A Dose of Dopamine, Round 2: More Good News from around the World

We’re back by popular demand with the next installment of “A Dose of Dopamine.” In case you missed round one, I wrote about NASA’s incredible work on a limited budget, a Chinese farmer who finally got his law degree after sixteen years and then won a lawsuit against a powerful state-owned chemical company, and a number of other stories to lift your spirits.

So what’s happened in the two intermediary weeks? A lot. And while I’ve found myself checking my phone for any and every news notification of political maneuvers and investigations, gaffes, and scandals—we will not go there. Not here, anyway, because this is the happy place.

Chance the Rapper, an independent artist from Chicago, donated one million dollars to Chicago Public Schools, stating that “our children should not be held hostage because of political positions.” His deed comes at a time when Chicago Public Schools are facing chronic cuts, with students often going whole class periods without teachers. Teachers are losing pensions, students are losing after-school programs, and some sports programs are being cut or limited. While widely known and critically acclaimed, Chance the Rapper is far from the likes of Jay-Z, Beyonce, and other major-label artists in terms of riches. He’s chosen an independent path so as to not be subject to the influence of a major label on his music. His donation has been met with widespread praise, including a tweet from former first lady Michelle Obama.

Recently, a black Labrador Retriever was abandoned at a gas station in Brazil. In a state of panic, the lab, Negao, ran amok looking for his owners. The poor dog was immediately adopted by the gas station owners, who gave Negao all the necessities and even gave him a role in the gas station’s customer service department. Negao won customers over by waiting for them to arrive, and then, according to his new owners, he would “greet them, and win them over with total love and affection.” To make it official, they even gave him his own ID badge along with a cap.

Employee appreciation is not limited to Negao, however. After its most successful year to date, Porsche has decided to give back to its employees, giving each of its 21,000 employees a €9111 (~$10,000) bonus, regardless of their stature in the company. Everyone from designers to engineers, to canteen workers and janitors received the same bonus. In an age where large corporations place profit over the welfare of employees, it’s truly refreshing to see a company give roughly $210 million back to its employees as a token of gratitude.

In North Carolina, ten-year-old Haden offered his own token of gratitude to his brother, Max, creating and selling paintings to the public in order to buy toys for his sibling who is undergoing treatment for neurofibromatosis. Haden, who has autism, finds the painting therapeutic and helpful to Max, whose disorder makes him “very uncomfortable.” Max finds it difficult to get out of bed, which prompted Haden to move his mattress into Max’s room in order to be near him. In a heartwarming development, the demand for Haden’s paintings are far outweighing the supply, and he’s hoping he can catch up with the increasing demand for his art. So far, Haden has made $100, which the brothers recently spent on Legos and other toys. “If he’s happy, then I’m happy,” Haden said.

My Best News of the Week (trademark pending) goes to a disabled goldfish who got his very own wheelchair. Due to a bladder problem, the goldfish would get stuck upside down near the bottom of his tank, making it nearly impossible for him to eat while causing his skin to rub on the side. His owner, Derek Burnett, said that it was getting “so tough, he was trying so hard to live.” Burnett devised a little wheelchair that allowed the fish to swim normally, and after the story spread, other people with disabled fish reached out to Burnett seeking help. Meanwhile, Burnett is taking suggestions for a name for his now-upright little fishy—so far “David Buoy” and “Lieutenant Dan” are the top choices.

Whether you’re worried about the current state of affairs around the world involving unnecessary diplomatic disputes, strange and unhelpful healthcare laws, or a certain individual’s existence in the White House, just know that public schools are receiving private donations from concerned citizens in the face of extreme cuts, abandoned pets are being given jobs and wheelchairs, and brothers are helping sick siblings get through tough illnesses.