A stranger found a lost library book and returned it with this heartwarming note.

Employees at Idaho’s Meridian Library were going through the mail after the Thanksgiving holiday 2017 when they got a sweet surprise.

Inside one of the packages was a book — Thomas Rockwell’s “How to Eat Fried Worms” — that had been missing from the stacks.

Getting books in the mail is no major shock at Meridian. The library finds that visitors passing through or patrons going on vacation will often mail back items to avoid fines.

Along with this particular book, however, there was a curious handwritten note.

“I found this book on an airplane last month,” the message began.

“I called your library to notify them. I failed to return on time (and) apologize. Please add this $5.00 to the person’s account that borrowed the book as a credit. Thank you.”

Sure enough, along with the note was a $5 bill.

Found in the mail with a $5 bill this morning. There are some amazing people in our community. #mymld

Posted by Meridian Library District on Monday, November 27, 2017

The good Samaritan had been hoping to get the book back to the library before the due date but couldn’t and decided to assume responsibility for the late fee.

Obviously, they were under no obligation to pay the fine, and their small, understated generosity floored the library staff.

Knowing you have a book overdue at the library and not being able to find it is one of those little stresses that can add up big time.

It’s like having a sink full of dirty dishes or being behind on laundry. It’s not a source of massive worry, but many unresolved things added together can make you feel anxious and overwhelmed — too much of which is certainly bad for your health.

So while a stranger returning a book and paying $5 in fines may seem inconsequential, the act is inspiring thousands of people who have read about the story online.

“Everyone is loving this heartwarming story,” says Macey Snelson, who heads communications and marketing for the library. “I think that this is resonating with people so much because we live in a world where the news cycles are filled with contention and negative stories, and it’s refreshing to see a story that shows that people are inherently good.”

This story proves that even a teeny, tiny act of kindness, in a small part of the country, can have a big impact.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/a-stranger-found-a-lost-library-book-and-returned-it-with-this-heartwarming-note

8 thoughtful Halloween traditions kids with anxiety or disabilities may love.

For young kids, Halloween should be fun-scary. Not scary-scary.

While your child might do just fine with elaborate costumes, frightening yard displays, and stuffing their face with as much sugary candy as possible, there are many, many others for whom Halloween poses unique challenges.

In the U.S., 1 in 13 children have a serious food allergy, for example, and 1 in 68 have an autism spectrum disorder. And about 1 in 20 school-aged children in the U.S. have a significant physical or mental disability. It all starts to add up, and many of these issues may not be outwardly visible.

If you’re hosting a Halloween party, putting up some last-minute decorations, or even just gearing up for trick-or-treaters, here’s a few super simple things you can do to make this Halloween more inclusive, accessible, welcoming, and just generally awesome for every kid to participate in:

1. Fruity candies are great for everyone, but especially for kids with food allergies.

Peanut allergies get all the glory, but kids can be allergic to nearly anything. Common food allergies include peanuts, eggs, dairy, and gluten. Some families of candy, however, are safer bets than others.

Fruity candies, like Sour Patch Kids, gummy bears, Skittles, and Starburst, are a great thing to pass out for this very reason, but you can also find special kinds of chocolate made from hypoallergenic ingredients too.

There’s nothing wrong with handing out Snickers, Twix, and the usual candy suspects, but if you’re looking to offer some other options or want to pick just one kind of candy that pretty much anyone can enjoy, fruity candies are usually a safe bet.

2. Candy may be traditional, but nonedible treats are a good trick-or-treat option too.

In the case of severe allergies, it might be easier for some families to just avoid candy and sweets altogether — a potentially major bummer on a holiday almost entirely based around candy.

But there’s a simple solution! Pick up some stickers, crayons, or other small nonedible treats (you can usually find them cheap, in bulk in the party supplies aisle) and offer those as trick-or-treating options alongside or instead of candy.

If you do this, consider putting a teal pumpkin outside your door or near the sidewalk. This signals to trick-or-treaters that you have non-edible treats to offer — letting everyone knows not to skip your house.

3. Having a party? Perhaps set aside a “quiet down room” to give kids a space to get away from the crowd.

A raucous Halloween party with movies and music blaring and kids running around can be overwhelming for anyone, especially young kids with anxiety or hypersensitivity issues.

Consider closing off a room in your house as a quiet and nonspooky zone where kids can just go to chill out. This might be a good place to have low-key crafts or just dimmed lights and a comfy place to sit.

For hyposensitive kids, on the other hand…

4. Offer a variety of hands-on Halloween games and activities that keep kids engaged.

Kids who are hyposensitive are understimulated by the world around them and may prefer tactile activities like sticking their hands in a bowl of peeled grapes to simulate eyeballs, for example.

Child psychologist Dawn Huebner recommends having some games available that aren’t purely based on winning or losing too and activities where shy or anxious kids can help (i.e., by passing out supplies or keeping score) without fully participating if they aren’t comfortable.

5. For kids who can’t get up to your porch or front walkway, bring the candy to them.

If you have a porch or stoop with steps, it might be hard for some kids who use assistance devices (like wheelchairs or walkers) to come up and knock on the door. Consider sitting at the bottom close to the sidewalk or street and handing out candy during peak hours or leaving a bowl closer to the street if you can’t be there in person.

You can even rent a ramp for the day, if you’re so … inclined.

6. Remember that costumes and dress-up aren’t comfortable for everyone — try not to judge costumes at the door.

We’ve all seen the teenagers who come trick-or-treating and their “costume” is a paper bag over their heads, and we all know they’re just in it for the free candy.

But try not to play costume police, especially with younger kids. After all, trick-or-treating shouldn’t be a costume competition. Some kids with anxiety, sensory issues, or even just kids who are really shy might be more comfortable in something that looks, to you, like a half-hearted or lazy get-up. For them, it might be the only reason they were willing to leave the house.

A simple and heartfelt, “You look great!” will go a long way.

7. Have some dedicated “mask off” time.

This might be a little much. Photo by Thomas Roberts/Unsplash.

Super frightening or gory costumes can scare any kid, but Huebner says, “It can be hard to predict what’s going to be frightening for a child,” noting that often even silly or goofy masks can be very scary for certain kids.

Consider having some periods of mask off time to re-establish comfort.

“For kids who are more broadly afraid, being able to see ‘This is a mask and it comes on and off and there’s a person inside of it’ can be reassuring,” she says.

If you’re really dedicated to a truly spooky halloween and don’t want to take the mask off — see #3 “have a quiet room” above or consider putting a sign by your front walkway alerting parents that their kids might not enjoy trick-or-treating from you.

8. Other parents will definitely appreciate seeing a party agenda in advance.

There’s really no way for you to prepare for every possible issue that might arise during a party, gathering, or haunted house, nor should you be expected to have a contingency plan for every single thing that might come up. No one knows kids better than their own parents though.

If you’re worried that you might not have something on hand to make your party great for everyone, sending a party agenda in advance is a great way to give parents a chance to prepare their kids for what to expect.

“It works best if hosts are clear in invitations, so families can make decisions about whether they want to go,” Huebner says. “Anxious kids, and really all kids, do really, really well with previewing. With being told in advance what’s going to happen. It’s still exciting, but it’s less likely to be really terrifying in a way that isn’t fun.”

Halloween is a fun, spooky holiday, but it’s more fun when everyone can participate.

Feeling a little bit spooked on All Hallows’ Eve is great, but it shouldn’t be traumatizing. Kids shouldn’t be made to feel they’re in real danger or that they’re being left out of the fun. No one wants that.

Making your Halloween celebrations inclusive and welcoming to everyone doesn’t mean doing away with any of your favorite Halloween traditions. All it takes is a little extra thought and some simple preparations to make sure everyone has as awesome time as you do.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/8-thoughtful-halloween-traditions-kids-with-anxiety-or-disabilities-may-love

This 11-year-old Scout became a hero after grilling a senator on her policies.

The Boy Scouts of America have been all over the news lately, but in a recent video, it’s one of the group’s youngest members who’s making waves.

The video was taken earlier this month and features a Colorado state senator, Vicki Marble, holding a question-and-answer session at a Cub Scout den meeting. The senator likely had no idea just how tough the questions were going to be.

One of the scouts, 11-year-old Ames Mayfield, had come prepared to ask his elected official some serious policy questions.

Mayfield, respectfully armed with plenty of research, demanded the senator explain her stances on gun control and health care.

Referencing an earlier scandal in which Marble suggested a connection between cultural diets and disease — aptly named “chicken-gate” — Mayfield drilled the senator for her claims: “I was astonished that you blamed black people for poor health and poverty because of all the chicken and barbecue they eat.”

Marble deflected and blamed the media for fabricating the story and 11-year-old Mayfield for believing it.

According to the Cub Scouts’ own website, a true scout is “brave” and “helpful,” which makes what happened next even stranger.

Mayfield was kicked out of his Cub Scout den.

Mayfield and his mother, Lori, who posted the Q&A footage online, say they were stunned by the decision. For Lori’s part, she insists she didn’t put her son up to it.

“The only coaching I gave him was to be respectful,” she told the Denver Post. “Don’t be argumentative, preface things ‘with all due respect.’ I felt my son followed directions. He asked hard questions, but he was not disrespectful.”

Mayfield has received an outpouring of support from people on social media. Meanwhile, the Scouts say they’re looking for another den he can join.

Whether or not he rejoins remains to be seen.

Whether you agree with Senator Marble’s positions on these issues or not, it’s important to encourage young kids like Mayfield to take on an active role in challenging leadership, holding them accountable, and asking tough questions. That’s how a healthy democracy functions.

We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that our country was built on just this sort of debate, and we should teach kids to ask smart, respectful questions — not blind obedience.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/this-11-year-old-scout-became-a-hero-after-grilling-a-senator-on-her-policies

People are in love with the ‘ICU Grandpa’ who cuddles babies at an Atlanta hospital.

On a recent morning, a woman walked into the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and saw a stranger holding her baby.

The stranger was an older, bespectacled man. He was sitting in a chair and draped in a thin medical smock, gently rocking her infant son, Logan.

Logan had been in the NICU for six weeks after being born prematurely and needed around-the-clock care. His mom was there to hold him as often as she could be, but as she was making her way to the hospital that morning, the man, David Deutchman, was happy to step in.

They call him the “ICU Grandpa.” And he’s been offering snuggles as an official volunteer at the hospital for 12 years.

In a now super-viral Facebook post, the hospital wrote that Deutchman has a very specific cuddling schedule: on Tuesdays he visits the older babies and kids in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit), and on Thursdays he visits with the newborns in the NICU.

Logan’s mom isn’t the only one who’s met the hospital “legend” — the social media post, which has been shared over 47,000 times, is overflowing with comments from parents who’ve been touched by his kindness and generosity.

You can read the entire thing below:

They call him the ICU Grandpa. On Tuesdays, he visits the PICU to hold babies whose parents can’t be with them that day….

Posted by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

For young kids, and newborns especially, human contact and warmth is an essential part of survival.

It’s been scientifically demonstrated that newborns with access to food and shelter but no love or bonding, are unlikely to thrive. For this reason, volunteer cuddlers are common at hospitals around the country.

We won’t hold it against you if Deutchman isn’t immediately what came to mind when you heard “volunteer cuddler.” He says his guy friends don’t really get it either.

“I tell them, ‘I hold babies. Sometimes I get puked on, I get peed on. It’s great,'” he says in a video put together by Children’s Healthcare. But he says that “they just don’t get it, the kind of reward you can get from holding a baby like this.”

That’s the kind of attitude that’s made Deutchman an overnight Internet sensation.

Rock on, ICU Grandpa. Rock on.

The ICU Grandpa of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

By now, you’ve probably heard about our ICU Grandpa. Here’s a look at the hospital legend doing what he does best.

Posted by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Friday, September 29, 2017

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/people-are-in-love-with-the-icu-grandpa-who-cuddles-babies-at-an-atlanta-hospital

How a father-daughter duo is bringing joy to people’s lives by doing what they love.

Each holiday season, father-daughter team Ty and Vicky Shen pull out their trusty map and deliver delicious meals to people in need.

Vicky (left) and Ty Shen. Image via Vicky Shen, used with permission.

Once they’ve planned out their route, they load up their station wagon with all the hot meals and holiday baskets they can fit and then drive around Massachusetts going door to door until their car is empty. They do this over and over all day until there’s nothing left to be delivered.

“I’ve been a firm believer that those who can help, should,” writes Ty in an email. “Regardless if it’s time or other resources, helping our fellow man is our responsibility.”

That’s why, in 2001, Ty and Vicky decided to start this tradition in the first place. They loved volunteering, and Community Servings, a local nonprofit food program, was the perfect choice since they could share the open road together and, most importantly, bring joy to people’s lives.

Community Servings provides medically tailored meals to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses.

With 15 different medical diets on their menu, clients across Massachusetts and Rhode Island receive the perfect nutrition combination for their specific health conditions right on their doorstep. On top of that, Community Servings also provides supplementary meals for caregivers and dependent children to make sure every tummy in the house is filled up daily.

Volunteers happily hard at work. Image via Community Servings, used with permission.

Vicky fell in love with the cause when she first entered their kitchen some 16 years ago as a corps member of City Year Boston an education-focused student support organization. Once she learned about the holiday deliveries, she knew she needed to get her family involved right then and there. After all, the spirit of helping others, Ty says, runs in Vicky’s veins.

“Volunteering with [Community Servings] with my dad is one of my favorite things to do,” writes Vicky. “I get to spend time with my dad, and the people at [Community Servings] who are so wonderful, and really do something that on a daily basis helps people’s lives be a little bit better. ”

And since they’ve started, they’ve done everything from chopping cabbage to chatting up guests to prepping the actual baskets. Whatever’s needed, they’re right there, ready to push the mission forward.

Delivering holiday meals in style. Image via Community Servings, used with permission.

Community Servings offers an important and much-needed service and it wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of all their volunteers.

“Each year, our volunteers give more than 55,000 hours of service, which is the equivalent to almost 30 full time employees,” explains Community Servings CEO David Waters in an email. “There’s no way we’d be able to serve the 1,850 individuals and families we do each year without their generous efforts.”

In fact, thanks to their volunteers, Community Servings is able to prep 2,200 made-from-scratch meals every day. And just this past January, they celebrated their 7 millionth meal. (That’s right. 7 million!)

8 million meals, here we come. Image via Community Servings, used with permission.

For everyone who hits the road for Community Servings, it’s all about bringing joy to as many people as possible.

So whether you’re a college student, retiree, parolee, or corporate professional, all Community Servings asks for is a shared passion for service. That’s the heart of their mission and exactly why Ty and Vicky got involved to begin with.

Vicky goes on to add, “My involvement in [Community Servings] has been one of the pieces of my life that has made me realize how important it is to try to make a difference and make the world a better place every day.”

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/how-a-father-daughter-duo-is-bringing-joy-to-peoples-lives-by-doing-what-they-love