Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Maybe Life Is Worth Living After All

People ain't so bad, are they? Amid all the bad news we're assaulted with daily, there are some stories which will restore your faith in humanity. 

First there was Harold Jellicoe Percival, the war veteran who died in a nursing home at the age of 99; he'd never married or had children and it was starting to look as if his funeral service would be empty of mourners. So when it was publicised in the local media of Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, the news went viral. More than two hundred people attended the service, paying tribute to a man who had served as a member of the groundcrew during the Dambusters raids. 

War heroes: Not to be forgotten

Then there was the 13-year-old boy with brain cancer who wasn't expected to live until Christmas (he died on 11th November) so his home town (Port Clinton, Ohio) decided to make Christmas come early. "Seriously everyone" participated, singing carols outside Devin Kohlman's home, and decorating the park with festive lights and reindeer. He left hospital so that he could spend his final days at home, and the journey became a parade – "Operation Bright and Loud" – which involved over a hundred vehicles; police, firefighters, and neighbours.Thousands of cards flooded in and Walmart supplied the presents. "He had the gift of being able to see how much everyone loved him," said his mother. "He's reminded everybody all over the world of what's important and that's love." 

The Christmas Crowd ignoring the Autumn sunshine

Another man who knows what's important is Ron Elliott, the lottery winner who isn't giving up his day job. Despite being a millionaire nearly eight times over, he says the elderly residents of the care home still need him; with "old people who rely on you, you can’t just take time off". (If only more people realised that jobs are not just something you do to get money, they're the contribution you make to society. Whether you're making art, fixing cars, stacking shelves or styling hair, you're a little cog in the big wheel that is humanity. This is why I can't get especially bothered about people who refuse to work and live off benefits instead; spending your days watching Loose Women is not exactly the triumph of a life well spent.) 

He even wore his work shirt to collect his prize. Bless.

It's also worth mentioning that Mr Elliot is a widower who lost his wife just a year after they were married, 41 years ago. Are you sobbing yet? (If it's any consolation, he is a father of one and has two grandchildren.)

Lastly, there is the now infamous story of Miles Scott, the 5-year-old with leukemia who asked the Make-A-Wish Foundation to let him be Batkid for the day. (The fact that there is a charity which grants wishes to seriously ill children is pretty heart-warming for starters.) San Francisco apparently jumped at the chance of transforming the city into Gotham and setting up crimes for Batkid to solve. The adorableness of the story has sent it soaring around the internet, attracting attention from Barack Obama and even a personalised theme tune scored by Hans Zimmer.

With each of these stories, it's inevitable that some miserable little twerp will find the non-existent bad side and comment on it. Oh boo, all these people who didn't know an elderly man when he was alive are trying to make themselves feel good by attending his funeral. Someone who doesn't need to work is "taking a job away from someone else who needs it". Lots of children who are sick don't have whole towns turning out to make them happy... To which I say; STFU. Choose to be happy that good things happen instead of trying to find the negative in everything. We have plenty of bad news, let's enjoy it when positive stories actually make the news, and accept the fact that life is pretty cool sometimes.

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