As we sort through what our collective new normal will be, random acts of human kindness and other stories inspire me as they continue to emerge as unexpected consequences of this epic tragedy.

Here are a few heart warmers:

Fire department helps save a 5-year old’s birthday

In Eatontown, New Jersey, a 5-year-old’s birthday was canceled because of the coronavirus. A parade of fire engines and ambulances with sirens blaring drove past his home as he stood on the front porch, smiling and waving proudly. (Ashbury Park Press)

Restaurants are down, but not out

Where I live, near Seattle, a new local restaurant saw their business plummet over 70%. They kept their kitchen open to create a takeout service, featuring a community rice bowl made with braised pork, greens, and eggs. Owners Trinh Nguyen and her brother Thai are selling the bowl for just $5. If a customer doesn’t have $5, the bowl is free. The Nguyens know what it means to need. Their parents fled Vietnam, and the family lived in a refugee camp for seven years. (KING 5 TV)

The kindness of strangers

A police officer in Warwick, Rhode Island, Jill Marshall, heard that an 87-year-old woman and her 60-year-old son were housebound and out of food. She offered to go to the store. When they handed her the money she had left, she handed it back. At the local Shaw’s grocery store, the manager kicked in a $25 gift card to help pay for the food. Another shopper overheard Marshall and gave her $20. Then another man stopped and gave Marshall $20 too. (WPRI-TV 12)

Geeks help the rescuers

A team of makers from Boise State University staff and faculty are using 3D printers to create and deliver face shields for health care workers. This is happening across the country as high school FIRST Robotics teams pitch in to make PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) using 3D printers as well. FIRST had to cancel all robotics competitions just as the season had started, but students everywhere are finding ways to use their downtime to pitch in.

Animals return as humans stay home

Wildlife is returning everywhere. From reports of dolphins swimming in now clear waters around Venice, Italy to videos of cougars walking in the yards of folks in Boulder, Colorado, the images are incredible. Wild boars have been spotted in downtown Barcelona, and dozens of hungry monkeys were caught on video running through the streets of Lopburi, a city north-east of Bangkok, Thailand.

Inventors do what they do best: invent

The ventilator shortage is terrifying, yet brilliant minds love colossal challenges. John Dyson, the vacuum cleaner guy, in 10 days invented an easy-to-mass produce ventilator. He will have 15,000 readied by early April and is donating 5,000 of them for international relief efforts. Mercedes F1 engineers redesigned CPAP machines in less than 100 hours, in which London hospitals report helping patients to avoid the need for a ventilator. Ford is working with 3M and GE Healthcare to manufacture ventilators, and GM is partnering with Seattle-based VenTech.

Going big with donations

Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates are teaming up to find a drug to treat coronavirus, with Mr. Z and his wife Priscilla Chan donating $25 million to the cause. The Gates Foundation committed $50 million earlier last month. NFL Saints quarterback Drew Brees made a $5 million donation to help coronavirus victims in Louisiana. Ten days earlier, Seattle QB Russell Wilson and his wife Ciara donated one million meals to help out Seattle area food banks.

Housebound humans help empty shelters

Animal shelters had to close nationwide, but shelters put out a call for help to adopt animals via social media and word-of-mouth. Across America, remarkably, many shelters became empty, able to find homes for nearly every pet. (NPR)

Schools provide free meals to all kids

For many kids, the unfortunate truth is their best meal of the day is the lunch they get a school. When schools closed down, the priority wasn’t just how to teach remotely, but how to feed their students. Across our nation, schools responded in remarkable ways. My wife is an office manager of a local elementary school, and she came back filled with joy from one of the daily lunch distributions – free to everyone. The school district posts a daily menu on Facebook as well as photos of teachers and staff to help the community know, “We’re in this together.” Schools have figured out a safe way to feed our kids’ minds and their bellies.

I know there are thousands of more stories that are happening in communities across America and the world. We’d love to hear more. Please share them with us at WAV Group, as we all need to share these silver lining stories. Hopefully, they help inspire us all to commit more random acts of human kindness.

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