My two cents: We sure could use a little good news

Anne Murray sang a song which was released in her then-newest album back on September 1983. The title song of the album “A Little Good News” became another major hit, in her large collection of hit songs. That song is as relevant today as it was 34 years ago.

In the first verse Anne sings: “I rolled out this morning Kids had the mornin’ news show on. Bryant Gumbel was talkin’ ‘bout the fighting in Lebanon. Some senator was squawkin’ ‘bout the bad economy. It’s gonna get worse you see, we need a change in policy. There’s a local paper rolled up in a rubber band. One more sad story’s one more than I can stand. Just once how I’d like to see the headline say “Not much to print today, can’t find nothin’ bad to say”, because Nobody robbed a liquor store on the lower part of town. Nobody OD’ed, nobody burned a single buildin’ down. Nobody fired a shot in anger, nobody had to die in vain. We sure could use a little good news today.” Here’s the Youtube link if you’d like to hear Anne Murray sing this song: youtube.com/watch?v=HQYS8gRL7zw

So, today I thought I’d share some positive news stories, to give you a break from the usual.

First story comes from Lansing Michigan where Lansing Police Officer Trevor Arnold bought a local woman, Jo Meade, a 2007 Ford Taurus so that she’d not have to pedal a bicycle 16 miles round trip from her home to her job, which takes her an hour each way. On bad weather days, she takes a two-hour bus trip, each way, using three buses. That sure doesn’t say much for their local mass transit system where it is faster to pedal a bicycle than take the bus. Ms. Meade is a dish washer at a local restaurant in Okemos Michigan. Officer Arnold delivered the car to Ms. Meade, but it wasn’t just his kindness that made this possible. Officer Arnold had help from the Kia of Lansing dealership and a number of folks on the Lansing City Council, who also pitched in funds, to help him accomplish this act of kindness.

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Our second positive news story comes from New York City, where an 8-year, fourth grade boy, from the upper New York State town of Washingtonville, found a wallet containing $1,700. The boy, Frankie Burns, gave the wallet to his father, who used the identification card in the wallet so they could find the owner. The man said that he’d recently been released from the hospital, after a mugging, and had dropped the wallet after the attack. He needed that cash for his rent. Frankie Burns said that the man gave him $100 for his act of kindness.

Our last positive news story comes from Billings, Montana where the police there, last Wednesday, were doing something a bit unusual. Normally if you get pulled over for a minor traffic violation, you get a ticket. Last Wednesday, the Billings police instead of giving folks a ticket for a minor traffic violation, like a broken tail light, they did something different. On this particular day, after asking for a driver’s license and registration, officers returned to their patrol cars to scan for any outstanding warrants. If everything checked out, they returned with a written warning and a frozen turkey in hand. The turkeys were donated by Steve Gountanis, a local business man, who asked traffic enforcement officers to distribute them ahead of Thanksgiving.

It’s nice to hear about how every once in a while, people can do something that makes someone else’s life just a bit better. A simply act of kindness can make a major difference in a person’s life. Sadly, we read, hear, and see so much negative news where the majority of folks are NOT doing a simply act of kindness, but instead are being sarcastic, rude, snarky, violent, etc. The news business, sadly does report far more negative news than positive news for two reasons. The first is, negative or bad news sells more papers and gets better ratings on the radio and TV than good news. The second reason is, there are far more negative news stories out there than positive stories. The result of this is that we start thinking that being sarcastic, rude, snarky, and violent is what it should be. We forget that each of us can treat each other with an act of kindness. We don’t need to be rude, snarky, sarcastic, and definitely not violent. I don’t know of anyone, who doesn’t appreciate anytime someone does an act of kindness towards them, yet we somehow forget to pass on an kind act towards others.

So, while you are enjoying the pleasures of the holidays, take a moment to reflect on the acts of kindness given to you this past year, and more importantly, how you could be passing on acts of kindness to the folks you come across in your life. That would indeed be giving all of us a little good news each day.

Mike Cannatelli’s column appears every other week in the print edition of the Avon Grove Sun and Kennett News, and occasionally in the online editions.