Marathon bombing day of terror was the luckiest day of my life

My daughter Katie started sprinting, so excited that she was about to finish her first Boston Marathon. I had been running with her, but my legs were too tired for me to keep up. Just a minute earlier, we had paused for a few seconds to say hi to Marissa and her family. Marissa is a young girl battling Leukemia, and Katie was running to raise money in Marissa’s honor for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Katie had her hands raised in the air to celebrate her achievement when the first bomb went off right in front of her.

The force of the explosion knocked her off her feet. Terrified, she ran back towards me, and then the second bomb went off right in between us. There was so much smoke we couldn’t see each other. The police officers stopped all the runners so I couldn’t get to her, and she was trapped between the two explosions. Talk about panic. Neither of us knew if the other had survived. Her mother and aunt, and a group of her friends were watching and we didn’t know if they were OK. And how many more bombs would go off?

Fifteen minutes went by before we were able to make contact on our cell phones and I told her to go to the Marriott. When I found her there, she was trembling, scared, dazed and confused. A few minutes later her mother and aunt found us, and we somehow found our way out of the city by walking 3 miles to the nearest operating MBTA station.

I can’t believe it was two years ago today that those bombs went off. When I think back on that day, I recall the terror my family went through, but I also think about how it was one of the luckiest days of my life. Too many victims and families are still dealing with far worse consequences than what we endured. Our only injuries were some tiny shards in Katie’s leg. Had we not paused to say hi to Marissa, we both would have been right next to the bomb explosions. So many slight changes of events could have made things far worse. I feel gratitude.

Katie is in college in South Carolina, but I will be back out on the marathon course this Monday. If you happen to be out there, or hear about the marathon in the news, stop for a moment and not only remember the victims, but think about something good that has come out of this tragic day.

Share your thoughts about how the marathon bombings impacted your life or thinking in the comments below.


What Message Are You Sending To Your Kids?

My friend Elise was sitting with her 6 and 3 year old boys after dinner when her phone beeped. She picked up her phone, saw that a new work email had arrived, and read the message. It wasn’t urgent, or important, or interesting, but she felt compelled to take care of her co-worker’s request.

James, her youngest son asked, “Who’s that, momma?”  She didn’t answer, just kept typing away.

Then her older son, Ben, said to James, “Leave her alone, J. Mom has really important things to take care of, more important than us.”

Ben’s words struck Elise hard. She realized she was addicted to her devices. She was putting trivial work tasks ahead of her family. And they were starting to notice.

When a parent frequently interrupts family time to get on his or her mobile device, it sends a message to the kids that the person or email on the other end matters more than they do. With younger kids, it causes them to feel lonely, sad and neglected. With older kids, it makes those parents who try to control kids’ use of cell phones look like hypocrites.

Today, your ThinkGood Call-to-Action is to set aside certain hours every week as Unplugged Family Time.

It only needs to be an hour or two a day, it can be during meals or while in the car. But make it a point to ignore those beeps and be in the moment with your family. After you’ve done this a couple of times, come back here and tell us what difference you’ve seen in those family members who now have your attention.

(Photo by PatCastaldo on Flickr)


$2 act of kindness toward little boy leads to $100 tip

When a little boy came up to the counter at an eatery in Katy, Texas, he had his money ready, hoping he had enough for a mini mint Oreo custard.

“He wants to order dessert,” said Travis Sattler, who was manning the cash register. “He was a little nervous. Ends up handing me everything he had.”

But all of the coins and a few dollar bills he had Wednesday weren’t enough to get his desire. He was $2 short.

So Sattler, who was just a few minutes from the end of his shift, pulled out his own credit card.

“It’s on me,” the cashier said, remembering the child’s gratitude. “He had the biggest eyes, the widest smile.”

A half hour later, the same little boy handed Sattler a note as he and his mother walked out.

“It says, ‘Thank you for being so nice and paying for my custard. We need more people like you,'” Sattler read.

Wrapped up inside the note was a $100 bill. Sattler plans to save the generous tip for nursing school.

“I like to think that I made a good impact on their day, and I kind of brightened it up, just like they did mine,” Sattler said.  “We all need to look out for each other.”


Real life superhero feeds the homeless in England

An anonymous 20 year old man in Birmingham, England has been dressing up as Spider-Man to deliver food and clothes to the homeless. Not even his family and friends know who he is. He’s doing it because Birmingham has the highest number of homeless people in England.

He has set up a Facebook page called Birmingham Spiderman to raise awareness of the problem that he is creatively trying to solve, as he hopes his work will show others that everyone deserves a helping hand — no matter their situation.

Kudos to this real life superhero.



Teacher Wins $1 Million Prize, Donates It All To Education

After winning the $1 million Global Teacher Prize, Nancie Atwell, an English teacher from rural Maine, donated it to charity. Well it wasn’t just any charity. She’s donating the full prize to the Center for Teaching and Learning, which she founded in 1990 in Edgecomb, Maine as a nonprofit demonstration school created for the purpose of developing and disseminating teaching methods.

Her rationale for giving the money away is as amazing as the generous act itself.  While the price is a great validation of her work, “I really find that I’m validated every day just by the experiences I have with children in the classroom,” she said.


Customer Gives Mega Tip So Single Dad Can Get Dental Work, Reason To Smile

Now this takes Pay It Forward to a new level. Fred Boettcher, a customer at a diner was so impressed with his waiter’s positive attitude that the customer is now paying his dentist to provide the waiter with dental implants.

“I took one look at this young man and knew he was something special,” said Fred Boettcher. “He carried himself with such kindness and confidence with a mouth that looked painful. I was struck by that.”

“This man doesn’t know me and this is something I could never afford to do for myself. It touched me so much that he cared,” said the waiter.