Hope and Humanity in 2016

Open your news app or turn on the television news, and you’ll hear a barrage of distressing tales about wars, poverty, crime, and violence. Remember, though, that’s not the full picture. This past year was filled with humanity amidst the difficulties. Unfortunately, those stories don’t always get told—at least not as loudly as the bad news stories. Don’t give up hope, though, or adopt a pessimist’s view. There is enough good in the world to send us into 2017 feeling awash in happiness. Here are just a couple stories that can help restore confidence in the world’s humanity and goodness.

A $750 Tip

A waiter in Texas got the surprise of his life when a total stranger left him a $750 tip to enable him to fly home to Ireland to reconnect with his family. Ben Millar, whose girlfriend Taryn Keith is expecting a baby this coming January, is from Belfast, Ireland. He was having a conversation with a customer about his home country. He remarked to the customer that he yearned to go back home to see his family.

The customer paid his tab—and more. He also left Ben a tip of $750 with a handwritten note that read, “Hopefully, this can get you back to Ireland for the holidays.”

Ben plans to put the money toward introducing Taryn and their coming baby boy to his family in Ireland. For now, Ben and Taryn have been sharing this act of kindness to inspire people this holiday season.

Driving 900 Miles to Standing Rock

The members of the Sioux Nation in Standing Rock, North Dakota and their allies were protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline that will carry crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. The protesters were attacked with rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannons. Scores of protesters, including their horses, were injured.

When Charmian Wright, a veterinarian, heard of the story of injured horses, she began planning to make the 900-mile drive from her residence near Park City, Utah to Cannonball, North Dakota. Upon arrival in North Dakota, she treated the injured horses. She then taught the horse owners and riders how to continue to care for their horses’ injuries and assess potential complications. Wright has returned to her Utah home, but she continues her GoFundMe account to raise money for the needs of the Standing Rock horses.

These are just a couple stories of selfless acts that happen every day and in every corner of the world. They help change the way we look at our fellow men and women and can also inspire us to help others.

Stay positive. There's still hope for humanity.