Am I the only one sick and tired of hearing about all of the terrible things happening in the world? While it’s obviously important to stay informed, it can feel super overwhelming to hear about all the violence, bigotry, and natural disasters every time we glance at the TV in the break room or scroll Facebook. Although we can’t bury our heads in the sand, it’s always important to put a bit of positivity in your day to balance out the bad. This can mean practicing self-care, but it can also mean finding some uplifting stories that prove that humanity isn’t completely doomed.
A hero is more than just a guy with spidey senses who dresses in a costume. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and are from all over the world. Hopefully these 17 viral stories of real life heroism will bring a much-needed smile to your face.
1. Sonny Melton
In the weeks since the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, we have come across many stories of heroism. One that stands out is that the story of Sonny and Heather Melton. The two were celebrating their one year wedding anniversary at the Route 91 Harvest Festival when gunfire rang out all around them. Immediately they tried to run, Sonny wrapping his body around Heather to protect her from harm. Sadly, Sonny was struck by the rain of bullets and succumbed to his injuries. An emotional Heather told The Today Show their story saying, “I lost half my heart.” Even so, he gave his life to protect his love and that’s a pretty beautiful thing.
2. Rebecca Constantino
Thanks to Rebecca Constantino, children across California have quality books to read. The newly decorated PhD was doing various studies in LA school districts when she quickly realized that the low income communities suffered the most in terms of funding for quality books. Constantino quickly began collecting books for the students. To date her nonprofit organization, Access Books, has donated over 1.5 million books to public schools and various community libraries.
3. Anthony Sadler, Alex Skarlatos & Spencer Stone
Can you imagine foiling a terrorist in an attempted attack on a high speed train heading for Paris? Sounds like something straight from the cinemas, but it’s actually a true story. Lifelong friends, Anthony Sadler, Alex Skarlatos and Spencer Stone were on on a trip to Paris in August 2015 when they intervened in an attempted terrorist onboard. The trio were immediately on high alert thanks to some military training, and were then able to subdue the terrorist. The heroic event is now being made into a Clint Eastwood movie where the three men actually get to play themselves on the big screen.
4. Lindsay Padgett and Mark Jay
The Las Vegas shooting was declared the deadliest mass shooting in US history. Thankfully in all of the darkness there were kind souls like Lindsay Padgett and Mark Jay. They were able to help the injured immediately following the incident by loading victims into the bed of their truck and transporting them to medical personnel.
Padgett and Jay have been declared heroes as many of the wounded victims would not have received the life-saving help they needed in such a timely manner if it wasn’t for them.
5. Odin the Dog
Not all heroes wear capes — heck, some aren’t even human! Odin the dog carries the name of a mythological German God and he stays aligned with his namesake’s heroic nature. After the California wildfires broke out, Odin the dog refused to depart the devastation and stayed with his family’s eight goats to protect them from harm. Once Odin’s family returned to their property, they found him and their goats safe and untouched by the fire.
6. Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale
Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with winds sustaining 130 mph. Southeast Texas was ravaged and saw devastation due to winds and torrential flooding rains. Famous business owner, Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale didn’t have to, but chose to open many of his Gallery Furniture stores to the public as makeshift shelters for the victims of Harvey. Over 400 people sought shelter at the businesses thanks to Mattress Mack’s kindness.
7. Roxy Getter
Very few can say that they accomplished the challenging feat of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Roxy Getter, an 8-year-old from Florida is leaving us all in awe of how amazing she truly is. The young girl climbed 19,341 feet to the top of Kilimanjaro in July 2017 on a family trip to Africa. Roxy kept a video diary throughout the journey and described the adventure exclaiming “Today is day 6, and today I, we, finished climbing the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro! I was so tired I could barely even walk.” She is now the youngest female to climb the mountain. #Goals
8. Bishop Curry V
The summer months are shadowed by the awful stories of young children or pets being left in hot vehicles. Bishop Curry V, a young boy from Texas invented a device named the Oasis that will alert parents and authorities when a child is left in a hot vehicle. His invention currently holds an intellectual patent and has raised nearly $50,000 per his GoFundMe page.
Anheuser-Busch has long been known as a hero to the beer lovers of the world, but recently the beer making mogul halted beer production and sent 155,000 cans of water to Louisiana and Texas. Victims of Hurricane Harvey were forced to evacuate their homes due to historical floods and seek refuge in shelters. The long time beer company has sent over 76 million cans of water to provide emergency drinking water to those affected by natural disasters.
10. Lauren Mesaros
Animal lovers rejoice! Lauren Mesaros recently found herself in the awful circumstance of fleeing the California wildfires. The trailer she typically uses to haul her three steeds would only fit two of her horses. She used some quick thinking and lured her miniature pony, Stardust into the back of her 2001 Honda Accord. Her sister in law posted a photo to Facebook of the adorable pony fogging up the windows of her backseat.
11. Minnie Mouse
Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth, especially for a recent guest at the park. In a recent video taken by nonprofit organization Olive Crest, a deaf toddler can be seen approaching some of his favorite characters. Minnie Mouse then signs “I love you” to the adorable tot and can be seen running into an embrace with the magical mouse. Minnie, you are the real MVP.
12. Stephen Jones
Sometimes the greatest acts of heroism come from the unexpected. On May 22, 2017 a bombing at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena shook the world. Stephen Jones, a homeless man asleep on the street was abruptly woken by the explosions. He ran to assist the injured following the massacre and was deemed a hero by so many and simply replied, “Just because I am homeless doesn’t mean I don’t have a heart.” Yeah, we’re crying too.
13. The Sato Project
A beach on the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico carries the unfortunate nickname of “Dead Dog Beach.” Sate Beach has long been known as a dumping ground for stray dogs and you can imagine how it obtained the nickname without giving all the gory details. The Sato Project is an organization that is dedicated to rescuing those abused and forgotten dogs who are dumped on this dreadful beach.
14. The Peurto Rican Mailmen
Speaking of Puerto Rico, Hurricane Harvey was not the only storm to cause mass devastation this season. Just after Harvey, Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on Peurto Rico and to this day the most people living there do not have power. Without electricity, communication has become nearly impossible. Talk about a throwback — Puerto Ricans now are relying on snail mail to communicate with loved ones. Many of the physical post offices have been destroyed, but the services are still operating because they’ve put tents in their places. Despite all the damage, mailmen and women are out there delivering news and care packages to the citizens. Not just that, they’ve also been collecting information about who needs medical attention where the hospitals are destroyed and helping them get the help they need.
15. Stan Hays
Holding the title of Grand Champion pitmaster is an achievement any barbecue-loving man would be proud to have. Holding the title and also using your skills to help those affected by natural disasters is really a true act of heroism. Stan Hays and his organization Operation BBQ Relief have responded to nearly 50 natural disasters across the United States, providing food and nourishment for victims. According to their website. they have impacted 24 states and served over 1.7 million meals.
16. Sunshine Oelfke
Michigan has a little extra sunshine thanks to a five year old girl who donated money from her piggy bank to the kids in her class who could not afford milk. Sunshine Oelfke’s good deed has not gone unnoticed, either, as her grandmother Jackie recently started a GoFundMe page to provide milk to the students in the class. It has raised over $12,000.*Awwwwww*
17. Josh McGill
In June 2016 a horrific mass shooting took many innocent lives at Pulse, an LGBTQ Orlando nightclub. On the night of the shooting, Joshua McGill was visiting the club with his roommates when gunfire broke out. Josh narrowly escaped out a back patio exit to seek cover from the violence where he saw Rodney Sumter, a Pulse bartender. Rodney was badly injured, mumbling and wandering the parking lot. To stop the bleeding, Josh created a t-shirt tourniquet and rode with him to the hospital to help keep him conscious. A true hero to a complete stranger.