Hero Teens Rescue Kid Hanging From Ski Lift [WATCH]

Ski lift rescue
(YouTube/NBC News Today)

Teenagers get a bad rap.

They are easily the most maligned age group, both because they are truly, indisputably annoying and obnoxious, but also because they have what we all want: youth! Unfortunately, with that youth comes a remarkable lack of judgment and a bizarre reliance on idiotic slang.

But they’re not all bad. Sure they’re moody and hormonal and often lazy and messy and they think they know everything, but they’re also smart and curious and often surprisingly selfless and helpful. A recent video of some teenage exploits is a perfect example of the latter.

In late February, a group of teenage boys found themselves in the right place at the right time during a visit to Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain.

They were skiing down a mountain when they spotted a boy dangling from a chairlift above their heads. The boy’s father was clinging desperately to the boy to prevent him from falling as other skiers looked on in horror. Rather than join the gawkers, the five teens sprung into action to help.

The grabbed some netting that was providing an out-of-bounds barrier and they held it underneath the little boy to break his fall. Getting him to kick off his skis and fall was trick, but they managed it.

“At one point, we were just like, ‘OK, you just need to trust us, you just need to drop,” one of the teens, Gabriel Nielson, told Global News Canada. “And so then he dropped, and we caught him.”

They successfully caught the 8-year-old, who escaped unharmed. The teens are being hailed as heroes for their “quick-thinking and immediate actions,” and the mountain provided them all with season passes.

Tom Hanks Reveals What He Learned From His Early Parenting Struggles

Tom Hanks on Being a Young Dad
(Getty/James Devaney)

Everyone knows being a parent is hard. It’s as certain as death, taxes, and P. Diddy changing his name. Raising kids is demanding, often unrewarding work. We all know this, and we certainly don’t need some rich celebrity with a phalanx of nannies and resources most of us will never have access to remind us of this fact.

But when someone like Tom Hanks admits it, well, that’s okay.

This weekend, Hanks is hitting theaters as Mr. Rogers in a movie about the beloved children’s show host. As such, the two-time Best Actor winner and all-around good guy has been doing press, which included being blindsided with the revelation that he is actually related to the man he’s portraying!

The actor also spoke with the New York Times, and during the interview, he touched upon his early struggles adjusting to fatherhood.

“I start thinking about mistakes I made with my own kids and not explaining things or not being there for them. Or being so preoccupied with other things that are going on in our adult world,” Hanks said.

He had his first child, Colin, in 1977, when he was just 21 and married to his first wife, Samantha Lewes. He also had daughter Elizabeth with Lewes, years before he became the household name we know him as today, and he reflected on the ways his parenting changed as he grew more successful.

“We have this gestalt understanding because [Colin and Elizabeth] remember when their dad was just a guy trying to, you know, make the rent,” before his starring role in Splash changed everything. “My other kids [Chet and Truman], they were born after I had established a beachhead in every way. And so their lives were just different.”

Like every other parent ever, Hanks learned as he went, and discovered the key to being a good parent: unconditional love.

“Somewhere along the line, I figured out, the only thing really, I think, eventually a parent can do is say, ‘I love you, there’s nothing you can do wrong, you cannot hurt my feelings, I hope you will forgive me on occasion, and what do you need me to do?’” he told the Times.

He knows there’s no secret method or special training. There’s just giving everything of yourself.

“You offer up that to them. ‘I will do anything I can possibly do in order to keep you safe.’ That’s it. Offer that up and then just love them.”

It sounds like he and Mr. Rogers have more in common than an ancestor or two.

There was an attempt

USPS Lets You “Adopt” Low-Income Children’s Letters to Santa

Operation Santa lets people answer letters to Santa
(USPS Operation Santa)

A program from the United States Postal Service is helping low-income kids in communities across America to have a great holiday season.

Straight out of the plot of the 1996 Garry Marshall film Dear God, the Post Office helps those looking to give back connect with low-income kids via their letters to Santa. Dubbed “Operation Santa”, the USPS program has been sharing wishes and allowing people to anonymously “adopt” a child’s list for over 100 years. This season, they’ve added 8 additional cities to their program, allowing kids and families in more communities than ever to submit letters to their secret Santa-esque setup.

Also new this year is the ability to donate as a team, encouraging family, friends or coworkers to all pitch in together.

Children in any of the participating communities listed on the official website can send their letters to:

Santa Claus
123 Elf Road
North Pole
88888

Those looking to answer wishes need only create an account on their site, then browse accepted letters for one that connects with them. Givers can then purchase items and take them to their local post office before December 21st.

When companies — and government-controlled mailing monopolies – make giving simple, time has shown that people are willing to give and give. They’re also encouraging everyone to “spread the cheer” by posting with #USPSOperationSanta on social media to help share the program with others.

Of course, there are many ways to give back locally as well, especially during the holiday season. Consider seeking out holiday giving programs in your own community and donating to your local food pantry year-round.

No matter how you spend your holiday season, keep in mind those who may be less fortunate and give thanks for the positive things in your own life. There’ll be plenty of time to be anxious about everything else in the New Year!

Jon Favreau Wants to Make a New Star Wars Holiday Special for Some Reason

The Star Wars Holiday Special
(Daily Beast)

*Extreme Jeff Goldblum Voice*

Your [Disney+ executives] were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they never stopped to think if they should!

For anyone watching The Mandalorian, it’s pretty clear Jon Favreau has a soft spot for 1978’s Star Wars Holiday Special. The new series has featured more than one reference to the extremely weird musical variety program set in the Star Wars galaxy; In the first episode, Horatio Sanz’s character talks about wanting to make it home for “Life Day,” and in the second episode, we got a gorgeous visual homage to the first-ever appearance of Boba Fett.

Boba Fett in the Star Wars Holiday Special
(cracked.com)
The Mandalorian
(Cracked.com)

So it’s no surprise Disney’s new favorite filmmaker is considering the possibility of bringing a new Star Wars Holiday Special to the Disney+ streaming service. During the promotional tour for the new show, Favreau had this to say:

“I love the Holiday Special — certain sequences more than others…That’s my generation. I loved the introduction of Boba Fett and that rifle that he had. That animated piece still holds up; it’s pretty cool. I draw inspiration from that. I would love to do a Holiday Special. I gotta pitch that to Disney Plus.”

Now that’s the kind of blithering nonsense someone on a press tour says after days of getting asked the same boring-ass questions. The original Holiday Special has achieved cult status by being absolute garbage. The story revolved around the Star Wars gang helping Chewbacca make it to the Wookie homeworld to celebrate “Life Day” with his family of rejected Chuck E. Cheese robots.  In case you didn’t know, Chewbacca has a son named Lumpy. There, now you’re cursed with that information forever, sorry.

Lumpy, Chebacca's boy
(slashfilm)

Anyway, the whole thing’s a bit of a hilarious mess that nobody in their right mind would consider reviving. But recently, the guy who once thought he was a believable love interest for Heather Graham has said he’s even got a story flushed out and everything.

“Oh, I would definitely be interested in doing a holiday special. And I’m not going to say who I would be interested in. But one of the people is the member of the cast in an upcoming episode of the show…I’ve been thinking about it. It’s ready, the ideas are ready. I think it could be really fun. Not as part of this, but there’s an excitement around it because it was so fun and weird, and off and not connected to what ‘Star Wars’ was in the theater.”

The cast and crew of The Mandalorian
(Getty/Alberto E Rodriguez/Stringer)

It’s anyone’s guess which cast member Favreau wants to base his galactic holiday story around; Breaking Bad’s  Giancarlo Esposito and supreme badass Gina Carano are both slated for roles in upcoming episodes. If this writer ran the zoo, though, we’d be getting the pilot episode’s IG-Taika Waititi droid blasting his way through another hour of television, hands down. What says “Happy Holidays” more than a killer with a heart of cortosis alloy learning the value of Life Day?

Whether or not any of this actually happens is in the hands of Disney executives, but in case you haven’t seen the original, you can watch it online despite it being buried for years and disowned by George Lucas…and every single other person involved. Not saying you should. Just, the option is available to you. Thanks, Internet!

Ah, 1978, when drugs were just all over the place. You’re welcome?

You Can Own an Inflatable ‘Christmas Vacation’ Station Wagon, Roots and All

Inflatable Griswold Station Wagon
(Amazon)

It’s hard not to appreciate the heart and passion of Clark Griswold when it comes to the holidays. The man wants to do Christmas and, dammit, he wants to do it right.

And what better exemplifies that fact than his methodology for getting the perfect Christmas tree – a tree that’s the “thymbol of the thpirit of the Grithwold family Chrithmath”?

In lieu of a saw, Clark famously rips the whole Douglas fir out of the ground—roots and all—in order to bring it home.

The sight of a Ford LTD Country Squire with an unearthed Christmas tree strapped to the roof isn’t a sight many forget, which is why just about everyone will recognize it inflated on your front lawn.

(Amazon)

For a measly $222.97 on Amazon (and free shipping!), the iconic Griswold station wagon can be yours.

Okay, yes… that’s quite a price tag for a vehicle that you can’t actually drive, but it has festive LED lights and can self-inflate and deflate in seconds. Can your car do that?

It’s a ridiculous 8-feet-wide and, while not exactly life-sized, your neighbors will probably still hate you for it (especially if they happen to be named Todd and/or Margo).

So, if you’re ready to plant this big, green monstrosity where everyone can see it, pick one up here. Just make sure to check the breakers before you plug it in.

You’re also going to want to check out this decorative Griswold home, because “Merry Christmas, Shitter Was Full!”

Father Figures: Life Was Complete

“The day we got married we started trying to have a baby.

After a year of trying with no luck we went to a reproductive specialist in Atlanta. We found out my wife has PCOS (polycystic overian syndrome) which can cause reproductive issues in women, among many other things it does to their body. The doctor started her on chemical medicines trying to offset the PCOS.

For two years, we went through this cycle of timing ovulation and her taking shots of female hormones. We had two biochemical pregnancies that naturally terminated before development. Heart-crushing to say the least. After losing my mind because I wanted a baby so bad and leaving her for a month, followed by the doctor looking us in the eyes and telling us we would never get pregnant naturally, we decided to end all reproductive medicines and ovulation timing. We just started living life and having fun.

Then, almost exactly a year to the day after stopping the chemically induced medicines, we found out she was pregnant. It was a high-risk pregnancy due to the huge fibroid tumors in her uterus caused by the PCOS.

At birth, one of the tumors was the same size as our 6-pound daughter.

Our daughter came into the world via emergency c-section, kicking and screaming. We were bursting with emotion. Five months after her birth, my wife had another c-section to remove the huge fibroid tumors. A few months after that we got the green light to try and have another kid.

It took a solid year, but she got pregnant again. This time there were no tumors in the way, pulling nutrition and blood from the fetus, so we ended up with a 9-pound baby boy. Our life was complete.

Our take away from this whole experience is: ‘When man says no, God says yes.'”

– Chad Beaver

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

Toddler Adorably Sings And Dances With Dad

Golfer’s Heartwarming Response When a Fan with Down Syndrome Ruins Putt

Brandon Matthews Putt Ruined
(Instagram/brandonmatthewsgolf)

Brandon Matthews is a professional golfer and was recently competing in a smaller tour to earn a spot in The Open Championship. During a pivotal putt, he heard a fan scream and it was enough to cause him to miss.

Making noise is a major faux pas in golf and Matthews looked visibly upset that someone had affected one of the biggest moments of his personal career. After the round, a tournament official told Matthews the fan was a gentleman with Down syndrome who couldn’t control his emotions in the moment.

“Take me to him,” Matthews told the official. According to a statement he gave The Golf Channel, all of his anger in the moment melted, and he wanted to make sure the fan didn’t feel bad in any way.

Matthews said he had a soft spot for people with disabilities, as his mother managed group homes for the disabled and that his best friend’s sister has Down syndrome.

Matthews met the fan and gave him a signed glove and a hug.

“Those are really special people. I just felt so terrible that I was even upset,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure he didn’t feel bad.”

Matthews missed out on the big career moment, but his story has touched sports fans around the world. As ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt said, it invokes the adage of “adversity doesn’t make character, it reveals it”, and this moment showed Matthews is a professional athlete worth watching.

“Some things are bigger than golf,” Matthews said, “and this was one of them.”

Two-Year-Old Takes First Steps After Major Brain Surgery

2-year-old takes first steps after brain surgery
(Facebook/Heather Figueroa)

Learning your child has a serious condition can be one of the most devastating pieces of news any parent can receive. So when Heather Figueroa learned her son had Craniosynostosis, a birth defect impacting one out of every 2,000 live births, she immediately turned her attention to getting him help.

However, unlike other defects, Craniosynostosis can sometimes be very subtle. Changes in the shape of the head may become noticeable and is typically the first and only symptom. It wasn’t until Branson was 18-months-old that his mother noticed something that “felt a little different” while giving him a routine haircut. Her suspicions were confirmed by the family’s doctor, but initially, specialists told her that surgery wouldn’t be necessary.

Despite the diagnosis, Heather was still concerned. Surgery to repair the defect was invasive, but the window was shrinking as it must be done while the child is still young in order to work properly. Eventually, their journey led them to the University of Vermont Medical Center, where doctors confirmed her suspicions and recommended the reparative procedure.

After a nearly seven hour-long medical marathon, Branson’s surgery was deemed a success. Just two days after having the major cranial operation, the brave little trooper was alert and active. The nurses decided to get him up and out of bed. His mother, shocked by his progress, grabbed her phone and recorded video of Branson’s first post-surgery steps.

You can hear Heather choking up in the video, later sharing with Good Morning America she was “bawling with joy”.

Branson was released and has been recovering at home. His mother sharing that the “change in these short 4 weeks we have seen in him seriously are extraordinary.” While having their child home safe is obviously the most gratifying part of the entire ordeal, Heather said she was also floored by the outpouring if support and comments on the video-sharing in a Facebook update “Never did I think sharing such a special moment would travel around the whole world and have people reach out and be touched and moved like we are.”

She ended the update with gratitude and a call for more positivity and kindness in general. “We need more of this in our world. More positivity and good”. 

In a world of divisiveness and divide, finally something we can all agree on!