I was trolling the Internet and the AP wire this week, checking out various Web sites through Google News, trying to keep up with what's going on in the world, and I was struck by just how much bad news there was.
Now I know what you're saying. "Nate, that's no news flash. The TV and papers are filled with bad news all the time."
Yeah, I know. But here lately it seems the number of stories with grim headlines has gone through the roof. Between the economic disaster and the apparent increase in robberies and theft that went along with it, it's tough to find something to smile about.
I was in desperate need of some uplifting. So I kept looking until I discovered that Wednesday was National Medal of Honor Day, a day set aside to honor the cream of the crop when it comes to heroes. The president attended the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, where the medal recipients were recognized along with some civilian heroes.
Now I was onto something to lift me out of my doldrums. So I typed in the word "hero" and then the phrase "heroic act" into everybody's favorite search engine. I'd like to share the results with you, and in the process prove that it's not all bad news and maybe give you a few minutes' relief from the Great Recession.
Two towtruck drivers help stop car chase
According to citynews.ca in Canada, towtruck drivers Mike Bailey and Richie Barnes were listening to a police scanner when they heard about an active pursuit. Two suspects had fled in a U-Haul truck, then allegedly attempted to run down a police officer. The officer fired a shot at the suspects, who dumped their truck and attempted to carjack three other vehicles, finally succeeding on the third try.
Bailey and Barnes used their towtruck to block the suspects' escape, then helped chase them down and arrest them. When asked to describe his confrontation with one 6-foot, 280-pound suspect, Bailey told City News: "He was asking me not to twist his arm the way I was, but I told him he's under arrest and to get on the ground ... He was kind of crying about the whole situation."
Students rescue five when SUV goes into canal
Two Palm Beach (Fla.) Central High School baseball players were traveling down a road in Florida on March 15 when they saw the back tire of an SUV blow out and the vehicle barrel through a guard rail and into a canal.
According to the Palm Beach Post, when senior Kyle Finch and junior Alex Anagnostu saw the vehicle roll three times and land in the water, they decided to act. They quickly stopped and went into the waist-high water, helping five people from the vehicle, including a 9-year-old boy and a pregnant woman. The teens then helped dress the victims' wounds and got another driver to call 911.
Men save three from burning home
Right here in our neck of the woods, Sean Martin of Texas and his brother-in-law, Jonathan Buckner were driving by a Buford home when they saw flames. The men called 911 and then went inside the burning home, rescuing a mother and her two children.
'Spider-Man' saves child
According to the BBC, Bangkok firefighter Somchai Yoosabai usually dons his Spider-Man costume to make school fire drills more interesting. But when a special-needs student crawled out on a third-floor ledge, Yoosabai knew the outfit had another use.
When no amount of coaxing could get the crying student off the ledge, the boy's mother mentioned how he loved superheroes. Yoosabai went back to the station, switched to his alter ego and returned to the school, where the boy leapt into the waiting arms of "Spider-Man."
Parrot helps save little girl from choking
A parrot in Denver was given the Red Cross' Animal Lifesaver award after alerting its owner that a little girl was choking.
According to the Associated Press, Megan Howard was baby-sitting Hannah Kuusk but had left the room when Willie the parrot began squawking "Mama, baby" and flapping its wings. Howard returned to find the girl choking and turning blue. Howard performed the Heimlich maneuver and saved Hannah's life.
And now for my favorite:
Surgeon finishes operation while having heart attack
Italian surgeon Claudio Vitale began having chest pains while operating on a patient's brain. According to abc2news.com, despite his staff's urging and the worsening attack, Vitale refused to leave because he said the patient would not recover if he did not finish the operation.
Only when he was through, did Vitale himself undergo an emergency angioplasty to relieve his heart attack.
So see, it isn't all bad. And as for that warm feeling you just got, you are welcome.
E-mail Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays.