As we come to the end of another year, let's celebrate all the extraordinary people, events and milestones that made 2013 absolutely amazing. Sit back and smile as we count down our ten favorite Good News stories that showed us what a wonderful world we live in.
Jessica Eaves10. Woman Buys Groceries for the Man Who Robbed Her
We broke the story of Jessica Eaves from Guthrie, OK, a woman who did an amazing thing for the last person you'd expect.
This mother of four was at a grocery store when her wallet stolen by a stranger. Instead of turning him in, she confronted him, and offered to pay for his groceries if he returned her property. He did, and was extremely grateful and apologetic. She spent $27 on his groceries, which included bread, milk, cheese and soup. "The last thing he said was, 'I'll never forget tonight. I'm broke, I have kids, I'm embarrassed and I'm sorry,'" she said.
Jessica credits her father for teaching her to "always, always be kind" and help those who are in need. We applaud her for looking past someone's bad behavior to see someone worth helping.
9. Tom Brady and Ellen Celebrate Two Young Boys and Their Act of Kindness
Ellen loves to support people who do good deeds, especially young kids like Danny and Tommy who made it a point to stand up to bullies.
In November, Tommy, 10 and the quarterback of his elementary school's football team, heard that their water boy Danny, 6, was being picked on for his speech impediment and for wearing ties and jackets to school. Tommy recruited his fellow teammates, and they all showed up to Danny's school dressed exactly like him to show the bullies it was time to leave Danny alone.
Because she wanted to reward their commitment, Ellen called up her friend Tom Brady and asked the football star to show the two boys what their good sportsmanship earned them: tickets to a Patriots game and Hall of Fame ceremony! Needless to say, they were ecstatic.
8. If You Want to Stay Married for 75 Years, Do What This Couple Did
We almost thought romance was a thing of the past until we read the story about this couple's 75-year marriage.
Morrie and Betty met in 1938 and have been together ever since. They share a sense of humor, appreciation for life, and appropriate level of stubbornness. They also both love to grab lunch at the Department of Water and Power! We could all learn a thing or two from these doting lovebirds.
7. This Teen Will Stop at Nothing to Cure Pancreatic Cancer
There are brainchildren and then there is The Brainchild. Jack Andraka, a 14-year-old scientist, took it upon himself to completely change the process for detecting pancreatic cancer so it could be diagnosed when there was a 100 percent chance of survival. Prior to Jack's invention, it could only be detected when there was a two percent chance of survival.
Take that, evil tumors! That's why they call him "Cancer Paper Boy." Jack is changing the world, and leading the way for others to follow suit. Hats off to him!
6. If You Ever Doubted the Power of Social Media, You Won't When You Hear This Dying Man's Tale
When 3,500 people around the world took pictures of the sunset to fill the walls of a dying man's room, the sky took a more beautiful shape.
After discovering his 63-year-old father, Brian Curtis, had lung cancer with only six months to live, Brandon Curtis, 29, launched a campaign across social media to bring happiness and inspiration to his dad's final days. He created the hashtag #SkyBluePink, his father's favorite color, and asked people to post a note, card or photo in Brian's honor.
Thousands of people did, and though Brian has since passed, the campaign lives on in his honor. #WeLoveIt
5. Waitress Pays for Government Workers' Meal and Gets Huge Rewards
Sarah Hoidahl didn't expect anything when she paid for the meal of two furloughed government workers. She just thought she was doing the right thing for two people directly affected the government shutdown. The New Hampshire waitress soon discovered that even the simplest act of kindness can yield unexpected rewards.
Sarah appeared on "Ellen" to tell her story, and she was repaid the $27.75 she spent on her customers' meal… and $10,000 more. A few weeks later, Ellen caught up with Sara, and surprised her with a brand new car! Incredible things can happen with the smallest gesture.
4. Woman Has a Dance Party Before Her Double Mastectomy
Deborah Cohan, 44, showed the world that going through something scary doesn't have to take the joy out of your life. The physician and OBGYN was diagnosed with breast cancer in September, and used dance as a way to keep her spirits up. Right before undergoing her double mastectomy, she kicked off a dance party with her medical staff set to Beyoncé's "Get Me Bodied."
"I've always wanted to be in a flash mob and I wanted to do it in the OR with the people who are about to perform surgery on me, so we all have this great experience together," she said.
3. Marriage Equality Makes Huge Strides
2013's landmark year for gay rights began in January when President Obama decreed that "Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law" in his inaugural address. Since then, the fight for marriage equality has gained incredible momentum.
Ten states allowed gay marriage this year, more than doubling the number from only a year ago. The Defense of Marriage Act was finally struck down by the Supreme Court, allowing gay marriages to be recognized by the federal government. Four months later, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first Supreme Court justice to officiate at a same-sex marriage.
That's not all - the Senate approved a gay rights bill that would outlaw workplace discrimination based on sexual preference and gender identity, and a congressman running for governor of Maine proudly came out as gay during his campaign.
Who knows the great leaps forward proponents of marriage equality will reach by this time next year.
2. Pope Francis Transforms the Church
The first non-European Pope in history, Pope Francis has put a friendly new face on the Catholic Church and has encouraged Christians all over the world to rethink what's really important in life. He criticized the Church's obsession with condemning abortion and homosexuality, and critiqued the rampant "idolatry of money," urging politicians to guarantee citizens "dignified work, education and healthcare."
"The Pope of the Poor" is definitely living up to his nickname, as it was discovered he was sneaking out of the Vatican at night in disguise to help care for the homeless. No wonder this Pope was named Time's Person of the Year.
1. Batkid: The Story of a 5-Year-Old Who Took Over San Francisco
As if he needs any introduction, Miles Scott, the 5-year-old known by most as "Batkid," saved San Francisco in November, and subsequently captured the hearts of the entire world. Miles lives in the Bay Area, and has been battling leukemia since he was 2. He was granted the opportunity to star as his favorite superhero for the day by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which managed to morph his home into Gotham City and make his dream come true.
There were bad guys to fight off, a damsel in distress, the one Batmobile, and a hero's welcome waiting for him at the end, quite fitting for a kid who is a hero in real life.
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