Your Dose of Dopamine: More Good News from Near and Far

Strict protection laws have benefited these rare Indochinese tigers (photo via Dnp-Freeland Handout/EPA)

Turn off CNN. Don’t look at that push notification from the New York Times. Ignore that tweet from the White House. Breathe, relax, and get ready for another round of happy news from around the world.

Indochinese tigers have long been considered an endangered species. By some counts just 221 remain in Southern Asia, versus the estimated 100,000 a century ago. Countries in the region have long refrained from imposing tough legislation against poaching, and as tiger skins and other exotic goods become more enticing in the region, protections become less tangible. Poachers have long held free reign in the region, but after Thailand recently imposed strict protection laws, the country has seen something remarkable: six cubs from four tigers were pictured wandering the jungle. This demonstrates that strong protection laws against poaching and illegal trading can help to alleviate a species’ chance of endangerment. This all comes with the news that China’s public awareness campaign and subsequent protection laws have seen the demand for ivory decrease.

Remaining in South Asia, local security guard Erwin Macua of Cebu City, Philippines, is approaching his twentieth year serving as a security guard for St. Theresa’s College. While he frequently walks the campus to protect the students, this year he’ll be joining the students, walking the podium to collect his degree. Despite juggling his studies, his job, and raising his three children, Macua decided that his dream was worth pursuing and will graduate cum laude. The former security guard could have decided on a career to maximize his earnings but instead decided to pursue a career as an elementary school teacher, using his experience to highlight the importance of a young person’s studies. While Macua spent all of his savings on his first year at university, he was helped by an anonymous donor who covered his final two years, itself a wonderful display of selfless generosity.

Selfless generosity is not limited to South Asia. Last week London suffered a terrorist attack near Westminster. Ibrahim Dogus, owner of the restaurant Troia located near the attacks, was ordered to close his restaurant but conversed with emergency workers and decided to leave the restaurant open to allow for the workers to keep warm and have a place to eat, no charge. Dogus refused to close the restaurant until all emergency crews and every “last officer was fed.” The restauranteur estimated there were between 300-500 meals served. Incidentally, Dogus told the Independent that he was born into a Muslim family but is nonreligious now.

Troia wasn’t the only restaurant where generosity was displayed last week. While Westminster is a rather posh region in London, Joe Thomas, an IHOP waiter in Springfield, Illinois, showed a different kind of selflessness. Seeing a disabled woman and her partner become regulars at the location, he saw that the man would often let his food go cold while feeding her. Thomas decided to step in and feed the woman, and allow for the man to eat his meal before it went cold. “I always see him stop eating to feed her and I was like, ‘Heck if I’m not doing anything why don’t I go feed her so he can eat and everyone can be happy?’” the waiter told CNN affiliate WICS. Thompson’s story and photo went viral, eventually leading to a job offer to become a nurse. “I am out there to help anyone if I can, don’t really look for anything in return, just have a good day and that’s it.”

Carter Blanchard, an eight-year-old boy from Arkansas, lost a lot of confidence due to a rare skin condition called vitiligo, and he felt like none of his peers understood it. Carter’s mother stumbled upon a Facebook picture of Rowdy, a dog that also has vitiligo. Striking up a long-distance friendship with Rowdy and his owner, the family could not afford to pay for the expensive trip to Rowdy’s home state of Oregon. Local KATU viewers in Arkansas were so touched by Carter’s story, they crowdsourced funds that allowed for Carter and his mother to fly to Oregon to meet Rowdy. The two hit it off immediately, with Rowdy loving Carter “just as much as Carter loves him.” Carter said that he hopes Rowdy grows a few spots on his back so that the two can be even more alike.

In these times, many people wonder “what can I do to help?” Or they’ll read columns like these and see that some of the good deeds have been carried out, or exist in countries unreachable. But I want to give you a tangible deed. Aaron Stamper is a fifteen-year-old Kentuckian currently battling cancer who made a wish for his upcoming sixteenth birthday: a large mailbox for birthday cards. Aaron likes to collect the cards, hoping to make a scrapbook later in life. After State Trooper Robert Purdy built and put up the large mailbox, Aaron’s mother stated that each card gives him strength in his fight. If you would like to send a birthday card, a get-well-soon card, or any other card, the address is: 2795 Pea Ridge Road, Irvine, KY 40336.