Fear, Anxiety and Grief seemed to be the first, middle and last names of 2020. With watching newscasts and reading newspapers and blogs, there just didn’t seem to be any good news that uplifted our spirits. The 2020 year had its positive stories though. We were actually surrounded by them.
Starting with another COVID-19 story, here’s a different perspective on 2020 events and some of the good news for the year.
14-Year-Old Girl’s COVID-19 Vaccine Contribution
That’s right. A 14-year-old Texan discovered a molecule that adheres to the spikes of the COVID-19 virus. The spikes allow it to penetrate and infect cells. The molecule prevents that. The girl’s discovery brought the world a step closer to protecting its population from COVID-19. By virtue of her discovery, the young teen won the 3M Young Scientist Challenge. She hopes to become a medical researcher and professor.
The Daily Commute
COVID-19 forced thousands of companies to shut their doors, but they didn’t shut down their operations. After their morning coffee and shower, employees walked to a different part of their living space, fired up the computer, checked their voicemails and emails and began their day at work. Employers were skeptical about such a working arrangement until they saw the increased productivity. Employees benefitted by a better balance between work and their personal lives.
Stimulus Check Giving
The 2020 stimulus checks might have been too little too late for some people. To others, they were pennies from heaven. One Arkansas steakhouse managed to keep its doors open in 2020 by maintaining a staff of four employees who provide curbside pickups three days a week. One regular customer left the steakhouse staff an exceedingly generous tip consisting of her $1,200 stimulus check. Other generous stimulus check recipients have also used their checks to help others.
The $100 Winning Lottery Ticket Donation
A single mom in Kansas City who lost her job because of the COVID-19 pandemic looked down in a grocery store parking lot and spotted a $1 bill. She used it to buy a lottery ticket that netted her $100. Rather than use the money at home, she anonymously donated her winnings to the family of a wounded Kansas City Police Officer. It didn’t take long for the KC cops to find the woman, and between all of the Kansas City precincts and other donations, they raised more than $145,000 for her.
This Woman Gives New Meaning to Being a Mom
A 75-year-old Iowa woman was honored by Johnson County government for being a foster mom to more than 600 children over a course of almost five decades. When she retired from being a foster mother out of health concerns, she was honored by the Johnson County Board of Supervisors with a special ceremony of appreciation. Aside from taking children in, she also worked to keep siblings together and helped biological parents through the changes that they needed to make in order to keep their families together.
Lockdowns and Improved Air Quality
Slowing down and even stopping work in various economic sectors in order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic yielded cleaner air for many countries, including the United States. When global economies began slowing down in February of 2020, NASA weather satellites showed a dramatic drop in levels of nitrogen dioxide that is primarily emitted by motor vehicles and thermal power plants.
Lockdowns and Traffic Accidents
The numbers for traffic accidents throughout California were drastically reduced, dropping by 75% between March 19, 2020 and April 30, 2020, when compared with 2019 numbers. Accidents actually spiked in February of 2020 compared to February of the previous year. Then, with the shutdown and shelter-in-place orders of March, traffic accidents plummeted. DUI arrests and accidents also nosedived.
Lockdowns and Other Crimes
When you compare the overall number of reported crimes in California’s four largest cities from February to the last week of March of 2020, crimes were down by more than 40%. In Oakland, they were down by 69% and in San Francisco, they were down by 56%. Property crimes in the Bay Area were down by 47%. This might be attributable to a lack of tourists.
No More Pay for this CEO
Texas Roadhouse is a steakhouse chain that dots American commercial landscapes. Its CEO has announced early on in the pandemic that he’s foregoing his 2020 salary and bonus check and giving it to the company’s workers. That’s worth well over $1 million. The CEO believes that Texas Roadhouse is a people-oriented company, and his first priority lies with the company’s employees during this difficult period of history.
Grocery Delivery to Seniors
Online Zoom classes and social distancing made one Santa Barbara high school junior le learn about the circumstances that senior citizens must live under during the COVID-19 pandemic. In realizing that elderly people are the most vulnerable population segment during the crisis, he started an online grocery delivery service called Zoomers to Boomers. He and his friends make the deliveries a few times a week in their spare time. When news of his efforts spread, it inspired others to look in on their seniors in their communities.
Family Day is Every Day
Many workers and students from the same family are now working in close proximity to each other and getting new perspectives on the other’s life that might otherwise have never been gained. Children are learning about what their parents do at their jobs. For many parents, it’s Take Your Kid to Work Day five days a week now. Families are discovering new activities like camping, which has suddenly skyrocketed in popularity. Maybe a kid’s friend could even go on the trip. Friends are now invaluable because friends don’t see each other nearly as often anymore.
In 2019, maybe a kid’s biggest fear was another kid showing up at school with a gun. Now, kids have also learned how to fear something that’s invisible that could kill them or a family member simply by breathing the same air as somebody else. Regardless of how remote the chances might be, that could happen to any of us. We’re all quite capable of contributing to our society in diverse ways. Teach yourself and others to contribute like the people above. The more that we work together, the faster we’ll all pull through this.