If you follow the news every day, it's easy to come to the conclusion that we are a nation in trouble: Income inequality is growing, our social fabric is fraying, belief that America's best days are over is now accepted as gospel. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Recently I asked friends and family members to send me firsthand accounts of good news, stories that go against the constant gloom and doom narrative. I was overwhelmed with what they sent. Diverse and uplifting, these stories have renewed my faith in America and its resilient people. (All names and stories used with permission.)
Peter and Nancy K. have two sons, Billy, 26, and Seth, 21. Billy just landed a non-paying internship in an area that is tangentially related to the field in which he holds a Master's degree. If the internship goes well, Billy's boss says there's a slight possibility of a part-time job with the company in the spring. Meanwhile Seth is entering his senior year of college. Thanks to some savvy financial planning, and Peter and Nancy both working two jobs, Seth will graduate with a student debt well under his $150,000 maximum target. When I spoke to the boys' parents, they were bursting with pride over their sons' good fortunes.
Sam V. is a 54-year-old postal employee who was in desperate need of a kidney transplant. When his brother, Frank, offered to donate one of his, it only took seven emails, numerous phone calls, and a certified letter from Sam's lawyer threatening a lawsuit to get his insurance company to pay for a portion of the operation. Now back at work, Sam said he is "feeling great" and "just happy that the system worked."
Patty D. is a graphics designer who makes only 5 percent less than her male counterparts – well below the 11 percent national average of pay disparity between men and women. "Plus, I get dental!" said Patty.
Tom and Linda F. have a 16-year-old daughter, Kelly. To hear Tom tell it, Kelly is a good girl who just made a bad mistake and got pregnant. Fortunately, the baby's father is stepping up and has agreed to pay child support, as best he can, once he gets out of prison for a DUI. "I'm thrilled that it is all working out," said Tom, who retired early from his job as a cancer researcher to take care of the baby while Kelly works on getting her GED.
Stu and Linda N. have a 7-year-old son, Chip. A few weeks ago one of Chip's classmates brought a loaded gun to school for Show and Tell. The gun accidentally discharged, striking Chip. "The shot just winged him," chuckled Stu. "He's always been a lucky kid."
Ryan F. recently relocated from New York to Los Angeles. On the day of his scheduled departure, he sat on the tarmac for hours before his flight was inexplicably cancelled. Meanwhile, Ryan's dog, Dougie, was mistakenly placed on the wrong flight. It took Ryan three days to finally rebook a flight to L.A., but when he landed Dougie was waiting for him at the airport. "The best part," said a gleeful Ryan, "was that the airline didn't even charge me extra to have Dougie flown back from Indonesia!"
Michele S. is a 42-year-old teacher and single mom of two living in Oklahoma. She was quite concerned about the environmental effects when companies began fracking in her hometown. Now, five years later, Michele laughs about her concerns. "After a while you get used to the earthquakes," she said. "And there are only a few dozen or so families in my area whose water supply has been contaminated. So it's been nowhere near the environmental disaster some were predicting. I just love living here!"
Amy V. is an attractive 35-year-old pharmaceutical sales rep in the midwest. For the past three years, her boss has "accidentally" touched her butt at every opportunity. "I'm so blessed," said Amy when I spoke to her. "My friend, Jayne, has a boss who texts her photos of his privates at least once a week. I thank God every day that I don't work for that perv."
Millions of inspiring stories such as these are unfolding all across this great country every day. God bless America!