David Bruce: The Kindest People: Heroes and Good Samaritans (Volume 4) (Free PDF)

2. “Call Room Service and Get Something. But I’ve Got to Call Your Parents”

Comedian George Burns did many good deeds during his lifetime. When Benny Fields died, he supported Blossom Seeley, Benny’s widow and vaudeville partner. Mr. Burns also donated $1 million cash and land to the Motion Picture and Television Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. The land cost $500,000. Another person who did good deeds was singer Tony Martin. When George Burns and Gracie Allen’s adopted daughter, Sandy, decided to get married, she eloped and got married in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sandy and her new husband lacked money, and while driving around, they saw Mr. Martin’s name on a marquee. Sandy knew him because he had sometimes appeared on her parents’ radio show. They knocked on his door, and he welcomed them. Finding out that Sandy had eloped, he told them, “Call room service and get something. But I’ve got to call your parents.” After talking to her parents, he gave the newlyweds enough money to get themselves back home. (At first, George and Gracie were both angry at Sandy, but they soon accepted the marriage.)

3. Kansas University Spirit Squad Rescues Man Trapped Under Cadillac

On 18 March 2012, the Kansas University spirit squad was in Little Rock, Arkansas, waiting to cheer at the women’s basketball NCAA Tournament game between Kansas and Nebraska. The squad was getting ready to board a bus that would take it to the game venue when members of the squad heard a man shouting for help. They ran over to a Cadillac in the parking lot. The car’s hood was popped open, and underneath the car a man was pinned. He had been working on the car when it rolled off a support beam and pinned him underneath the car. Nine cheerleaders lifted the car high enough that the man, covered with grease and blood, could crawl out from underneath. His injuries were not serious. (By the way, Kansas defeated Nebraska, 57-49.)

4. The Padres are Playing the Padres

In the summer of 2012, more than 11,000 Little Leaguers around San Diego wore authentic Padres uniforms. The uniforms were not all the same. Some of the uniforms were based on the Padres’ current uniforms, while others were based on Padres’ uniforms of the past. Some uniforms were white, some were camouflage, some were brown-and-gold (like Dave Winfield used to wear), some were blue-and-orange (like Tony Gwynn used to wear), and some were based on the 1948 uniforms that the Padres wore in the minor-league Pacific Coast League. Here’s what happened. The San Diego Padres offered all Little League leagues within a 20-mile radius of Petco Park the chance to get free Padres uniforms. The leagues could choose from 20 different Padres uniforms of the past and present. The kids—who play T-ball, baseball, and softball—keep the uniforms. Padres president and Chief Operating Officer Tom Garfinkel, who attended a Little League promotion at Petco Park, said, “We had about 8,000 Little Leaguers doing a parade around the warning track before the game, and it occurred to me that almost none of them were wearing Padres jerseys. They had jerseys sponsored by local businesses, jerseys from other teams. And I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if they were all Padres?’” ESPN columnist Paul Lukas wrote, “You don’t have to think very long to realize that this is a win-win for everyone involved: The kids get sharp-looking new uniforms; their parents get to reconnect with old Padres uniforms they remember from years past; the leagues can repurpose their uniform budgets toward other objectives (many of them have used the savings to improve their fields, upgrade their scoreboards, and so on); and last but not least, the Padres generate a huge amount of goodwill while forging an early bond with their next generation of customers. Even local sponsors, who are represented on the jerseys by sleeve patches, are pleased. They’re getting more exposure than ever, because a kid will wear his Padres jersey to school or around town a lot more than he’d wear, say, a Chico’s Bail Bonds jersey.” So how will the teams be referred to? Bruce Bourdon, a San Diego Little League administrator, said, “You can’t just say, ‘The Padres are playing the Padres.’ And we didn’t want to name the teams after the coaches—Bruce’s Padres against Paul’s Padres, or whatever. So instead we’re saying, ‘It’s 1972 home against 1984 road.’”

5. A Big Moment for Dylan Sylvia

A small gift can mean a lot—especially when your favorite major-league baseball player gives it to you. During warm-ups before a July game in Fenway Park, young fan Dylan Sylvia was taking a photograph on his cell phone of his favorite player: Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett. Mr. Beckett noticed him taking the photo and walked over and gave him a souvenir: a baseball. Dylan was very happy, jumping up and down with excitement and showing the baseball to his father. Dylan said, “It was awesome having Josh Beckett come and hand me the ball.” Actually, Dylan was so overwhelmed by the gift that he started crying. His father, Shannon, said, “I was very surprised. I didn’t think he [Dylan] was going to act like that. I thought he would jump around and go crazy. I didn’t think he was going to be so emotional—that it meant so much to him—but it did. It was a good moment.”

6. Mikaela Little Memorial Softball Tournament

On 29 June 2009 in Clinton County, Ohio, Mikaela Little, age 11, died when a motorcycle she was riding on with her grandfather was involved in an accident with a car whose driver was charged with not stopping at a stop sign and with pulling out in front of the motorcycle. To keep Mikaela’s memory alive, her family and other people started an annual memorial softball tournament at Whitacre Park on Ohio 123 in Harlan Township. About the first annual tournament, Kevin Stouder, Butlerville Athletic Association president, said in 2009, “Mikaela was a very special girl who played for the Butlerville Athletic Association on the 12-and-under softball team. She was a member of the association, the community, and of our families. While her passing is a great sadness, we are working hard to keep her memory alive. We also want to assist her family.” He added, “Many of Mikaela’s friends and teammates will be present to celebrate the life of the young girl they know so well, who found joy and happiness on the softball field. Everything that goes into the BAA goes back to the kids of the community to give them a place to play, make friends and stay active. Through this annual tournament, we are hoping to help area families in their time of loss beginning with Mikaela’s family. The BAA hopes to build this fund to also reward our graduating members with scholarships in honor of Mikaela.” Many people are involved in holding this tournament. One such person is Lindsay N. Green. Ms. Green helps in the food booth, helps with the activities brought in for kids (a bounce house), and helps with the raffles. She also wrote a set of instructions on how to hold the annual tournament. Mikaela was 11 years old when she lost her life, and Ms. Green had known her since she was born. The Green family has a very close bond with the Little family. Ms. Green wrote in an email, “Mikaela’s death increased my desire to do better and accomplish something. Losing her at such a young age showed me that this life is special and I need to make of it what I can. It encouraged me to do better in my studies so I could one day have a rewarding education and career. It really helped to teach me to appreciate my life much more.”

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