Week 47: Altruistic Stories from the BSU Peace Center

April 24, 2021

For the 47th consecutive week, the Center for Peace & Conflict Studies has compiled a list of acts of kindness and peace. The initiative began as a response to COVID-19 and the racism pandemic but has broadened to include any act of compassion or service to others. Please share these stories. If you have stories of positive acts people/organizations are taking and you would like to share them, please email them to Brandon Miller at peacecenter@bsu.edu. All the stories starting from week 1 are available online. Additionally, you can follow the Peace Center on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) at bsu4peace.

Railway Employee Narrowly Saves Fallen Boy from Oncoming Train

Earlier this week, a 6-year-old boy lost his balance and fell onto the tracks in front of an oncoming train at a railway station in Mumbai. His mother was nearby and knew he had fallen, but her visual impairment prevented her from intervening.  Luckily for the family, Mayur Shelke, an employee of the station, saw the impending tragedy and sprung into action. Although the train was just a few feet away from the boy, Shelke jumped on to the track and lifted the boy back onto the platform before pulling himself to safety. A now-viral video shared by the Ministry of Railways shows the train passing merely two seconds after Shelke exited the tracks.  Shelke, who is a new father, described feeling a panic for the boy and his mother, “My child is the apple of my eye,” he said. “I just felt something stir within me and I rushed without thinking twice.” To reward Shelke for his brave service, the Ministry of Railways offered him a monetary reward of 50,000 rupees (approximately $667).

Source: Good News Network - https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/indian-rail-worker-mayur-shelke-donates-money-to-boy-saved/

Barista Helps Deliver a Baby Boy in a Starbucks Bathroom; 20 Years Later, the Pair is Reunited

Nearly 20 years ago, in August of 2002, fate made another unlikely hero out of Griffin Baron. At the time, he was a 21 and working as a barista at Starbucks. One day, while working his shift, a woman, Lisabeth Rohlck, entered the store; she was 37-weeks pregnant and experiencing stomach pain, so she bought a bottle of water from Baron and headed directly toward the establishment’s bathroom. Shortly thereafter, Baron heard Lisabeth’s screams through the walls. Another customer went to check on her and rushed out with the news: she was in labor and well on her way to giving birth. Less than 5 minutes later, Lisabeth had a new baby boy, Jonathan, and the EMTs had arrived. But Baron continued to think about that day often. “I thought about him constantly,” Baron said. “What type of person he turned out to be, if he was a funny little kid…” So he did some searching for the family online. He learned from a GoFundMe page that Lisabeth had died 10 years later of breast cancer and the father died in 2020. He left a comment on the page mentioning who he was. Eventually Jonathan’s aunt connected the pair and the two met for coffee at the Starbucks location where Jonathan was born. Jonathan says he always enjoys telling the story of his birth because it reminds him of his mom. “She would always tell me the story and would say how insane those next few weeks were for her,” Jonathan said. And when he tells the story to a Starbucks barista on his birthday, he occasionally scores a free drink.

Source: Good Morning America - https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/family/story/teen-born-starbucks-reunites-barista-helped-deliver-76977036

Homeless Man Receives $17,000 from a Complete Stranger After Videos of Their Interactions Go Viral

We have a third unlikely and life changing pairing to share with you this week: Mike and Phillip recently struck up a friendship after meeting at a gas station in New Haven, CT. Phillip, 24, had quit his job as a bank analyst shortly before and was living out of his car so that he could travel. Mike was homeless out of necessity and had been pumping gas and cleaning car windows to earn enough to support himself and his girlfriend. Although Phillip first refused Mike’s offer to clean his car windows, he eventually offered to buy Mike a sandwich and sit for a while in his car so that Mike could get out of the sub-freezing weather. The two hit it off. They had both experienced hardships and had lost parents earlier in their lives. Phillip said “we were two sides from a different coin. We both came from struggling backgrounds and at some point I decided to reconnect with my family…he didn’t – we saw commonalities until that split.” Phillip, who had been creating content for his various social media channels, began recording their interactions wherein the pair got to know each other, and the videos went viral. Viewers reached out to Phillip, asking how they could help support Mike, so Phillip began to collect donations. Soon, he had amassed $17,000! He withdrew as much as he was allowed to on short notice - $1,000 – and presented it to Mike, who was overwhelmed. Later, Phillip presented Mike with the rest of the sum. For both men, the experience has been lifechanging. For Phillip, it was his dream to be able to provide support to someone in need. For Mike, the sum has allowed him to work with financial advisors and buy clothes, food, and a phone. He is now in the process of obtaining a social security number, a birth certificate, and applying for low-income housing.

Source: Metro - https://metro.co.uk/2021/03/26/moment-homeless-man-finds-out-strangers-had-raised-12400-for-him-14311853/#:~:text=A%20homeless%20man%20was%20given,New%20Haven%2C%20Connecticut%2C%20USA

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