Last year, John Oliver bought $14.9 million dollars of medical debt for $60,000 on a Last Week Tonight segment. And now the man who was relieved of that debt is speaking out.
“Not only had the comedian paid the debt, he also alleviated Eric of having to pay any taxes on his "cancellation of debt" income. That's because the series paid for Eric's debt through "RIP Medical Debt," as a 501(c)(3) charity. Eric's debt was paid off, no strings attached.
“The show cautioned that this was for this medical debt only and not future medical debts.”
So while everyone might not care about John Oliver, John Oliver certainly cares about something.
When the Internet uses its powers for good, the results are incredible.
It’s been an difficult year for Angela McElhiney, an understatement to say the least. Her 15 year-old son Nathan committed suicide in October. To remember him, she cherishes a video of Nathan singing “Wayfaring Stranger,” taken one month before his death.
via A Promise to Nathan
However, because the video was taken in a high school gymnasium, the audio quality is poor to say the least, muffled by the audience’s restless noise.
"It was such a bad recording and I just wanted to be able to hear him better," Angela told CNN. "Right now, I feel like it's very therapeutic because I feel like it's the journey he's taking.”
So Angela turned to Internet. After posting the video to Reddit, she asked if anyone could help fix the audio or, at the very least, begin the path to cleaning it up. An hour later, she started getting new mixes with cleaner audio.
In total, she received about 20 versions of the clip.
"I never expected so much kindness and so many people taking time out of their day," she said. “We can't express our gratitude enough.”
However, as CNN reported:
The first Christmas without Nathan has been hard for McElhiney and her family and this has been a welcome distraction for her. She tried to thank everyone who responded to her post, but fell behind when the number of comments grew into the thousands.
After a year of people generally treating each other like garbage, it’s nice to have your small heart grow two sizes in an instant. That seemed to be the intention of these Best Buy employees.
After weeks of seeing the same kid at the same Best Buy Wii station, the employees of the Valley Stream, NY decided to surprise him with a console of his own. They pooled their money together and bought him a Wii-U.
As they published on YouTube:
"This video was taken in the Valley Stream Best Buy, this kid came in every single day to play the display WiiU, the employees in this store saw an opportunity to make a child smile and did just that. They chipped in and purchased a WiiU for him with their own money. This is amazing, why shop at Amazon when you have genuine people in this world that you can continue to help keep a job."
It’s true. Very rarely does a mailman deliver me a free thing from Amazon. But this video certainly delivered something: Good feelings.
When this woman says she’s allergic to everything, she means it.
Suffering from a rare genetic disorder called Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, Joanna Watkins lives under the threat of almost everything, including her husband and all but 15 types of food. And things keep getting worse.
While she’s been in for treatments, the MCAS isn’t responding to medication nor chemotherapy. So she’s unable to really see her husband, Scott, because of chemicals people release. What’s more, her house suffered from water damage, and the couple had to move in with a friend to avoid a rapidly-developing mold problem. If she comes in contact with things like pollen or even body odor, she suffers from anaphylactic reactions, including migraines and loss of breath.
Joanna lives within the confines of an air-locked bedroom all day everyday. According to People, “At this point, her body only tolerates a total of 15 foods (including spices). She eats just once per day and it’s always one of two meals she knows her body can tolerate: organic grass-fed beef (chuck roast cut) with water, celery and organic carrots and organic parsnips that are peeled, cored and mashed or ground lamb with peeled organic cucumbers.”
“I have been eating these same two meals for over a year of my life and they still taste good to me,” Joanna said. “I love to eat — it’s a joy for me. It’s just a gift that I can keep eating these foods.”
Still, she and her husband remain hopeful. On their GoFundMe page, they have raised over $100,000 to pay for housing renovations that would include a state of the art air filtration system.
“We have been so showered with love and support – I know I have been deeply blessed,” Joanna told People. “This is really hard and it is painful, but we haven’t been left to face it alone and that is a beautiful thing.”
Cats might have nine lives, but after nine days atop a 45-foot-high power pole, this cat might be fresh out.
Luckily for him, utility workers were able to bring the little guy down. The Fresno Bee reports that a cat named “Fat Boy” climbed to the top of a massive power pole and hung in there for nine days, sitting through rain and wind without water, until Pacific Gas and Electric Co. workers in Fresno, California were able to get him down.
Wait, the cat’s name is “Fat Boy,” and no one would help? Not even the fire department?
“We called everyone – anyone that could help, but they didn’t come,” said Andrew Perez, Fat Boy's owner. “He’s a nice cat. He probably went up there because he got scared by a dog. I was scared.”
Thankfully, PG&C was there to help “Fat Boy.” Let's get a better look at him to celebrate.
Wow. Fat Boy.
The Fresno Bee says that power to 250 homes had to be shut off or a few hours so workers could get Fat Boy.
“It’s not a simple thing to climb a power pole and get a cat down,” he said. “The first thing we have to do is de-energize the line – it’s a 12,000-volt line. Sometimes we wait out cats on poles… 99 percent of the time, cats come down on their own. In this case, it’s been up there that long, we just made the decision to go ahead and go up there.”
The world is yours, Fat Boy. YOLO, Fat Boy. YOLO.
Many want to go out in a blaze of glory. One man’s community made sure he did.
Incorporating the ashes of Anthony “Barney” Brack into a bundle of fireworks, Brack’s family and friends sent his ashes airborne into the night sky on, where they exploded in a flurry of light and sound, during the Halloween celebration in Drumcondra, a Dublin suburb.
Brack was the founder of Drumcondra's Halloween fireworks display, so his family figured that this would be a fitting tribute to a man that loved fireworks so much. Anthony Brack, a father of two, died suddenly on November 2, 2015.
“There was a real devil in him,” family friend Marty Whelan told the Irish Times. “He was an amazing man, he really was.”
One thing’s for sure, his family and friends know how to honor their loved one.
Life comes at you fast, and for Kevin Diepenbrock, 41, maybe a little too fast.
After crashing his motorcycle on a treacherous stretch of the Tennessee highway known as "The Dragon," Diepenbrock found himself just inches from death. He had no food, no water, and no cell service. Laying motionless in a ditch just off the highway with two punctured lungs, a dozen broken ribs, and several spinal fractures, he took out his phone to make one, final statement. Recording his last words, Diepenbrock sent his love to his wife, parents, and his especially large pack of dogs.
Stopping to take a sip of water, a passing motorist found him nearly 30 hours later. At the hospital, Diepenbrock decided to delete the videos but later retrieved them from the cloud to share them with the world.
The Knoxville News Sentinel recounts the crash that left Diepenbrock stranded and fellow Philip Polito dead:
"On Oct. 15, Diepenbrock and Philip Polito, his riding companion and co-worker at a natural gas plant near Philadelphia, Pa., tumbled more than 100 feet down a rocky embankment after their motorcycles collided on a notorious stretch of Highway 129 near mile marker 4 called 'The Dragon.'"
"Polito, 29, of Perryville, Mo., was killed in the crash, and the 41-year-old Diepenbrock was flung out of sight from the motorists who get a thrill from the treacherous road's sharp curves and scenic views."
A harrowing experience for sure, but how many people get to watch their final words go viral?
This young woman exemplifies bravery.
Laxmi (only goes by her first name) survived an acid attack over a decade ago. The depraved soulless perpetrators, an older man and his friend, poured acid on her face and arms after she turned down the older man's marriage proposal.
She was 15 years old dude.
After trucking through a series of hefty priced medical treatments and a few surgeries, Laxmi has come out as an impressive activist; and acts as the literal 'face of courage' for a new fashion campaign in India.
Her public interest litigation catalyzed the landmark judgment in 2013, when the Supreme Court called for restrictions on the sale of acids and also greater compensation for any victims. Just a heads up—there are around 1,000 acid attacks in India every year, and these victims face massive, almost crippling social taboo as result.
To this day, Laxmi continues onwards with her campaign through the Chhanv Foundation and Stop Acid Attacks. She was awarded the International Women of Courage Award by Michelle Obama in 2014.
With a heavy, saddened heart you might remember Diesel: the police dog who heroically sacrificed life and limb in the raid that amounted to the apprehension of seven terrorists suspected as responsible for the horrific Paris attacks.
The seven-year-old Diesel took heavy fire, and went down after taking several shots from a female suicide bomber, after scouting the apartment to ensure the quarters was secured.
The world hasn't forgotten Diesel's bravery. She's set to be posthumously awarded by the British veterinary charity, the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals; and also to receive the Dickin Medal. This medal's the animal equivalent to the Victoria Cross, which is Britain's 'highest military awarded for valor in the face of the enemy.'
We hope Diesel's resting in peace up above with an endless procession of doggy treats amidst unparalleled belly rubs in between highly enjoyable bouts of fetch. She was a hero, and she won't be forgotten.
Florida special ed teacher Chris Ulmer starts every class day in a very unique way.
Before any work starts, Ulmer calls each child up to the front of the classroom and compliments them.
"I love having you in my class. I think you're very funny. You're a great soccer player. Everyone in here loves you," he says at the start of a video posted on Facebook, which has gotten over 20 million views.
Ulmer runs a Facebook page for his class (with parent's permission) and has been trying to get a book published about his students.
Ulmer's Facebook page, Special Books by Special Kids, was created because he has been trying, unsuccessfully, to get a book published about the kids. "I have 50 rejection letters on my fridge to keep me motivated," he said. The book focuses on the story of each of the kids in his classroom and is collaboratively told by the child, his or her parents, and from Ulmer's perspective as their teacher.
He's had the same kids in his class for three years and said that they've "evolved as a family. We have an understanding that comes with time that you don't naturally have."
Great job, Chris. Keep it up!
A previously overweight man who lost 160 pounds and shares his techniques and tips in a series of YouTube videos call "Obese to Beast," has posted a new video opening up about his biggest insecurity.
John Glaude, who used to weigh 360 pounds, removes his clothes for the first time on camera to show his viewers the loose skin that resulted from his dramatic weight loss.
"I really wanted to make this video for everyone that struggles with loose skin, and for everyone who might be worried about loose skin!" he wrote in the comments.
He says in the video that he encourages people trying to lose weight to not let that stop them from going forward.
"My dreams are to be very happy in my skin, and I am."