Let’s face it, 2016 has been a shitty, shitty year. Trump and Brexit happened, we lost way too many celebrities that have inspired us for decades, and I’m not even talking about all the terrorist attacks and shootings that occurred… 2016 has been like a terrible TV show that you hope won’t get renewed. But to quote Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
Brightside has done exactly that by gathering a list of the most inspiring good deeds of 2016 and we just had to share it too. So, let’s have a look at 2016 once again, but this time focusing on the acts of kindness.
#1. A Danish woman rescued a two-year-old Nigerian boy who was abandoned by his parents
When Anja Ringgren Loven, a care worker from Denmark, found a starving boy on the street in Nigeria, she “was stick to [her] bones to see him in such a horrible condition,” she told MailOnline. The boy was left to die by his own family because they thought he was a witch. He was only 1-year-old toddler at the time… Anja took the boy to her orphanage and nurtured him back to health. The boy was named Hope, and now, after one year, he’s unrecognizable. Hope can finally be a happy kid he deserves to be.
#2. A school counselor created a “Gentleman’s Club” for boys without fathers
Raymond Nelson is a counselor at a Lowcountry school in South Carolina who came up with a genius idea how to teach at-risk children life lessons. He created a “Gentleman’s Club” for boys who have no fathers and need guidance. Every Wednesday, nearly 60 kids meet at the club dressed nicely with jackets and ties. Nelson has even bought jackets, vests, and ties for those kids who didn’t have their own. The club’s motto is “Look good, feel good, do good.” At the club, the kids discuss such topics like how to tie a tie, how to address their elders, and how to treat their sisters, mothers, and teachers. Nelson believes that the dress code helps to nurture the moral consciousness of the boys. The kids love it! “I know a lot of them struggle because a lot of them don’t have men at home, so I just want them to grow up and think of the things that I teach them,” Nelson says.
#3. Thousands of people supported a girl when no one showed up to her 18th birthday party
Hallee Sorenson, an 18-year-old girl with autism, was really looking forward to her 18th birthday last year. She sent lots of invitations to her classmates and friends. Hallee wanted to go bowling and eat ice cream, but no one showed up. She was crushed. When Hallee’s 19th birthday was approaching, her cousin Rebecca decided to take action and asked people online to send birthday cards to Hallee for her next birthday that she wouldn’t feel so alone. A miracle happened and the post office in Bangor, Maine, was flooded with 10,000 birthday cards, letters and gifts. Hallee was over the moon!
#4. A fisherman rescued a sinking moose that crashed through the ice
When Ivan Drachev, a resident of Barnaul, was returning home from a fishing trip, he noticed a moose that had crashed through the ice. After several tries, Ivan managed to pull the animal out of the ice. The poor creature couldn’t stop shivering, so Ivan rubbed its body until the moose started to feel better. “I sat down next to the moose. It put its head on my knees and wheezed. It’s amazing how animals can understand everything that is going on around them!” Ivan wrote in his blog.
#5. A brave Syrian man remained in Aleppo to care for hundreds of abandoned cats
When most of Mohammad Alaa Jaleel’s neighbors and relatives fled the war-torn Aleppo, he decided to remain in the city to help the pets that were left behind. Jaleel founded a sanctuary, Il Gattaro d’Aleppo, where he now takes care of hundreds of abandoned kitties. “Someone who has mercy in their heart for people has mercy for every living thing,” Jaleel told the BBC. “I said I’ll stay with them no matter what happens.”
#6. Students recreated graduation for their classmate who was in a car accident
Just a few days before his high school graduation, Scott Dunn got into a serious car accident. When he woke up from a coma, the boy was deeply saddened by the fact that he had missed the most important day in his life. But when Scott began to recover, the school’s principal contacted Scott’s family and said, “We want to do something special for your son.” Dunn’s classmates decided to recreate graduation just for him. The students were dressed in their academic gowns just like during the original ceremony, and the teachers delivered their graduation speeches. However, Scott was the only one who was called up to receive his diploma this time. Scott was moved beyond words. ”I don’t know how to even explain it,” he said. “I’m speechless to know that this many people are behind me.”
#7. A flight attendant adopted a stray dog that waited for her for six months
Olivia Sievers, a flight attendant from Germany, would often frequent Buenos Aires during her flights. Once while she was in Argentina, Olivia met a stray dog outside the hotel where she was staying. Olivia petted the poor thing and gave him some food. The lonely dog quickly became attached to her and started hanging outside the hotel in hopes to see her again. Olivia even managed to find the dog a new home in Argentina, but the pooch escaped it only to wait for her by the hotel. At this point Olivia has already formed a strong bond with the dog, too, so she decided to adopt him. She named the pooch Rubio and took him to Germany to live with her. The two have been the best pals ever since!
#8. A runner sacrificed her chance of a medal in order to help an injured athlete
Runner Nikki Hamblin from New Zealand accidentally bumped into US runner Abbey D’Agostino during the women’s 5,000-meter race at the Rio Olympics. After the collision, D’Agostino helped Hamblin to get up instead of continuing the race. “That girl is the Olympic spirit right there. I went down and I was like ‘what’s happening? Why am I on the ground?’ said Hamblin. “Then suddenly this hand on my shoulder, like ‘get up, get up, we have to finish this’ and I was like, ‘yep, you’re right’. This is the Olympic Games – we have to finish this. “I’ve never met this girl before, and isn’t that just so amazing, such an amazing woman.” Even though the two girls were the last ones among their competitors, they were moved to the finals because of their demonstration of sportsmanship.
#9. A world champion boxer built 1,000 homes for poor Filipinos
Manny Pacquiao, a Filipino professional boxer and politician, grew up in extreme poverty. Despite all the struggles in his childhood, he became the first fighter in history to win the world titles in eight different weight divisions. When Pacquiao won his first million as a professional boxer, he decided to share his wealth with others who were not so fortunate as him. Pacquiao funded a construction over 1,000 homes for the poor families in his hometown of Tango. “As faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms, each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others,” said Pacquiao. “I’m still building more because I always believe what the bible says offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
#10. Canadian airlines bent their own rules in order to let pets escape fires with their owners
In the wake of the massive wildfires in Fort McMurray, more than 80,000 residents had to flee their homes. West Jet and Canadian North airlines decided to break their own rules to make travel easier for pet owners. Displaced pets were allowed to fly in main cabins together with their humans. This act of kindness helped to save a lot of displaced pets as their owners didn’t have the possibility to go back to heir homes for crates.
#11. A homeless Thai got a job and a home in gratitude for an honest act
When Woralop, a 44-year-old homeless resident of Thailand, found a designer wallet with credit cards and 20,000 baht ($580) at a subway station, he decided not to keep it for himself. Instead of taking the money, Woralop went to the local police station and handed the wallet to the officers, so they could find the owner. The wallet belonged to a 30-year-old factory owner Niity Pongkriangyos, who was so stunned by the honesty of Woralop, that he rewarded the homeless man in the best way possible. He gave him a job at his factory and a service apartment!
#12. Neighbors repaired the house of a poor elderly teacher for free
Anne Glancey, a retired schoolteacher, didn’t have the money to repair her shabby-looking house and she needed it done badly. The poor woman was facing huge fines ($3,000 per day) if she didn’t make repairs to her home. Anne was in despair as she didn’t even have family or friends to turn to. Her neighbors – Adam and Kristin Polhemus – offered their help numerous times, but Anne kept refusing their help because of her pride. But the couple wasn’t going to give up. They gathered their friends and other neighbors and they all began repairing Anne’s house anyway. Not only Anne had her house repaired, the lonely teacher began to socialize again. She baked a carrot cake for her kind neighbors and served them orange juice as they were working.