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Kind couple reunite homeless man with his family after 20 years apart

“Everyone just stares at me. I’m an educated man, but all they see is a person who doesn’t have a home and doesn’t have anyone to call.”

These were the sad, heartbreaking words Randi Emmans heard as she stepped outside her apartment in Los Angeles to take her dog on a walk. 54-year-old Petro Reid was the man Emmans had just heard talking to himself, and he was in a bad place mentally. 

She called up her boyfriend, John Suazo to jointly hold a conversation with Reid. He was quite surprised at first, because according to him, no one had ever taken interest in him, and he poured out his mind to them. 

For a homeless man, the person they had just held a conversation with was very fluent in expressing himself. 

“He was so impressive,” said Suazo. 

“The whole conversation really touched us.”

From the conversation, they found out that Reid had left his family home in Charleston, S.C., and moved to L.A. in 1999 to live with an aunt. Barely a year later, he found himself going off the rails and homeless due to drug and alcohol addiction. 

He became a popular figure in jail, from where he’d occasionally call home and send letters to his grandmother’s house in Charleston. 

“It was always for petty crimes, usually shoplifting to support my habits, food and things of that nature,” he said. “That cycle continued for years, and whenever I got released, I was right back on the streets.”

For more than two decades, Reid wandered the streets of L.A. in search of his family or some beacon of hope, and for those two decades he didn’t find anything- until Emmans heard him. 

He had lost all hope of living a decent life. He always thought of his family, but the chances of setting eyes on them once again were pretty dim, so he gave up. 

He found Emmans and her boyfriend non-judgmental. They genuinely cared about his situation and that was why he opened up to them. 

“John and Randi saw me as more than what everyone else saw me as — just a homeless person living on the streets,” he said. “They believed in me, despite the situation they found me in.”

After giving him food, water, and other basic human needs, the couple felt they hadn’t done enough to truly take him out of misery and ridicule. Emmans made a post on Facebook, a public plea asking for donations to help cover the costs of a night or two at a hotel, so Reid could get rest up, recuperate, and have decent hot meals. 

Her post received a lot of engagements, and in only 3 days, they were able to raise about $6,500 for Reid. The funds were used to lodge him in a hotel, get him a new mobile phone, and buy him some new clothes. 

Although grateful for all Emmans and Suazo had done, Reid still wanted to find his family. He asked the couple for help and they decided to help him. 

Reid took on the name Franklin Mitchell after an encounter with the police in L.A. He didn’t have his identity card, so the name stood- that was why his family members could never reach him. 

In the search for his family, Reid gave Emmans and Suazo some names he could remember, as well as his grandmother’s address, without knowing if she was still living there or alive at all. 

“Randi and I started plugging away on the Internet, and we were able to find his grandmother’s name associated with the address,” Suazo said. “We called wrong numbers until, finally, we got someone who was his uncle’s ex-wife.” 

This was when all the dominoes started falling in place. 

Reid’s uncle, Pierre Grant was informed by his ex-wife of a certain contact about his nephew and he immediately called the couple to set up a meeting. 

Grant said “For over 20 years, we had been praying and believing that one day we would find him, and the day finally came. This is a miracle.”

He took a flight paid for by Emmans and Suazo to L.A. to link up with his nephew. The amazing couple were also able to pay for a covid-19 test for Reid, Grant, and themselves- all which came back negative. 

The long awaited family reunion came on Friday, August 7. Mia Green, Reid’s cousin was also present for the reunion. It was a touching and soulful moment for Reid as he tightly embraced his cousin and uncle after 20 years of wandering the streets of L.A. 

Now that Reid has finally reunited with his family, he plans to get his life together and back on track. 

“I believe I can help a lot of people that are still in the position that I was in,” said Reid.

He plans to start the next chapter of his education and find himself a stable, paying job.  

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Elderly Couples Food Kiosks Attracts Thousands of Customers After Heartbreaking Video

Jess

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A miracle happened for an old couple in south Delhi this past week. The couple — Gaurav Vasan and Badami Devi own a tiny kiosk where they make home-cooked meals to sell. Daily, they don’t make much with profits spent on buying ingredients for next day’s sales. It’s incredible they’ve done this for 30 years. 30 years of struggle and just being alive.

Luck however beamed on the couple.

Their story went viral last night, getting the emotions of people particularly celebrities, cricketers and companies.

All it took was an Instagram post and a tweet that alerted people to their plight.

It began with Vasundhara Tankha Sharma reposting a video made by a blogger that featured the couple. Vasundhara put the caption “completely broke my heart”. She therefore implored residents of Delhi to “please, please go eat at Baba ka Dhaba in Malviya Nagar”.

That post went viral as it was seen by many. The next morning, “Baba Ka Dhaba” was one of the trending topics on Twitter. As a result, people trooped to the kiosk.

The video by food blogger Gaurav Vasan was the starting point. The couple made open how they were struggling in the pandemic. 80-year-old Kanta Prasad shared that he and his wife began their routine at 6:30am, cooking meals until 9:30am. Dal, Curry, parathas and rice were made in large potions to be sold for ₹30-50 per plate.

Donning an orange t-shirt and wearing a mask, Kanta Prasad in the video was seen stirring a meal that looked like mouthwatering matar-paneer.

When quizzed about how much they make, he shed tears and grabbed the 10 notes that were in his box. That was their profit for that day.

The couple rarely made huge returns and with the pandemic, customers have failed to troop in as before, meaning sales are low. The couple can’t bank on their children either as they get no assistance from their two sons and only daughter.

Hours after the video dropped, with the old man shedding tears making people emotional, the video garnered thousands of retweets and likes. Some made offers to help the couple financially and many made plans to have their lunch at Baba Ka Dhaba. Actor Sonam Kapoor, Cricketer R Ashwin, IPL team Delhi Capitals and food delivery app, Zomato were part of those who tweeted.

“We are very happy with the number of customers that are turning up now. We are grateful for the public support,” said Kanta Prasad. His wife added, “During the lockdown months we could not sell anything. We struggled to survive but today we are flooded with customers. We want to give our blessings to all those who helped us.”

Kanta Prasad was indeed elated with the response as there were huge lines of people at his kiosk. “It feels like the whole of India is with us,” he said to news agency ANI.

People were seen at the front of the Dhaba with placads indicating the address of the kiosk. And also, contributions streamed in for “uncle and aunty”.

“I am sure today #BabaKaDhaba will have more visitors than any other restaurant in Delhi. I don’t know about the money, but Baba will definitely need a waiter this week,” commented one post. 

Gaurav Vasan who made the video was also seen at the Dhaba. “When I came here yesterday I had goosebumps listening to their plight. They had earned barely ₹70 the entire day. They had come at 6:30am to set up the shop and had spent ₹500 but even after lunchtime they had earned only ₹70. So I decided to record and share the video to help them. I am overwhelmed with the kind of support that he has received since then. It is great that there are so many people who want to help this man struggling due to poverty,” he told NDTV.

It’s indeed incredible how social media can assist people in times of need.

Meanwhile, Baba has a new message for all: “It is not just me…there are many others who need help, who lost their earnings.”

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Dog Trapped In 30′ Foot Hole Rescued

Renee Yates

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While riding on a North Carolina road, a crew of mountain bikers discovered a dog stuck in a sinkhole 30 feet down. But how did they rescue the poor animal?

The crew was moving through the sinkhole trail situated at the Pisgah National Forest, which is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) down south of Asheville. While riding, they spotted a dog who could have been trapped in the hole for a few days, a statement by the Burke County Search And Rescue revealed.

Calling for assistance, the crew led rescuers to the trapped dog where they lowered down into the hole, luring the famished dog with some beef jerky. 

The dog was ultimately raised to safety using a harness, according to the rescuers.

A thorough observation of the dog revealed he had no injuries however he was hungry for food and water.

After the discovery, the dog had to be taken to Burke County Animal Services for thorough examination and was thus given the name “Sinker”. Authorities revealed they found no collar or a microchip on him.

Meaning, if those who owned it originally are not found, he might be put up for adoption.

The 7-mile trail is renowned for the big sinkhole

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Pink Dolphins Make Surprising Return To Hong Kong Waters

Jess

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There’s been a surprise return of rare pink dolphins to Hong Kong waters and this might be due to the impact of Covid 19 pandemic.

For a while, these rare pink dolphins otherwise referred to as Chinese white dolphins and pink dolphins have been staying off the Pearl River Delta. This happened because of high speed ferries plying the Pearl River Delta as it’s between Hong Kong and Macau.

With the pandemic halting travels and forcing many to stay at home, the seaways had become serene and largely inactive due to the suspension of ferry activities.

Dr Lindsay Porter, a senior research scientist with the University of St. Andrews told The Guardian and Reuters about the remarkable dolphin emergence in the Pearl River Delta. She said dolphin activity in the area has increased by 30% since March.

“These waters, which were once one of the busiest thoroughfares in Hong Kong, have now become very quiet,” said Porter, who has been studying dolphins for 30 years.

Porter claimed she had been on a study right after Hong Kong’s borders were closed in March. Not too long after she observed the massive activity of dolphins in the waters.

“It was the last week in February, literally the week after the ferries stopped traveling between Hong Kong and Macau,” she explained. “I’ve been studying these dolphins since 1993 and I’ve never seen anything like this dramatic change before, and the only thing that changed is 200 ferries stopped traveling before.”

The Hong Kong locals assisted Porter in her research, providing her with a yacht and a boat. With that help, she and her crew used drones to observe the dolphins and also dropped microphones in the water.

“From visual observations, the dolphins are spending much more time socializing, splashing around on the surface, quite a bit of foreplay, quite a bit of sex,” she said.

Foremost conservation group, WWF Hong Kong collaborated with Porter, noting on its website that there could be about 2,500 dolphins in the Pearl Delta River.

Yet, the group observed there’s been a pathetic decline of young dolphins in Hong Kong’s rivers.

“I sometimes feel that we’re studying the slow demise of this population, which can be really sad,” Porter told Reuters.

The WWF Hong Kong pointed out this pathetic decline could be sorted out by curbing dangers like overfishing, water pollution, heavy marine traffic and coastal development.

“It is necessary to take a proactive approach in order to conserve the remaining population of the species before it’s too late,” the conservation group said.

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Students Of Midway Middle School Establish Program To Assist Retired Military Personnel

Kevin Wells

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It was one of the most exciting days at Midway Middle school when they established their first community service project. Named Blessings in a Bag, it’s a program centered around helping past military personnel at the Veteran One Stop.

“You know, it’s really troubling times right now,” said Mitchell Kronwinkler, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps who learned of the project today. “But this is that little glimmer of light that shows that people still care about people and you can’t beat that.”

The project envisioned by Mr. Christopher Gayton, was included for the seventh-grade’s Community Outreach Class. Flyers were created by members of the class to help publicize to friends and family and to create awareness around the school.

“The project is very important to me because I’ve been involved with service before,” Gayton said. “My soccer coach at University Highschool was Mr. Chapman, and he was very involved in community service. I was taught from a young age how to be involved in the community and how to help others.”

Kylee Gooch and Brianna Kidd who are members of Gayton’s class share an emotional connection to the project as they’re both from military families.

“My Great-Grandpa is 99 years old now,” Gooch said. “I believe he served in the Air Force and his service was very special to me.”

Kidd expressed excitement by being a part of the project as she believes her Grandpa did a good job while he was in the military.

“Some people are in need,” she said. “And so you need help those people because they might be struggling and it’s also the right thing to do.”

With the pandemic restrictions still in effect, visitors won’t be permitted in the school, however donations still continue for veterans at the One Stop in Waco.

If you know a student of Midway Middle School or an official there, donations can be given to them.

“I’ve also been telling my students that service doesn’t have a timeline,” Gayton said. “Students know that once our project officially ends, they are more than welcome to reach out to organizations and continue giving back.”

“I can promise you, everyone, who does get it, they absolutely love it,” Kronwinkler said. “It still shows that there are people that care, whether or not you’re seeing that first hand but that means a lot.

Donations towards this project end on Friday, October 2.

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Homeless Army Veterans Use Urban Gardening To Heal Invisible Wounds

Jess

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U.S. Army Veteran, Craig Browder served his country at the warfront for 22 years.

“No one forced me to join the military. I did it because I wanted to protect people,” he said.

Browder was pretty sure about what he wanted to do with his life since he was young. He knew he wanted to be either a soldier or a police officer- to be in a position to serve and protect his community. 

According to statistics by the Department of Veteran Affairs, less than 10 percent of Americans have served in the U.S. military, but in Indiana, one in three men that are homeless is a veteran, according to Helping Veterans and Families (HVAF). 

After his tours in Iraq, Browder found himself unable to provide basic necessities for his family, and so, he turned to the HVAF for assistance. HVAF is a system that exists to support and provide assistance to veterans finding it difficult to survive after their service. 

“A lot of the times, I feel abandoned, left alone, isolated,” he said. 

As a father, one of the worst things that could happen to you is not to be able to provide for your kids, and Browder had suffered that fate. 

“It’s hard for a man not to be able to pay his bills, take care of his family, keep a roof- things a man are supposed to do,” he said. 

His fate changed positively after finding HVAF, and they have helped him get back on his feet, able to feed and provide for himself and his family. 

“Now, I’m getting ready to move out of here in a couple of weeks. We got our own apartment, I’m back to working. My wife is now working. HVAF has helped us get on our feet.”

Browder also believes that association with HVAF has helped him deal with his episodes of anxiety and PTSD. 

“I can get real agitated. I don’t want to talk. But I come out here, and I just smoke a cigarette and water the plants. It gives me time to calm down and let my mind take over instead of my emotions,” he said. 

HVAF case manager, Amanda Helfrich discovered some idle space in the facility and thought it best to transform it to an urban garden. The residents now find some solace in the garden, and love every bit of it. 

According to Browder, many of the resident veterans and their families eat the food they’ve grown in the garden instead of going to the food pantry. 

At the urban garden, many of the plants are potted. HVAF says it’s a sign that the plants are not meant for the facility, but for the residents to keep with them forever, especially after they leave.

“Most of our veterans are going to move on to apartments, and these are ways that they’re able to grow their own foods at their apartments,” Helfrich said. 

HVAF is nursing plans to expand its urban garden project to consist of more crops, plants, and flower beds, and it is currently looking for donations and sponsors to help execute it. 

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