Good News Report: Stories That Moved Us in 2020

James Barrett
·8-min read
Photo credit: Wendy C Miller
Photo credit: Wendy C Miller

From Redbook

We’ve seen the headlines for months on end throughout the pandemic, and many leave us feeling sad, negative and hopeless. However, no matter how bad a situation, there’s always good to be found. We don’t get to choose what situation we may find ourselves in, but we do choose how to react, to fight and persevere. From the streets of New York City bursting with noise from pots and pans clanging at 7PM to cheer on frontline workers to big brands giving back to help those in need — there are moments in the day where you can’t help but smile.

If there’s anything to take away from the last nine months, it’s to never underestimate the power of the human connection. There are countless stories and videos that have gone viral where one person helps another in a small gesture that's grand enough to turn anyone’s disposition around. It’s about the stories that give us hope, that make our days more bearable and don’t make us feel so alone. Here's the Good News Report with inspiring stories of 2020...

Virtual college classes are bringing their professors to tears with heartfelt ‘Thank You’ surprises.

Now this is a TikTok trend that we can all get behind. Not only has virtual college been hard on the students, but it hasn’t been a walk in the park for the professors either. As everyone is adapting on the fly during this time, we need to remind ourselves that small acts of kindness go a long way. This virtual class is one of hundreds where students surprised their professor with hand written ‘Thank You’ notes, simply thanking him for the semester they’ve had. He was brought to tears, and we need more signs of gratitude now more than ever.

A Community in Williamsburg, Virginia creates a “Stay at Home” art installation built by resident painted wine bottles.

In Williamsburg, Virginia, the Williamsburg Regional Library, William & Mary, Muscarelle Museum of Art and CultureFix created “Our Town 2020 Community Art Project.” As more alcohol was being consumed in quarantine, they asked their residents to paint their empty wine bottles, to create a stunning installation called “Stay at Home,” where the bottles are displayed in the shape of a home. The goal was to allow contributors to share their creations and to feel a sense of togetherness, even when the community couldn’t physically be together.

Photo credit: Wendy C Miller
Photo credit: Wendy C Miller

Resident Jill Pongonis says, “I painted and contributed four bottles, including designs such as a cluster of fish swimming underwater and a modern art collage of facial features. In doing this, I felt a freedom of expression and it took me to my happy place. Each bottle has a story and each person who submitted a bottle has one too. Everyone has been affected by COVID in some way and in the end, it was nice to see an object of beauty come from these tough times.” Other bottles included paintings of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matters Movement.

People are sending nurses hand-sewn masks.

Photo credit: James Barrett
Photo credit: James Barrett

Over the last nine months, hospitals all over the country still are in need of proper PPE when treating and caring for COVID patients. Nurses were told to wear bandanas as they were out of the proper uniform. Large companies down to individuals have dusted off the sewing machine, and went to work. With fun fabric designs, it’s heartwarming to see the community come together to make sure frontline workers are equipped to properly do their job.

Associates at Microsoft have organized over 3,800 virtual graduations for graduates and their families.

As Americans from elementary school to college graduate this year, it’s bittersweet not to experience the celebratory ceremonies that we are accustomed to. However, teachers and students got creative to commemorate these milestones, thanks to Microsoft via Teams.

Photo credit: Microsoft
Photo credit: Microsoft

We’re not talking about a video conference — associates organized and designed graduations in Minecraft and virtual diplomas. Since the pandemic, Microsoft Store associates created nearly 3,800 graduations, which reached 7 million graduates including their family and friends.

A South Dakota math teacher taught his student a lesson from her front porch.

After this year, teachers will (hopefully) get the recognition they've long deserved. They’re real-life superheroes, not only teaching our children but constantly keeping them engaged and always eager to learn more. When the pandemic hit and classes were completely virtual, math teacher Chris Waba knew that 12-year-old Rylee Anderson was struggling with her algebra homework and her parents were unfamiliar with the new way of teaching the course. Lucky for Rylee, her math teacher happened to be a neighbor, and Mr. Waba, on the opposite side of a glass door, set up his easel and taught the lesson.

Therabody has donated over 300 massaging therapy devices to hospital break rooms for frontline workers.

We love to see brands giving back during the pandemic. If you don’t know Therabody, they are the leaders in products to take health and wellness to the next level from percussive devices to a CBD line. And after this year, we could all use a really good massage. No one deserves it more than the frontline workers in hospitals — doctors and nurses who are on their feet for 14 hour days, fighting the virus head-on.

Photo credit: Therabody
Photo credit: Therabody

Therabody agrees, because earlier this year the company donated over 300 Theraguns (which retail for up to $600) to hospital break rooms. In more than 60 hospitals around the world, their percussive devices have provided relief to healthcare workers. They also partnered with Feeding America, having donated over 250,000 meals.

60-year-old man bikes across America in 31 days during the pandemic to inspire others who may be feeling lost and unmotivated.


Photo credit: Jeremy Rubier
Photo credit: Jeremy Rubier

Keith Morical, age 60, started seriously cycling two years ago. Like many of us, it was hard not to fall into a rut during quarantine at certain moments. Keith didn’t stay on his couch, but he wanted to prove to people that you’re never too old to reinvent yourself and continue to check things off the to-do list, no matter how old you are. He had a mission that he completed in 31 days — to ride across America. He crossed 48 states, averaging about 250 miles a day. While he’s not telling people to go ride a bike, he’s telling people to chase their passion and to use this uncertain time to get up and pursue — get after it!

Sweet Cheeks Diaper Ministry, a nonprofit in Memphis, Tennessee continues to provide essentials for parents and their babies.

With toilet paper, sanitizer and more flying off of the shelves across the nation, it’s become nearly impossible for families to make sure they have basic essentials such as diapers to take care of their children. Nonprofit Sweet Cheeks Diaper Ministry created a drive-thru diaper bank in March to help families in need in the area. By April, more than 3,000 families were able to receive diapers for their babies. The nonprofit began giving out formula in the summertime and since the beginning of the pandemic, they’ve given out nearly 200,000 diapers in support with the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund.

Photo credit: MDS Productions
Photo credit: MDS Productions

Sweet Cheeks Diaper Ministry was started in 2014 by Executive Director Cori Smith, who wanted to make a difference after losing her own job while simultaneously becoming a new mom — looking for aid during a difficult time.

Audi is using their electric vehicles with the LEE Initiative to bring sustainable sourced food and ingredients to struggling restaurants.

Photo credit: Audi
Photo credit: Audi

Across the country, restaurants big and small have been struggling to stay in business throughout the pandemic. The LEE (Let’s Empower Employment) Initiative’s goal is to bring equality and diversity into the ever-changing food industry. This partnership is a logical one -- with hopes to create a larger conversation about sustainability from the food we eat to the vehicles we drive everyday. Audi of America has also donated $500,000 to the initiative which will be used to provide hunger relief and restaurant assistance in the United States.

Hospital workers cheer on a patient leaving the ICU who was taken off of the ventilator after more than two weeks.

In April, 48-year-old Tony Thronton was on a ventilator for more than two weeks battling Coronavirus. He became the first patient EAMC (East Alabama Medical Center) that became well enough to leave ICU and to be taken off of the ventilator. While it was a huge hurdle passed but not the end of the road, Tony got cheers and a standing ovation from healthcare employees as he was moved to his new room. For frontline workers, their patient’s fight becomes their fight too and every patient deserves a celebratory parade.

2020 wasn’t how we all expected it to be, but we made it. You don’t need to be a doctor or a teacher to bring a smile to someone’s face. There are uplifting stories out there that continue to go viral and outshine the negative headlines. Continue to lift each other up. Keep a positive attitude and even when it’s hard, find the good. It’s always there.

You Might Also Like