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Drones, COVID-19, and Girl Scout Cookies: How One Virginia Troop Made It All Work

Nestled in the heart of Montgomery County is Christiansburg, VA. A small town with just over 20,000 within its city limits, Christiansburg was first founded in 1671. Hundreds of years later, the city continues to thrive despite the COVID-19 pandemic that has been wrecking so much of our day-to-day life.

One particular group of Christiansburg locals made it their goal to deliver Girl Scout Cookies no matter what during the pandemic and Google’s parental company, Alphabet Inc., decided to help them out.

Cookies From the Sky

During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed unlikely that there would ever be a time when the pandemic would end. As economies shuttered and businesses quarantined, people had to get creative to continue working their trade. A team of Girl Scouts in Virginia was determined to deliver their famous cookies this past year, but due to COVID restrictions, they knew that this would bed difficult.

Lia Reich is a global communications lead at Wing, a subsidiary of the company Alphabet Inc.. Wing develops drones for Google, and it was through their futuristic work that Thin Mints would rain down from the sky. Lia says of COVID restrictions impacting the Scouts, “Selling cookies outside (grocery stores or shops) is difficult this year.”

According to Lia, sales within the Girl Scouts have dropped more than 50%. Lia would go on to tell the team at USA TODAY during an interview, “It was a natural fit to partner with the Girl Scouts.”

Despite soaring vaccination rates and loosening COVID restrictions, the drone program would get launched through the Wing App and its corresponding website. According to Reich, the plan at Wing is to help deliver more than 3,000 total boxes of cookies via its drone delivery service, if not even more.

For the Girl Scouts, cookie season typically begins in January though flavor availability and onset will vary based upon the region. For the longest time, Girl Scouts have prioritized selling their goods in residential neighborhoods, outside of grocery stores, and even through company programs at local businesses.

Unfortunately for the Girl Scouts, the COVID-19 pandemic would put an end to convention. In March 2020, the Scouts would suspend all of their traditional cookie booths and door-to-door sales campaigns. To make up for this loss in action, the Girl Scouts of Virginia would prepare virtual cookie booths through their online social media campaigns to partner with their drone-delivery methods.

Considered one of the largest girl-led programs for entrepreneurs on the planet, the Girl Scout Cookie drive is immensely important for multiple reasons. Not just an important institution, the Girl Scouts are a defining one.

Take Flight With Wing

While the Girl Scouts of Virginia will enjoy drone flying assistance with their cookie deliveries, they won’t have to worry about running the controls themselves. As the first drone delivery company in the country to earn Air Operators Certification from the FAA in 2019, Wing has used the Scouts delivery service as a way to showcase just how far drone flights have come.

According to Reich, “COVID gave people who might not have a reason to try drone delivery, and we saw deliveries increase by more than 500% in 2020.”

Reich’s assertion was backed by a local survey released by Virginia Tech. The survey found that Christiansburg locals enjoyed the idea of a residential drone delivery company with support coming in at 87% in favor of the idea.

Are you ready to start ordering your Girl Scout Cookies through drone delivery services? How about your next grocery order? As it turns out, the sky might be the limit!

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Father Decides to Set Up Cameras After His Daughter Wakes Up With Strange Marks

Kelly Taylor

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Weird Occurrences

What happened inside the house of an Ohio couple couldn’t have been predicted. Troublesome commotions could be heard in the wee hours while everyone slept. No one thought much of it until something strange occurred.

Darren’s suspicions were initially directed at his fiancé, who suspected of playing a practical joke on him. They staged a camera to sort things out after she denied it ultimately. The unsettling footage, on the other hand, would rock their world.

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Father Takes Action After Daughter was Expelled for Appearance

Kevin Wells

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Enough Is Enough

This father’s jaws fell open as he listened to the scathing remarks from his daughter’s school administrator, stating the reason for his daughter being booted from a prom event. He was at boiling point and had enough.

He thought enough was enough after only a few seconds and was ready to address the situation head-on.

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40 Unforgivable Movie Bloopers

Shannon Jackson

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With that goes with making a movie, especially one for the big cinema screen, it’s not surprising when mistakes occur or edits are need. That’s what the editing room is for to go through the draft film and tighten up all the problems or loose spots in the film as well as to get it within the acceptable viewing time allowed. However, once in a while even the best of movies, including Oscar-winning films, have bloopers in them that just can’t be forgiven. They are such clear violations of quality film-making, people wonder how the blooper got through to the public viewing, and yet it does anyways. Here are 25 examples of film bloopers that never should have been allowed or the detail missed, but in the fictional world of movies they occur regardless.

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Homeless Man Who Helped a Woman Turned Out to be a Hoax

Kevin Wells

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The story of the homeless man who helped out a woman needing gas for her car by donating his few dollars went viral on the Internet and had hundreds of people wanting to reach out and help. They did so through a GoFundMe site that ended up generating a sizable amount of charity and gifts. For those who gave money, it made them feel better instantly. There was only one problem. The story was made up. The man was not homeless, and the woman had never run out of gas.

Instead, the two were involved in an online scam that ended up defrauding folks out of approximately $400,000 in online money gifts. It was not only enough to trigger a serious crime, the pair got themselves charged with a federal conspiracy case and ultimately pled guilty in a New Jersey federal court. Johnny Bobbitt and Katelyn McClure both separately admitted their crime of wire fraud. Given their involvement and degree of actions, Bobbitt is looking at a potential 10 years in federal prison and $250,000 in fines. McClure for her part faces a bigger sentence of 20 years and a similar financial penalty. Both will find out for sure when they are sentenced. In addition to the federal charges, the pair also have a second round of trials to go through with state charges as well. It was a blunt, cold ending to a story and scam that started in 2017 and took off like wildfire, far better than Hobbitt and McClure thought it would.

The story was plausible and reasonable enough. A couple told their story online about how they wanted to help a homeless man who helped them. McClure and her partner posted that Bobbitt realized McClure was in trouble, stuck in Philadelphia without gas. She needed to get home, and Bobbitt, who was nearby, realized the problem. He then gave her his only $20 to buy gas so she could travel again. To show their gratitude, McClure and her boyfriend were trying to raise $10,000 to help Bobbitt out as a thank you. The story took off.

Unfortunately, the media got involved. Loving a story out of the norm with a good newsworthy ending, they showcased the story on TV, and it got big attention. All of a sudden, what was supposed to be a little scam turned into a big one, raising some $402,706 with the added attention in a short three weeks. While Bobbitt did get $25,000 set aside by McClure and her partner, the rest of it was burned like kerosene on fire via clothing, trips, a car, vacations, gambling and more. However, Bobbitt didn’t appreciate the small share, and sued the pair for more, arguing he should have gotten $75,000 at least. GoFundMe got involved by trying to avoid bad press and making sure Bobbitt, the alleged homeless person, got his fair shake.

All of the financial attention caught the eye of the Feds who started investigating McClure. They seized well over 60,000 digital messages between the couple, which included admissions that the whole story was made up – a smoking gun text in the fraud conspiracy. Interestingly, McClure’s partner, although he enjoyed the spending of the money with McClure, was not charged or seen as involved in the conspiracy. The Feds went after McClure and the alleged homeless partner, Bobbitt, for the fraud. And GoFundMe yet again found itself in the middle of a crazy criminal scheme gone public and bad, stealing money from people who wanted to help others online. It turned out to be an odd, miserable ending to what many had hoped would have been a story of human charity done right.

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Shaq Goes On A Shopping Trip, Surprises Stranger By Paying For Engagement Ring!

Kelly Taylor

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Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most famous sports figures in history. Known for his dominance inside of the paint for the Los Angeles Lakers and his undeniable charisma, Shaq would go on to enjoy a Hall of Fame career within the NBA while simultaneously developing his brand into one of the most encompassing in all of the major sports. Now happily retired and ready to sell his smile on television during the big games, Shaq seemingly likes to spend his free time giving fits to those in need and making people smile along the way.

One such experience happened inside of a Zales jewelry shop between Shaq and an unsuspecting (but very grateful!) stranger.

A Gift For a Stranger

Do you remember the day that you got engaged? Do you remember all of the thought you put into the big moment, the care that went into selecting your engagement ring, and the nerves that went into the experience? For this stranger in Zales, the story he would share in the future would blow away even the most imaginative of engagement ring purchases.

Shaq had been shopping at a local Zales earlier this year while looking for new earrings. During his search, Shaq would bump into a kind man who had been shopping for his engagement ring. The two men would share a few words and the sweet moment would end up captured on camera, culminating in Shaq offering to pay for the man’s engagement ring!

Appearing on an airing of NBA on TNT, Shaq would talk about the viral video that had caused so many kind words of support. Shaq described the stranger in the store as “shy” when he overheard the man ask the counter, “How much do I owe to pay off my ring?”

Upon hearing the request, Shaq would step in and ask the shopper how much he had left on the purchase. Shaq would say, “I’m not going to say the amount – but it’s not much for me.”

Man of the People

Shaq and the stranger would end up in a polite argument as the shopper continued to rebuff the offer saying, “I can’t do that sir” before describing the layaway plan he had put in place. Still, the Big Diesel was relentless with his kindness. Shaq told the shopper, “I’ll take care of it. Tell your girlfriend, I got it.”

O’Neal went on to describe how happy the man had been for the gift, admitting that he hadn’t intended for the moment to go viral. In fact, Shaq had hoped the video wouldn’t make it onto the internet. Shaq said on TNT, “I don’t do it for that — I try to do a good deed whenever I leave the house.”

While this moment of kindness may be unforgettable for the stranger at Zales, it is far from the only time that Shaq has stepped up to help an individual in need. Shaq has repeatedly made large and small donations to individuals and charities alike. Additionally, Shaq made headlines a year prior when he pulled over beside a car wreck to help folks who had crashed in Florida. A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s office in Gainesville said of the event, “He didn’t stand around for any accolades, he got in his vehicle and left.”

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