By day, Austin Perine is a mild-mannered 4-year-old from Birmingham, Alabama. But once a week, he turns into this alter ego: a superhero set on feeding as many homeless people as possible. He likes to go by the name "President Austin."
"That's his idea of what the president is supposed to do," said TJ Perine, Austin's father. "I was like, buddy, you have no idea, but hey, I'm going along with it."
TJ says this all began when they were watching a TV show about pandas. It showed a mama panda abandoning a baby, and TJ told his son the cub was now homeless.
"He says, 'What's homeless?' I said, 'It's when you don't have a home and sometimes you don't have mom or dad around,'" said TJ.
That's when Austin asked: are people homeless?
Austin Perine has made it his mission to hand out food to those who need it
Once Austin learned some people are homeless -- and some are hungry -- he launched this caped crusade. Told his mom and dad that he wanted all his allowance and money they would spend on toys to go toward chicken sandwiches instead.
After he gives out each sandwich, he gives each person a bit of advice. "Don't forget to show love," he tells them, and most do, immediately.
Raymont Baugh says this kid gives him hope. Everyone who meets Austin leaves with hope. That's why, with any luck, someday "President Austin" won't be a superhero anymore, he'll just be a president.
I saw this gentleman, Tim, in Boston's Logan airport with the sister he'd been visiting. It appeared he was both deaf and blind, as I observed her signing into his hand for him to feel her words. When he came aboard the plane he had been assigned the middle seat of my row. The kind gentleman named Eric, who had the aisle seat, graciously gave it up for him. At this point Tim was traveling alone. The flight attendants sincerely wanted to assist him, but had no way to communicate. I watched as they didn't flinch when he reached out to touch their faces and arms. They took his hand and tried so hard to communicate with him, to no avail. He had some verbal ability, but clearly could not understand them. Eric did his best to assist him with things like opening coffee creamer and putting it in his coffee. When Tim made the attempt to stand up and feel his way to the restroom, Eric immediately got up to help him. The flight attendants were talking among themselves and someone suggested paging to see if anyone on board knew sign language. That's when this lovely young woman came into the picture. 15 years old, she learned ASL because she had dyslexia and it was the easiest foreign language for her to learn. For the rest of the flight she attended to Tim and made sure his needs were met. It was fascinating to watch as she signed one letter at a time into his hand. He was able to 'read' her signing and they carried on an animated conversation. When he asked her if she was pretty, she blushed and laughed as Eric, who had learned a few signs, communicated an enthusiastic yes to Tim. I don't know when I've ever seen so many people rally to take care of another human being. All of us in the immediate rows were laughing and smiling and enjoying his obvious delight in having someone to talk to. Huge kudos to the flight attendants of Alaska Airlines who went above and beyond to meet Tim's needs. I can't say enough about this beautiful young woman named Clara who didn't think twice about helping her fellow passenger, and Eric's instant willingness to assist as well. It was a beautiful reminder, in this time of too much awfulness, that there are still good, good people who are willing to look out for each other. #alaskaairlines
6/21/18 Addendum: This has come to the attention of Alaska Airlines and they are in touch with Clara's family, the facility where Tim lives, and Eric. I have been so touched by the response to this story. We are all starving for good news and this was just what we needed. Thanks all!
For several weekends in August, a Pennsylvania man suffering from terminal cancer has held yard sales in hopes of raising enough money to pay for his own funeral.
Willie Davis was diagnosed has stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma — a form of skin cancer caused by an uncontrolled growth of abnormal squamous cells — and had hoped that by selling all of his belongings he could afford to be buried next to his parents in Culpepper, Va.
The 66-year-old U.S. Navy veteran had no idea that his yard sale would connect him to two strangers that would change his life.
David Dunkleberger and Ed Sheets came across Davis’ yard sale on Aug. 4, and initially didn’t think much of it.
“After looking over the yard and noticing a little bit of everything, we bought a couple things,” Dunkleberger explained on a GoFundMe site he and Sheets set up for Davis.
When Dunkleberger and Sheets went to pay, Davis asked them to spread the word to anyone else who might be interested as he’s raising money for a funeral.
When Dunkleberger asked whose funeral, Davis responded by saying his own.
“We’ve all thought our lives were bad and we are going thru rough times, but imagine worrying about selling all of your belongings before you pass away, just so you can be buried with your parents,” Dunkleberger continued.
“After thinking about it all day, Ed and I are determined to help this man,” Dunkleberger said. He then returned to Davis’ home the next day to “ask for his permission to help him out.”
After getting to know Davis a little more, Dunkleberger and Sheets created a GoFundMe page. As of now, they’ve raised $36,900.
“It broke your heart, hearing the story, and we just decided we had to do something to try and help him, try to make his life a little bit easier,” Sheets told WJAC.
“He’s done a lot of serving our country, so we wanted to kind of return the favor to him so that, again, his last days could be a little less hectic, a little more peaceful to him,” Sheets explained to the news station.
When the Vet does pass away, the funds raised will be provided to the funeral home in Culpepper so Davis can have his wish and be buried next to his family.
Dunkleberger also explained that any money left over will be donated to another veteran in need.
There was a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn to not judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.
The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall.
When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen.
The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted.
The second son said no – it was covered with green buds and full of promise.
The third son disagreed, he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen.
The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfilment.
The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because they had each seen but one season in the tree's life.
He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season, and that the essence of who they are – and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life – can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up.
If you give up when it's winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, fulfilment of your fall.
Don't judge a life by one difficult season. Don't let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest.
A 12-year-old Michigan boy is working odd jobs to raise money for a special Christmas gift: a gravestone for his best friend.
Kaleb Klakulak and Kenneth "K.J." Gross had been friends since second grade before K.J. died in May of congestive heart failure after years of chemotherapy to fight leukemia, The Detroit News reported .
K.J. was buried in a family plot at Detroit's Elmwood Cemetery. But K.J.'s mom couldn't afford a grave marker, so Kaleb has been raking leaves, collecting bottles and soliciting PayPal donations on social media to help raise $2,500. He's raised $900 so far and given the money to K.J.'s mother, LaSondra "San" Singleton.
"I love Ms. San," Kaleb said. "I was sad she couldn't afford it. I wanted people to be able to find (K.J.'s grave) when they went to see him."
Kaleb's mom, Kristy Hall, helped him get started with the fundraising effort.
"I really think this is a great thing for Kaleb to focus on and help him with his healing as well as K.J.'s mom, who misses her baby and has to visit an unmarked grave," Hall wrote in a Facebook post about Kaleb's goal.
Singleton said she's overwhelmed by Kaleb's actions and love for her son, even after his death. She said the boys "were kindred spirits; they were like brothers."
"It just speaks volumes to the type of people that they are, and it speaks to the type of person that K.J. was — he impacted people to where they want to do this for him," Singleton said.
It had been cloudy, chilly, rainy and gray for three days. It was November. The colorful Autumn leaves had reached their peak and were now falling fast. The hillsides were dotted with the skinny skeletons of bare trees. I pulled my jacket tighter around me as I walked through the gusty winds and saw the leaves swirling to the ground. I tried to smile but couldn't. In spite of delightful intentions the dark, dreary days were dragging me down.
I walked on through the wet leaves while my shoes slowly got soaked. My cold toes didn't bother me as much as my damp spirits. My body was tired. My energy was low. And my soul seemed weary as well. Suddenly, though, I felt something warm. A break in the clouds had appeared and sunbeams were streaking through it down to the earth once again. I closed my eyes and turned my face to the sweet sunshine. It's warmth washed over me. It was like getting a kiss from Heaven. I looked around and saw the remaining leaves on the trees sparkling in the sunlight. It made their colors even more bright and beautiful. I felt my spirits rising again as well. I smiled and thanked God for this everyday miracle. Those few minutes of light had filled me with joy. I felt renewed, ready to bring light and love to the world myself once again. I walked back home grateful to God and amazed at what a little break in the clouds can do.
In our lives here we all are faced with times when the world seems cold, dark, and gray. It is in these times when God calls on us to break through the clouds ourselves and share our light with the world. It doesn't take much either. A simple hug, a kind word, a caring note can warm and uplift another's spirits. A helping hand, a shared smile, a tiny act of love can shine light into another's heart. When the gray days come then don't just sit in the dark. Break through the clouds! Share your love! Let God's light shine through you!