Monday, September 30, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...



Elinor Otto a/k/a "Rosie the Riveter" is still going strong helping to assemble airplanes at 93!


LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Remember that cliche 'Age is just a number?'  Meet Elinor Otto, 93, who gets up at 4 a.m. each morning and drives to the Boeing plant in Long Beach, Calif., where she inserts rivets into the wing sections of C-17 cargo planes.  It's a job she's been doing at various aircraft assembly plants since 1942.
That's right -- Otto was one of the original "Rosie the Riveter" girls, celebrated in the popular song of the same name, who supported the war effort by filling tens of thousands of jobs because able-bodied men had joined the fighting overseas.
"We were part of this big thing," Otto said. "We hoped we'd win the war. We worked hard as women, and were proud to have that job."
Money was part of it, of course; jobs were hard to find in wartime. But it wasn't much money -- Otto's first job paid 65 cents an hour, about $38 less than she makes now, and she had to pay $20 a month for her young son’s childcare. But she earned enough to pay the bills, and soon discovered that she enjoyed the work-- the routine, the camaraderie, the chance to go to a dance hall at week's end and kick back with her pals from the plant. 
She was a great beauty then, the photos she shows are of a stunning brunette on the dance floor. 
"It was ballroom dancing," she remembered, her blue eyes flashing at the memory. "I liked that."
At war's end, the "Rosies" disappeared.
"Within days we were gone," she said.
And with bills still to pay, Otto tried other lines of work.  But office jobs didn't appeal to her, and a short stretch as a carhop fell by the wayside when they told her she had to do the job on roller-skates.  A stroke of luck though: Southern California had come out of the war with a booming aircraft industry and Otto's skill set -- she was an ace with a rivet gun -- brought her back into the game.

Homeless man that chose computer lessons over $100 in cash is about to launch his first app...

A New York homeless man is about to launch his own app after learning how to code through the generosity of a software developer who passed him every day during his commute.
First announced on Medium last month by software developer Patrick McConlogue, 23, ‘Finding The Unjustly Homeless and Teaching Them to Code’ came to him after seeing the homeless man, who goes only by Leo, on his way to work every day.
The original proposal was this: Mr McConlogue offered the homeless man two choices - $100 or a free laptop, wireless hotspot, coding books and daily coding lessons. Leo took opportunity over cash.
‘I can go through $100 in a few days. In a week,’ Leo told Business Insider. ‘But he told me I could have a laptop and learn how to do something and I figured it could turn into something more.’
‘It's really hard to convince people that you are not a bad person, or a drug addict or a crazy,’ he added.

22 year old HIllary Sadlon makes a difference on her birthday...


This past July, to coincide with her 22nd birthday, Seton Hall nursing student HIllary Sadlon embarked — with her boyfriend Evan Reed and best friend Meghan Cox — on a two-state, five-city, 10-hour goodwill tour.

"This goes back to me being a nursing major," she said. "I know the importance of the healthcare aspect. One of their problems is getting the younger generation to donate blood. Out of all the people able to donate, only 5% actually do. So I was very happy to do this for them."
As the day progressed, Sadlon was also happy to pass along water, water ice, ice cream, brownies, flowers, gift cards and inspirational greeting cards to a range of individuals including neighbors, bank tellers, gas station attendants, her mailman and her mother.
She also delivered donuts to a local police station. She brought balloons to special needs children.
And she donated paper towels, laundry detergent, hand soap, bleach, dog food, cat food, bird food, fish food and rabbit bedding to the nonprofit shelter Common Sense for Animals. Her animal aid was personally fulfilling, but one of her favorite moments of the day involved pure human interaction.
"My boyfriend and I went up to an elderly couple at Walmart and asked to load their groceries into their car," she said. "When I explained who I was and what I was doing, they just kept telling me 'May the Lord bless you. There needs to be more kindness in this world. You're so inspiring.' They actually wanted a picture of me and Evan. They're from Florida. I liked that we could spread the kindness to them and they could go back and talk about what happened when they were in New Jersey."
The Florida couple's response mirrored those of many others Sadlon came across.
"When we did the different acts, it was so heartwarming," she said. "I hate to say it, but the way society is today it's kind of hard to approach a stranger and have them accept your kindness. There was an apprehensiveness in the beginning. But every time I approached someone and explained who I was and what I was doing, everyone accepted our kindness. There wasn't one person who turned us down or was confused."
Sadlon's day ended with a surprise for her grandmother.
In the late afternoon, she stopped by her grandmother's home unannounced with Cox and Reed.
"I love my nana," Sadlon said. "She is full-blown Italian. Whenever you come, she's like 'How long are you staying? Can I feed you?' This time I said, 'Nana, I'm sorry we have to pass on the food, but this is what we want to do for you.'"
The trio proceeded to weed her front yard.
"She's my everything. She's my only grandparent I've had for a while. She's very near and dear to my heart. So to be able to do something for her was really meaningful for me."
Ultimately, the yard work was one of the final entries on a list full of meaning — one she hopes inspires others to create lists of their own.
According to Sadlon, "It means so much when people come to me and say 'I'm going to have my kids do this.' ... I want to get it out there because the more people who see it, it hits everyone a little differently and people go about it in their own way. Hopefully, in the end, it's kind of cliché, but it can maybe make the world a better place."

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...



Good Samaritan steps up to help Marine whose car was vandalized...


On Monday Local 2 featured a story about a former Marine whose car was senselessly vandalized, and now a viewer has stepped up to help.
"We'll make this baby look beautiful for you again," said Nick Tajian, owner of Mason Road Collision Auto Center in Katy.
Tajian was overcome with emotion when he saw Hector Cortez's story on Local 2.
"What this young man has done for us that’s the least I can do for him. I go to bed at night knowing a young man like him fights for our freedom," said Tajian.
Hector Cortez is a retired LCPL with the United States Marine Corp. He served two tours in Iraq and he suffers from PTSD. Cortez saved up enough money to buy his used car for $1,000 a few months ago only to have it defaced by vandals.
Within minutes of his story airing dozens of people wanted to help him.
"The cry for help has been heard," said Cortez.
After a walk around the car, Tajian decides he's not stopping at repainting.
"We will put brand new stripes on. Black out the mirrors, fix the front, make it look beautiful for him," said Tajian.
"I have no idea how I'm going to repay you or how I can thank you any much more but... thank you!" said Cortez.
Cortez is a tough guy, he fought on the front lines as an infantry machine gunner but today he's overcome with emotion.
"It's a great day. I'm sorry; excuse me I'm not used to people helping me. There's no real way for me to explain how I feel. I'm happy, I'm blessed at the same time I'm humbled," said Cortez.
It's going to take about 10 days for the repairs. In the meantime Tajian also provided a loaner car so Cortez could still drive around.

10 year old Tobias Bass reaches out to TV station to help his older brother Tobias who has cerebral palsy...




More often than not, brotherly love is of the rough and tumble variety. For 10-year-old Tobias Bass, the relationship he has with his big brother, Titus, couldn't be more different.
Titus has cerebral palsy, a condition that's left him unable to hear, eat or walk. And while Tobias can't do much to remedy two of those ailments, he's determined to do whatever it takes get his older brother outside running, even though he says his mom "can't afford one of those fancy ... joggers."
"No one has died, and I don't want any money, but I need help," begins Tobias, who says he plans to be a pastor someday. "My pastor said we have to be God's hands and feet, but I'm going to be his legs, too."
Tobias explains he's running a 5K on Sept. 27 and needs a jogger so he can run with his brother. "Can you go on the news and not ask Oklahomans to give me anything, but can someone loan me a jogger ... so I can push Titus in the 5k?"
"If someone can loan me a pusher I will volunteer myself out to any other parents who want me to run their disabled children in a 5k. I can be the legs for more than one kid," he adds.
After learning of the situation, News9 reports they were able to procure a jogging stroller for Tobias from Oklahoma's Assistive Technology Act Program, ABLE Tech. And Tobias gets to keep it.

London's Heathrow Airport goes the extra mile for boy with autism...

Aaran Stewart is a 21-year-old man with severe autism and obsessive compulsive disorder. He has difficulty dealing with change. This should make traveling extremely difficult for him. But thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the staff at London's Heathrow airport, flying out of the United Kingdom is easy -- even when Stewart travels alone.
The airport has made sure that each time Stewart flies out, he experiences identical conditions. This means he meets the same airport staff, leaves from the same gate, and gets the same seats every single time, BBC News reported.
Stewart has had to travel four times a year for five years to attend Boston Higashi High School in the U.S. The school serves children and young adults with autism.
His mother, Amanda, told Radio 4 that without Heathrow's procedures, her son wouldn't even be able to get on the plane. Changes would cause him to panic.
Mark Hicks, Head of Passenger Support Services at Heathrow, told The Huffington Post in an email that the airport takes accessibility very seriously.
"Last year we helped over 900,000 passengers with reduced mobility through our airport," Hicks said. "We believe the key to providing a good experience is consistently giving passengers genuine choice so that their individual needs are met and they feel in control, giving them confidence over their journey."

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...


Utah High School football coach takes a stand and suspends entire team in order to teach them a little bit about life...




Matt Labrum had seen enough.
As the head football coach at Union High in Roosevelt, Utah, Labrum had watched his players receive discipline for skipping classes at school. He'd been more troubled by others who were accused of cyberbullying fellow teens. He didn't like any of it.
So, after a loss to Judge Memorial Catholic High, Labrum told his team that as of that moment, they were no longer a team. All players — 80 in total — were required to turn in their jerseys and all equipment. No one would play football again until they "earned the privilege to play."
"We looked at it as a chance to say, 'Hey, we need to focus on some other things that are more important than winning a football game,'" Labrum told the Deseret News. "We got an emotional response from the boys. I think it really meant something to them, which was nice to see that it does mean something. There was none of them that fought us on it."
The early results, as documented in this terrific feature from the Deseret News, have been remarkable. Players showed up at school the following day — a Saturday — at 7 a.m. and were told how they could re-earn a spot on the team. Teenagers have been cleaning up area streets as part of new team-mandated community service work. They are attending character classes during hours when they previously would have been practicing.

12 year old Jose Montano has brain cancer, but he doesn't let that stop him from helping others..."Think of others and not yourself that much."



SAN DIEGO - A 12-year-old boy is helping others despite undergoing treatment for brain cancer.

While Jose Montaño is getting chemotherapy at Rady Children's Hospital, he is usually not sitting idle. When 10News caught up with him on Tuesday, he was pulling a little red wagon up and down the outpatient ward helping other families.

Jose is a young deliveryman making his rounds on the second floor, delivering toys to sick children and healthy snacks to their parents and caregivers.

"There's a water, so they can drink something … a granola bar, because it's healthy …," Jose said.

Jose said he knows what it is like to be hungry and seeing his parents hungry as they do not want to leave his bedside. So he packs up the bags and hands them out since he knows what it is like.

When asked what he feels like when he can hand that to someone, Jose said, "It makes me feel really good."

Last year, 10News was at Berry Elementary School when Jose arrived for a surprise 11th birthday party. Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he asked to have a new playground built for students at his school.

"Where do you think you learned that from?" asked 10News reporter Jennifer Jensen.

"My dad," Jose said.

"He makes me cry just by looking at him … but it's tears of happiness and of joy to know that he doesn't give up," said Jose's father, Jose Montaño Sr.    

More than two years ago, young Jose was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. His doctor said Jose is an inspiration.

"He is amazing. I cannot believe with everything that he and his family are going through that he finds his strength to do something so altruistic; it's amazing," said Dr. John Crawford, Director of Neuro-Oncology at Rady Children's Hospital.

Jose has this message for other children: "Think of others and not yourself that much."

Courtney Tharp, a 17 year old high school senior with cerebral palsy, becomes Homecoming Queen...



Courtney Tharp’s fellow high school students aren’t at all surprised that she was named homecoming queen this week. They love her smile, her enthusiasm and her upbeat attitude about everything. Who cares if she struggles with fine motor skills or has some speech difficulties?
Diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was 9 months old, Courtney, now 17, found out on Monday night that her fellow seniors wanted her to be their queen. As applause erupted and homecoming court members gave Courtney high-fives, her stunned parents began to cry.
“I lost it!” Courtney’s mother, Amy Tharp of Waverly, Iowa, told TODAY.com. “I was prepared, though. I had the Kleenexes.”
Courtney attends Waverly-Shell Rock Senior High School in Iowa and has known many of her classmates for years. One longtime friend, Kaleb Staack, 17, became the school’s homecoming king on Monday night.
“I was happy — anybody would be — but I was more focused on Courtney,” Kaleb told TODAY.com. “It was such a great feeling when she won. ... She comes to school every day with a big smile on her face. She is happy 110 percent of the time. She loves life, and she makes the best out of everything. She’s a big inspiration to everybody.”
Amy Tharp, 43, confessed that she and her husband John Tharp, 52, had a moment of nervousness when they found out that their only child had been nominated to homecoming court. But a phone call from high school associate principal Jeremy Langner reassured them.
“Jeremy called me and said, 'This is really a genuine thing. They’re not being mean — this isn’t a prank or anything. They really and truly adore your daughter.'"
Tharp said Courtney has benefited from being mainstreamed with more than 700 students at a large public high school.
“Kids with special needs are not segregated like they used to be,” she said. “The kids just know that this is Courtney and this is how she is, and they accept it.”
Waverly-Shell Rock Senior High’s Go-Hawks will play Oelwein High School’s Huskies in their homecoming game on Friday night. Courtney and Kaleb will be present as high school royalty.
“I feel great about it,” said associate principal Langner. “The kids at this school are all different in their own unique ways, but they come together and help each other.”



Friday, September 27, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...



Waves for Water: Pro surfer Jon Rose showing the world that one passionate person can make a difference...



Do the KIND Thing with Jon Rose, Founder of Waves for Water

Proof that a tidal wave of support can start with just one individual, Jon Rose, pro-surfer-turned-humanitarian, does the kind thing for 250,000 people affected by Superstorm Sandy. Founder of Waves for Water, Rose has committed to providing clean water solutions to those who need it most. The organization works in disaster zones and has mobilized an army of travelers and surfers through their Clean Water Courier program. We talk to Rose about inspiring people around the world to make a difference and “plug in the purpose” to their passions. And in our exclusive video above, follow Rose as he checks in on the progress of the post-Sandy recovery efforts in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

French climber finds jewels on Mont Blanc worth $332,000 and turns it in to the police...



Albertville (France) (AFP) - A French climber scaling a glacier off Mont Blanc got more than satisfaction for his efforts when he stumbled across a treasure trove of emeralds, rubies and sapphires that had been buried for decades.
The jewels, estimated to be worth up to 246,000 euros ($332,000), lay hidden in a metal box that was on board an Indian plane that crashed in the desolate landscape some 50 years ago.
The climber turned the haul in to local police.
"This was an honest young man who very quickly realised that they belonged to someone who died on the glacier," local gendarmerie chief Sylvain Merly told AFP.
"He could have kept them but he preferred to give them to the police," Merly said, adding that the climber stumbled upon the box earlier this month and that some of the sachets containing the precious stones bore the stamp 'Made in India.'
French authorities are contacting their Indian counterparts to trace the owner or heirs of the jewels.
Under French law, the jewelry could be handed over to the mountaineer if these are not identified, Merly said.
Two Air India planes crashed into Mont Blanc in 1950 and in 1966. Climbers routinely find debris, baggage and human remains.
In September last year, India took possession of a bag of diplomatic mail from the Kangchenjunga, a Boeing 707 flying from Mumbai which crashed on the southwest face of Mont Blanc on January 24, 1966.
The crash killed 117 people including the pioneer of India's nuclear programme, Homi Jehangir Bhabha.

8 year old Jonathan Bent being hailed a hero for alerting residents to fire - “I don’t like people dying”



An 8-year-old Tennessee boy is being hailed a hero after he alerted residents of a fast-moving fire in an apartment complex where firefighters had to lower two children out of a second-floor balcony to others on the ground.
Jonathan Bent was fast asleep when the fire began in an apartment in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., Wednesday around 2 a.m. and spread quickly through the complex. Jonathan immediately sprang into action and went door-to-door to warn residents.
“He was running everywhere. Knocking on this door, knocking on that door saying help, help fire, fire!” neighbor Sean Johnson told ABC News affiliate WKRN-TV in Nashville.
Arriving firefighters entered the building to rescue two of Jonathan’s siblings, who were still stuck in the apartment. The stairwell leading to the unit was engulfed in flames, according to a firefighter’s helmet cam. One of the children trapped had to be lowered from a balcony on the second floor to firefighters on the ground.
“Two of my sisters went off the balcony because they picked them up and held them on the edge and then dropped them. Then the policeman [caught] them,” Jonathan told WKRN.
Fire officials say the fire began in a downstairs apartment when an elderly woman Jonathan was staying with fell asleep with a cigarette.
Because of the boy’s quick thinking and the rescuers who caught the children, everyone made it out alive and uninjured.
“I don’t like people dying,” Jonathan said. “I just feel like a hero.”

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...



99 year old Iowa woman Audrey Crabtree finally receives her high school diploma...


WATERLOO | Audrey Crabtree has lived a full life, from raising a family to running her own business.
But the 99-year-old missed out on one thing: Graduating from high school. Crabtree dropped out of East High School as a senior in 1932 after missing part of the year due to an injury and providing care for a sick grandmother.
“She had voiced quite a while back the one regret she had in life was that she never had gotten her diploma,” said Shelley Hoffman, Crabtree’s granddaughter.
That changed Monday when the Waterloo Community Schools presented her with an honorary diploma. Hoffman set the process in motion in July by contacting the school district to see about the possibility of honoring her grandmother.
East High Principal Marla Padget gave Crabtree the diploma as well as a copy of her last report card while members of the Board of Education and Superintendent Gary Norris looked on. "And I feel so much smarter," Crabtree quipped as Padget handed her the diploma.
Bernice Richard, the board’s vice president, congratulated Crabtree and told her “we know from your business experience” that she deserves the honor. Crabtree owned and operated Flowers by Audrey for 28 years.
“I am amazed and I am more amazed at all these people,” said Crabtree, surrounded by relatives and others who came to the board meeting for the event. “I didn’t know I was so important.”
Crabtree grew up on a farm and started her education in a one-room school house near Raymond. By the time she was at East High, Crabtree rented a room in a Waterloo boarding house during the winter. That ensured she could make it to school despite the snow and ice.
A series of family difficulties made it hard for Crabtree to stay on track with her studies during senior year, though. She missed "a lot of school" while suffering with whiplash from a swimming and diving accident. "I was in misery for weeks and weeks," she said.

Army Specialist Anthony Garza trades in his fatigues for a coyote costume to surprise his little boy Anthony David at school...


An Army father delighted and surprised the son he hadn't seen in two months when he dressed up as a coyote and crashed the school pep rally. 

For the past two months, E-4 Army Specialist Anthony Garza, 25, has been stationed in Fort Hood, Texas, and has been unable to see his family. His wife, Julisa Marie, and their two children, Aiden Matthew, 4, and Anthony David, 5, live about 400 miles away in Penitas. Garza had recently planned a three-day trip home and wanted to make an unannounced visit to Anthony David’s kindergarten classroom. 

Julisa Marie had contacted Corina Pena Elementary School to organize the reunion and was informed that a pep rally was scheduled to take place last Friday, the day of Garza’s visit. So she and the school principal hatched a plan to surprise Anthony David. Garza would wear the school coyote mascot costume and appear on stage, where his son would be seated for the 9 a.m. rally. 

“When I arrived, I was surprised that seven different local news stations were there to interview me,” Garza told Yahoo Shine. “The plan was to tell Anthony David that he was being rewarded for being a good student." 

As Anthony David waited patiently onstage wearing an America flag-themed paper hat, his father walked out wearing the coyote costume. When he removed the headpiece, Anthony David rushed into his arms. “He was shocked; he didn’t let go of me for a long time,” says Garza, who had also spent 2011 and 2012 stationed in Iraq and Kuwait. 
“I had a great day seeing him,” Anthony David told Texas local news station KVEO. After the pep rally, his father took him and his brother to Chuck E. Cheese’s and the park.
What does Garza have in mind for his next homecoming? He says he's already planning another surprise.  

Playful dog stops a baby from crawling right into ocean...

We sometimes take for granted just how intuitive and helpful dogs can be. They serve as guides for the blind, search-and-rescue officers, and bomb detectors, but they are also fiercely loyal to their owners — no matter how young or old. That is evidenced in a recent YouTube video from Turkey, in which a cocker spaniel shows that it is more than just a playful pup.
On the Kabak Koyu beach in southwestern Turkey, a woman is throwing a ball for the dog while her child crawls around in the sand. Small children are, of course, artful escapees, and suddenly the child is going full-bore straight at the ocean. The spaniel, dropping playtime immediately, races down to the surf and plops down in the sand between the child and the waves, drawing the family's attention just as the adventurous youngster is about to hit the water. One commenter wrote, "Face it. Dogs are better than humans." After seeing this video, it's hard to disagree.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...


Hope and Inspiration: In National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month childhood cancer survivor Martin Walsh wins in politics and life...




Regardless of how the votes are counted or what party affiliation people may support the city of Boston already has a winner.
At age seven, Marty Walsh, survived a rare form of childhood cancer called Burkitt’s lymphoma (Burkitt lymphoma is a form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in which cancer starts in immune cells called B-cells. Recognized as the fastest growing human tumor, Burkitt lymphoma is associated with impaired immunity and is rapidly fatal if left untreated.)  Thanks in part to experimental treatments and extraordinary care he received at Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, as well as amazing support from his family and friends, Martin Walsh is now one of two finalists to become the next Mayor of Boston!  How fitting that this is all happening in September which is officially recognized as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  No matter what happens in politics Martin Walsh is already a winner in life and a story of hope and inspiration to the thousands of children and their families that are taking on this horrible monster called pediatric cancer each and every day...  

"Chocolate Bar" - 7 year old Dylan Siegal writes a book to help raise funds for his best friend Jonah Pournazarian who is battling a rare liver disease - $400,000 and counting!!




When Dr. David Weinstein heard that a boy named Dylan Siegel was trying to raise money toward the rare liver disease Weinstein studies, he mostly just thought the boy was cute. Dylan was only 6-years-old, after all.
But Dylan's best friend had the rare disease, and he was determined to do something about it.
A year later, Dylan, who is now 7, has raised $400,000 by writing a book called "Chocolate Bar."
"Boy, have I been shocked," said Weinstein, who studies and treats patients with glycogen storage disease at the University of Florida. "He's raised more money for this disease than all the medical foundations and all the grants combined. Ever."
As a result, the Global Genes Project, a rare diseases advocacy group, honored Dylan and his best friend, Jonah Pournazarian, with the RARE Champion Award -- which typically goes to grown-ups, Dylan's father, David Siegel, told ABCNews.com.
"Kids can change the world just like any of us," Siegel said.

23 year old tap dancer Evan Ruggiero shows Ellen he still has the moves despite losing a leg to cancer...

Evan Ruggiero lost his right leg to bone cancer in 2010. He'd been studying musical theatre -- singing, acting, and tap-dancing -- at Montclair State University in New Jersey when he had to have it amputated.
Before the surgery, the Star-Ledger reported, Ruggiero, who was 19 at the time, had a message for doctors: "I promised you I'm going to tap-dance again."
He's come through on that promise.
On Friday -- three years after the amputation -- Ruggiero appeared on 'The Ellen Show' to show the country just how well his recovery has gone.
Now 22, he dances on a metal post that his prosthetics craftsman made him.
And when he finished his performance, Ellen had a big (OK, HUGE) surprise for him.
"I know the whole situation prolonged college, and that was expensive" Ellen said, "So our friends at Shutterfly want to help."
Then, a $10,000 check came out.
Ruggiero will undoubtedly continue to inspire people -- those with disabilities and without -- to follow their dreams. Because he faced his challenge and came out on top.
"I'm a more beautiful dancer now," Ruggiero told the Star-Ledger this past April. "I dance for life."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Today's Good Newsz Quote of the Day...



Taylor Swift makes 7 year old Madison Harbarth's dream come true..."If you are lucky enough to be different, never change."




ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -
Taylor Swift fans flocked to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul this weekend to hear the star sing, but one first-grader from Mankato, Minn., got to meet the songstress herself.
For 7-year-old Madison Harbarth, the Saturday night concert is one she'll never forget -- but though the music made for a great night, what happened before the event stole the show.
"She was nice and tall and pretty," Harbarth recalled.
The young student got a personal meet-and-greet with her musical idol, and she admits she was nervous.
"I couldn't really say anything," Harbarth beamed.
Her dream was made possible by the Kids Wish Network. For Harbarth, who was born with a rare condition that caused her spine to stop growing in utero, her biggest wish was to meet the star whose songs she just can't stop singing.
"I told Taylor, 'I wore out your CD,'" she remembered.
On Friday night, Harbarth's mother, Pam, got the call that her daughter's wish was about to come true.
"I had to sit down when their PR person called," Pam Harbarth admitted. "I said, 'Are you sure this is for real?'"
The pictures prove it was real, and they still stun the Minnesota family.
"She made this face like I've never seen before -- in aw," Pam Harbarth recalled. "I think Rick and I were more star-struck because we both had tears in our eyes because our daughter is getting to fulfill the biggest dream of her life."
Swift also wrote a special note to Madison that read, "To Madison: You are beautiful and perfect. Love, Taylor."
Those words are fitting for the girl who gives a voice to Gillette Children's Hospital's Cure Pity campaign, which rejects the notion that kids living with disabilities need pity. She even brought a sign to the show to express those sentiments that read: "If you are lucky enough to be different, never change."
Now, the little role model has positive reinforcement from her role model to keep inspiring her.
"She likes me the way I am," Harbarth said.

Family Pays it Forward in memory of their daughter Alyssa Josephine O'Neill #AJO


Eighteen year old Alyssa Josephine O'Neill suddenly died on September 4th from an epileptic seizure. But her parents have found a way to keep the memory of their oldest daughter alive. 
It's a story that centers around coffee, and paying it forward. And it's spreading around the world through social media.
"The night before my daughter died, she said to me, 'Mommy, can we go get a pumpkin spiced latte? I've never had one.' And I said, 'Absolutely, we'll go.'"
"We never got that chance," said Sarah O'Neill, Alyssa's mom.
But instead, Sarah and Jason got lattes for strangers.
People who ordered a pumpkin spice latte at the Millcreek Mall Starbuck's were told that it was already paid for, in memory of Alyssa. They asked only for recipients to pass the act of kindness on to someone else.
#AJO, Alyssa's initials, was written on these cups - in purple, the color representing epilepsy awareness.
"It just took off like wildfire," said Sarah.
#AJO has been tagged in more than 13,200 photos on Instagram alone. The photos appear from countries around the world, as far away as Australia, Germany, and Mexico. 
The Facebook page, "AJO Forever in Our Hearts," has 9,500 fans, and counting. Tweets hashtagged #AJO reached hundreds per hour. 
It seems to be a message that strikes a chord within people. 

Peggy Eddington-Smith receives a WWII letter from her father Pfc. John Eddington whom she never met...

A soldier's letter to his infant daughter was finally received more than six decades after it was written.
Peggy Eddington-Smith, 69, of Dayton, Nev., received a letter that was written by her father, Pfc. John Eddington, in early 1944 along with his purple heart on Saturday.
Eddington wrote the letter shortly before going overseas to fight in World War II. He died in Italy in June 1944 and never had the chance to meet his daughter.
The letter and Eddington's purple heart were recovered by Donna Gregory of Arnold, Mo., in a family box of World War II memorabilia more than a decade ago. For the past 12 years Gregory searched for the elusive Peggy so that she could deliver Eddington's heartfelt letter to his daughter.
Eventually this year Gregory started to use Facebook to branch out past Missouri and see if she could find the right Peggy. Through friends and the social networking site, Gregory finally found Peggy Eddington-Smith.
When Gregory reached Eddington-Smith to tell her about the letter, the 69-year-old great-grandmother was stunned. She had no idea the letter existed.
"My mom didn't tell me much about my dad," Smith told The Associated Press. "I think she was just distraught. She was so much in love with him. I learned as a young girl not to bring it up because she would just get so upset."
After a search of more than a decade, Gregory's long quest came to a close on Saturday when she met Eddington-Smith. In a ceremony at a local high school, Gregory read the letter to Eddington-Smith for the first time before presenting her with Eddington's purple heart.
"I'll always love you very much," Gregory read from the letter. "You and your sweet mother are always on my mind each day and night."
Before the ceremony started Gregory admitted she would be emotional throughout the event.
"I've cherished all of this for a very long time," Gregory told the AP. "I've waited for the finale of this journey for over a decade."