martin performed bluegrass music at the F.M. Kirby Center for Performing Arts in downtown Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Earlier that day, unfortunately, he lost his wallet while bicycling in Wilkes-Barre. Fortunately, a man found it and turned it in at the Kirby Center. Mr. Martin, who did not reveal the man’s name, Tweeted, “An honest man is found in Wilkes-Barre! Thank you, sir! RT ‪@CBSPittsburgh: Stranger comes to the aid of comedian and returns his wallet!” The wallet contained credit cards and a driver’s license. Mr. Martin thanked the Good Samaritan in person.

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