Retiring teacher gets beautiful surprise from 40 years of former students

August 22, 2014 | No comments

When Nancy Flexer retired after 41 years of teaching at Nashville’s Cole Elementary School, Soul Pancake partnered with one of her fellow teachers to get a whole classroom of her former students together.

In an emotional hour, Nancy got the chance to reconnect with students she hadn’t seen in years as they each told her how much she meant to them…

(via VVV)

Humpback whale nearly takes out a kayaker with a “high-five” from its tail

August 21, 2014 | No comments

Writer and animal rescuer Cimeron Morrissey found herself in an unusual situation recently in California’s Monterey Bay. As she filmed a raft of sea lions, an enormous humpback whale suddenly appeared just inches from Cimeron’s kayak.

Fortunately, she managed to continue filming, though not without a bit of PG-13 language…

(via DPF)

In the video description, Cimeron notes…

Humpbacks are graceful and fully aware of their size and of their surroundings, so I wasn’t scared (at first) but I was certainly shocked that he chose to swim right up to me. He dove under my kayak, which was amazing and exhilarating! But then his back arched and came to the surface about 6 inches from my boat, which freaked me out a bit. I wondered: hmmm, maybe this one needs contact lenses? Then his enormous barnacle-encrusted tail came out of the water and was about 12 inches from my face, which pretty much made my eyes pop out of my head. So pardon my swearing in the video – I was rather stunned!

About a minute later, another whale came up and dove down right next to my friends’ kayaks. It was truly unbelievable!

(Note: we were NOT kayaking toward the whales and it is not advisable – nor is it legal – to do so. It’s important to respect whales and just let them be. I think we must have been kayaking atop a huge ball of anchovies since the whales came toward us. Either that or we have serious whale magnetism! :-)

Hairdresser spends weekends giving remarkable, ego-boosting transformations to NYC homeless

August 21, 2014 | 8 comments

On a trip to his native Philippines, New York hairdresser Mark Bustos offered haircuts to street kids and discovered a very fulfilling way to give back using his skills. “The feeling was so rewarding,” he says, “I decided to bring the positive energy back to New York City.”

And that’s exactly what he’s done. On most Sundays, he puts together a minimal, portable salon and takes it out onto the streets where he offers free stylings to anyone who needs them and can’t afford to get trimmed on their own.

Haircuts for the Homeless - 06

Beyond simply providing a basic grooming necessity, Bustos’s haircuts improve life on a deeper level. He explains…

I do believe people with a proper, professional haircut receive more respect than those who do not have a proper haircut. Having a proper haircut also gives the recipient much more confidence.

The transformation in appearance he provides is often wonderfully substantial…

Haircuts for the Homeless - 01

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This intensely heartfelt speech after a devastating loss is what coaching kids is all about

August 21, 2014 | 1 comment

After a heartbreaking loss to Chicago that sent Rhode Island home from the Little League World Series on Monday, Rhode Island coach Dave Belisle gave his team a post-game pep talk that now has the thousands watching it online holding back tears.

This is what coaching youth sports should look like…

Meet the man with ALS who started the Ice Bucket phenomenon…and grab a tissue

August 20, 2014 | No comments

You’ve definitely heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but you probably haven’t heard of Pete Frates. He’s the guy who started it all, though until last week, he’d never actually taken the challenge himself.

This story covers how the challenge got started and more importantly, it tells Pete’s story. It’s a story you don’t want to miss…

Insanely lucky motorcyclist survives like a superhero

August 20, 2014 | 2 comments

Weaving around traffic, this biker was taking it for granted that all the cars he was passing would just stay in their lanes. Of course, that’s not how driving works. Fortunately for him he didn’t die as he learned this lesson.

And not only did he not die, he was accidentally really awesome…