As the country begins to move on from a very divided election season, it’s important to take a look back at the things that bring us together. And while WGN has covered many stories about selfless acts of volunteerism and goodness over the past year, here are just a few local acts of kindness in honor of World Kindness Day:
1. Strangers give World Series tickets to elderly Cubs fans
Elderly Cubs fans like Jim Schlegel, a Pearl Harbor veteran who saw the team play in the 1945 World Series, and the legendary "Bleacher Preacher" Jerry Pritikin, are just two of many older fans who were given tickets by complete strangers to see their beloved team in the World Series.
2. Donations help the "Paleta Man" retire
What began as a small effort to help an 89-year-old Chicago man pay the bills after he was spotted pushing a paleta cart, turned into an epic fundraising effort that brought in more than $322,000. It was enough for Fidencio Sanchez to retire - if he ever decides to stop working.
3. MJ sends gear to autistic fan who wants to Be Like Mike
After a video of Jeffrey Harrison playing a pick-up game dressed in a full Michael Jordan uniform went viral, Jordan called Harrison and sent the autistic fan boxes of Air Jordan merchandise along with a letter that said, “Continue to believe in yourself, play hard, and always remember to enjoy the game.”
4. Quick-thinking movers save woman's life
A three-man crew working for Wisdom Moving Company lived up to the company name, showing the good judgment to shield and safeguard a woman among the boxes in the back of their moving truck after her ex-boyfriend showed up at her office armed, disturbed and dangerous. Police said they certainly saved her life.
5. Acts of Kindness honor teen killed by train
Lexi Turner's mother started the hashtag #RAKLexiTurner (Random Acts of Kindness) to inspire people across the world to do random acts of kindness in her memory after she was killed in a train accident.
6. Hawks goalie gives man in need a place to stay
A social media post told the story of how Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling met a man facing "tough times" on the street and paid for the stranger to stay in a hotel for a month “until he got back on his feet."
Army Ranger Lt. Col. Robert Risdon, 45, bought dinner for two young boys at a Taco Bell after the children approached him looking to sell baked goods for their church.
8. Couple pays it forward on the Blue Line
A couple riding on the CTA Blue Line slipped a homeless man money while he was sleeping, and a stranger snapped a photo of their anonymous act of kindness.
9. Student tells strangers they are beautiful
A student created a video during her final year at the Chicago High School for the Arts where she told strangers they were beautiful, and then captured their reactions on video.