8 ‘Regular’ People Who Have Done Truly Inspirational Things in 2020

Oh What A Year  

2020; the absolute opposite of 20/20 vision. 

2020 hasn’t been the best year so far has it?

Corona has been a disaster for basically everyone who isn’t a billionaire

The heatwaves seem to be getting worse. The wildfires, the hurricanes, the seemingly uncontrollable melting of the ice sheets; the climate in general seems madder than ever. 

The deep-rooted systemic racism entrenched deep within our societies is clear for everyone to see.

People are protesting all over the world for one reason or another, and mostly with good cause. From Hong Kong, to Chile, to Belarus, to Lebanon, to the US, and all over the world; there seems to be inequality and injustice everywhere you look.

People have been violently turned against each other over something as harmless as having to wear a piece of cloth on our faces. Hatred and distrust seems to be spewing from all corners of the globe. The supposed shining light of international ‘democracy’ has become a despicably racist illiterate potato-head led totalitarian military dictatorship equipped with a weaponised secret police force and a licence to maim. 

And honestly, sometimes it’s really hard to know what at all to think, because large sections of the media have clearly become more interested in spreading fear and generating clicks than reporting anything that even remotely resembles some form of reason or truth. 

2020; the absolute opposite of 20/20 vision. 

I reckon this pretty much sums up 2020 so far.

But 2020 has certainly not been a completely hopeless year:

For the first time since I can remember, the deep-rooted issue of racism in our societies is finally being discussed openly, and at length, with a view to actually taking action and doing something about it. Renewable energy has now become widely economically viable, and seems to be taking over from fossil fuels for good. Cities around the world have decided to ditch the cars and embrace the bikes. And the numerous random acts of kindness we have witnessed during the pandemic have been truly heartwarming. 

Not only this, there have also been many unsung heroes of 2020. Just your ‘regular’ ‘everyday’ people who have done incredible, inspirational things, but who may not have gotten the air-time they deserve.

I’m sure there are inspirational people like this doing inspirational things all around the globe every single day, and that reality is something that can truly bring us hope. But since many of these stories are probably never even reported, and since I can’t possibly cover all of these ‘everyday heroes’ in one article, here are eight heartwarming examples I was able to find. 

What a bunch of absolute legends!

The Unsung Heroes

1. Taco Bell Employee Sonja Frazier Saves Man’s Life in the Middle of the Drive-Thru

Sonja Frazier on the left, saved a man’s life in the middle of a Taco Bell drive-thru!

Imagine working at a fast-food drive-thru and finding someone passed out in their van with blue hands and barely a pulse. I reckon I’d probably panic in that situation myself, and I think a lot of people would probably do the same, but that wasn’t the case with 37-year-old Sonja Frazier.

Just last week, while working at a Taco Bell drive-thru, Frazier and her work colleagues noticed that something was stopping the queue of cars from moving forward. When they investigated what was causing the blockage, they found a man passed out in the driver’s seat of his van. Instantly, they called an ambulance, and pulled the guy out of the van and lay him down on his side.

“I don’t look at myself as a hero. This is what I was supposed to do. It doesn’t matter who he was or what skin colour he had. I knew I was there to save his life. But it really was overwhelming emotionally. After I just smoked a cigarette and cried.”

– Sonja Frazier

Instead of just waiting for the ambulance to arrive, Sonja was quick-thinking enough to check for a pulse, which she found to be very weak. The 911 dispatcher on the phone asked if anyone knew CPR, and Sonja who had previously worked for six years as a home healthcare worker, stepped forward. 

She performed CPR on the man for roughly 11 minutes until the medical professionals arrived at the scene, and the man survived to tell the tale. 

Of course it was the teamwork and quick-thinking of Sonja Frazier and her follow employees that ultimately saved this man’s life, but if Sonja hadn’t administered the CPR before the medics arrived, it’s likely that the man in question would not be alive today.

Looking back on the incident Sonja modestly confessed: “I don’t look at myself as a hero. This is what I was supposed to do. It doesn’t matter who he was or what skin colour he had. I knew I was there to save his life. But it really was overwhelming emotionally. After I just smoked a cigarette and cried.”

A well deserved cigarette if there ever was one. What could have been a real tragic story, turned out to be a happy one, all thanks to the heroics of Sonja Frazier and her colleagues. Legends! 

2. 6-Year-Old Bridger Walker Saves His Little Sister From Vicious Dog Attack 

The now Honorary WBC Champion of the World, 6-year-old Bridger Walker stepped in to save his sister from a vicious dog attack, sustaining serious facial injuries in the process. What an absolute warrior.

Okay so you may well have heard about this one already, as the story did go viral not so long ago, but this guy Bridger Walker is far too incredible not to include in any article about inspirational people and heroes. 

Just last month, while playing in a friend’s garden with his 4-year-old sister, 6-year-old Bridger Walker stepped between his little sister and a vicious dog who was charging towards her. The dog ended up biting Bridger repeatedly in the head, face, and cheek, and he required serious surgery and roughly 90 stitches as a result of the attack. Importantly for Bridger though, his sister was completely unharmed.

He was even quoted as saying after the attack that “If someone had to die, I thought it should be me.” A ridiculous showing of courage and self-sacrifice for someone so young, and surely an inspiration to us all.

This story has since gone viral, and Bridger has received many messages of support and gifts from folks around the world and from ‘Avengers’ Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk), Chris Evans (Captain America), Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man), and various other celebrities. Clearly Bridger Walker is the real-life superhero in this story.  

Bridger has even been officially named as an ‘Honorary WBC Champion of the World’ by the World Boxing Council, and received an official belt from them, as well as other gifts and a call from Mike Tyson! A well-deserved honour if you ask me.

Unfortunately the dog involved in the attack has since been put down. This was against the wishes of Bridger who ‘didn’t want to see the dog hurt,’ which just illustrates even further the level of kindness and compassion in this little warrior’s heart. I was going to say I reckon this fella Bridger Walker will surely grow up to be a truly incredible human being, but it’s clear to see that he already is. What an absolute hero.

“If someone had to die, I thought it should be me.”

– Honorary WBC Champion of the World Bridger Walker, after saving his little sister from a vicious dog attack.

And to add even more layers of heartwarmingness and inspiration to this story, Bridger’s family took advantage of the worldwide coverage the story received to send this beautiful message of love and togetherness to the world:

“After Bridger’s actions, our family has settled on a simple request: may we each actively strive to bear one another’s burdens; stand up for and protect those that are weak, oppressed, or those whom the world might forsake; mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that need comfort, and love one another. May we follow Bridger’s example, approach the world as a child, and bring greater peace to our own homes, communities, states, and countries.”

Incredible words. I really hope one day we will all strive to live by them. 

3. Teenager Hita Gupta Sends Care Packages to 23 Nursing Homes During Pandemic 

15-Year-Old Hita Gupta has been sending care packages to over 23 nursing homes during the pandemic in an effort to show the elderly residents some love. She plans to continue sending the packages until the pandemic is over. Incredible effort, from a super-kind soul.

Loneliness is a terrible, sometimes unbearable thing, and it is often most prevalent with elderly people. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, issues of loneliness, boredom and anxiety within the elderly community have only gotten worse, as many vulnerable elderly folks and nursing home residents have been unable to receive visitors.

15-year-old Hita Gupta has long been aware of the isolation faced by many elderly people, and had been volunteering at a local nursing home for over a year before the pandemic hit. (What a kind kind soul.)

When she was no longer allowed to visit as a result of corona-related restrictions, she decided to go above and beyond to ensure that nursing home residents in her surrounding area were not without human contact and entertainment.

“Loneliness is now a bigger problem than ever with our pandemic and social distancing guidelines. We need to let nursing home residents know that they are not being forgotten, and that they are not alone. As a community, we need to work together to make seniors feel loved and valued.”

– Hita Gupta

Hita started putting together ‘care packages’ containing colouring books, puzzles, and handwritten notes from her and her little brother, and delivering these packages to all of the nursing homes in her area

She has so far sent packages to 23 nursing homes, and says she will continue sending them until the pandemic is over.

I can only imagine what a difference it must make to the folks in those nursing homes to receive the handmade packages. The amount of love, care and attention put into them must be clear to see, and I’m sure it lets everyone receiving the packages know that they are loved, and that they are not alone. What a wonderful thing that is.

As Hita says: “Loneliness is now a bigger problem than ever with our pandemic and social distancing guidelines. We need to let nursing home residents know that they are not being forgotten, and that they are not alone. As a community, we need to work together to make seniors feel loved and valued.”

Hugely important words, and what a special human being.

Also, after initially paying for all the supplies out of her own pocket, Hita has now set up a GoFundMe campaign, so if you fancy chipping in to help her on her wonderful mission, just click the link in the text above! 

4. 96-Year-Old Giuseppe Paternò Graduates Top Of His University Class 

Giuseppe Paternò fulfilled a lifelong dream this year by graduating top of his University class with first class honours, proving that it is never too late to chase, and achieve your dreams. Really wonderful stuff.

Wow. I have to say this one really did impress me. The sheer determination and drive this guy has shown to achieve his dream when many would have long given up is truly inspirational. Really incredible stuff.

Just a few weeks ago, 96-year-old Giuseppe Paternò fulfilled a lifelong dream by graduating top of his class with first-class honours in philosophy from the University of Palermo. He has now become Italy’s oldest ever graduate.

Although being able to study was always Giuseppe’s ‘greatest aspiration,’ he was never able to do so as a child because he came from a large family and was ‘very poor.’ After working at his father’s brewery as a child, Giussepe then worked as a telegrapher for the Italian army during World War II, and went on to work for the state railway service after the war.

Giussepe recalls that while he was working for the railway service after the war he always had ‘an overwhelming desire to dive into books and read, study and learn,’ and at 31 he graduated high school as a surveyor after attending evening classes. (All the while working during the day and supporting his family!)

It wasn’t until 2017 that Giussepe finally found the opportunity to follow his dream and enrol in University. (Meaning he started a four-year University course at the ripe young age of 92!) 

Incredibly, Giuseppe is now considering carrying on for a master’s degree, as he says: “my mother lived to be 100. If the numbers and the genetics are on my side, then I still have four years left.”

– Giuseppe Paternò

Fantastically, he proved that sometimes you don’t have to teach an old dog new tricks, as he completed all his assignments on an old typewriter! 

Apparently, during his studies his neighbours used to ask ‘why all this trouble at your age?’ And he explains that ‘they couldn’t understand the importance of reaching a dream, regardless of my age.’

Giuseppe considers the day he graduated top of his class as ‘one of the happiest days of (his) entire life,’ and astonishingly, he is now ‘considering carrying on for a master’s degree.’ He says, “my mother lived to be 100. If the numbers and the genetics are on my side, then I still have four years left.”

What an incredible story, what an incredible human. Proof, that it is never too late. 

5. 10-Year-Old Chelsea Phaire Has Sent Over 1500 Art Kits to Kids in Homeless Shelters and Foster Homes 

10-Year-Old Chelsea Phaire has already set up her own charity, and with the help of her parents, has sent over 1500 art kits to children in homeless shelters and foster homes. Truly incredible.

Much like the story above about Hita Gupta sending care packages to nursing homes, 10-year-old Chelsea Phaire is doing something similar; sending art kits to children in homeless shelters and foster care homes.

After nagging her parents about wanting to start a charity since she was seven years old (my goodness, at the age of seven I was nagging my parents for nothing but sweets, Playstation games, and Spiderman toys; what a thoughtful, generous, mature soul this Chelsea girl really is), they finally helped her to launch ‘Chelsea’s Charity’ last year. 

Chelsea’s charity began (or was born!) on Chelsea’s birthday when she asked party guests to donate art supplies instead of giving her gifts. She then began making art kits and sending them to children who really need them.

“I have definitely grown as a person because of this. Now my dream is to meet every kid in the entire world and give them art. Who knows, maybe if we do that and then our kids do that, we’ll have world peace!”

– Chelsea Phaire

Before the pandemic hit, Chelsea actually used to go with her mother to meet some of these kids in person to share drawing techniques! She has since sent over 1500 art kits to homeless shelters and foster care homes as she wants to ‘give children something uplifting to do when they’re feeling down.’ Amazing stuff. 

Chelsea explains that “I feel good inside knowing how happy they are when they get their art kits.” And that “I have definitely grown as a person because of this. Now my dream is to meet every kid in the entire world and give them art. Who knows, maybe if we do that and then our kids do that, we’ll have world peace!”

Using the power of art and expression to unite the human family; I truly hope that Chelsea Phaire one day achieves her dream. What an inspirational soul she is.

If you would like to help Chelsea achieve her goals, you can donate to her wonderful charity here

6. Trumpeter Shamarr Allen is Giving Free Trumpets to Young People in Exchange for Their Guns 

Musician Shamarr Allen has launched a program where young people can trade in their guns and receive a free trumpet and free music lessons from local musicians. An incredible initiative with the aim of giving disadvantaged young people an outlet beyond violence.

Art is certainly something with the power to bring people together and to promote love and creativity over violence. Another thing that certainly holds that power is music.

Proving this to be the case, trumpeter Shamarr Allen is working to literally harness the power of music to reduce gun violence among young people by offering to give them trumpets in exchange for their guns. 

To do this, Shamarr has set up a ‘gun-for-trumpet’ exchange program called Trumpet Is My Weapon. Although the program has only been active for one month, it has already collected four guns which have been turned over to police. That is four young people who now have a creative outlet in place of a violent weapon in the space of a month, incredibly encouraging news!

“People don’t understand that these kids are trying and wanting to do other things, but there’s just nothing for them to do.”

– Shamarr Allen

Shamarr was compelled to start the Trumpet Is My Weapon program after the tragic death of 9-year-old Devante Bryant from gun violence just last month. Shamarr has a 9-year-old son himself, so the tragic news of Devante Bryant’s death was even more cutting for him.

With some extra trumpets lying around, Shamarr posted on social media: ‘To all the youth in New Orleans, bring me a gun and I’ll give you a trumpet, no questions asked.’ The program is set up in such a way that any young person who wants to hand over a gun can do so with no questions asked, as Mr. Allen stresses how important it is that the kids who come to the exchange feel safe, and know that they won’t get into any trouble. The local police are also on board with this method, as they realise that the most important thing is to get the guns off the street.

What makes this program even better is that beyond providing these young people with trumpets, local musicians have also volunteered to offer free music lessons. As Shamarr put it, “People don’t understand that these kids are trying and wanting to do other things, but there’s just nothing for them to do.”

Well thankfully, now there is something for them to do!

Just imagine as this program progresses how many lives it might save. Imagine in ten years time we might have a world famous musician in place of another tragic story of violence and death on the streets. I feel like the butterly effect will be incredibly prevalent here, we can’t imagine all the good that will come from something like this. A truly amazing idea.

Here is the link for the Trumpet Is My Weapon GoFundMe page if you would like to contribute. 

7. Michelle Brenner Makes Over 1200 Free Lasagnas to Feed Her Community 

After being laid off work due to the pandemic, Michelle Brenner, or, ‘The Lasagna Lady‘, started making free homemade lasagnas for the folks in her community. By the end of June, she had delivered over 1200 lasagnas, and she is still going strong!

We’ve seen the power of art and music to comfort people and bring people together, but let’s not forget about the power of food!

Michelle Brenner certainly didn’t forget about the power of food. After being furloughed from her job because of the coronavirus, Michelle, like many people, was left with a lot of time on her hands. She began by using this time to help her neighbours out with their shopping, and after delivering some store-bought lasagnas to her neighbours she had an idea.

Apparently Michelle’s grandmother had given her a top-notch lasagna recipe, and being a ‘die-hard, full Italian lasagna lover’ herself, Michelle decided she would offer to make her grandmother’s lasagna for anyone in her community who wanted one.

“The world as we know it is falling apart, but my two little hands are capable of making a difference.” “I can’t change the world, but I can make lasagna.”

– Michelle Brenner, or, ‘The Lasagna Lady’

So she posted on her community Facebook page: ‘If any of you want some fresh homemade, no calorie counting lasagna, please let me know and I will gladly prepare it,’ and she started buying ingredients using her unemployment stimulus cheque. 

Michelle began by funding the project herself, and initially offered lasagnas for people to collect in her front yard, but soon enough she was offered a community clubhouse kitchen to work in, and people started donating whatever they could while collecting their lasagnas. 

She also started a Facebook fundraiser for the project, which is no longer active, and people ended up donating from all over the world. By the end of June Michelle had already made over 1200 lasagnas, and had been working eight hours a day, seven days a week feeding the hungry folks in her community! As a result of her efforts, she is now well known in her community as ‘The Lasagna Lady.’ 

In her own words: “The world as we know it is falling apart, but my two little hands are capable of making a difference.’ ‘I can’t change the world, but I can make lasagna.” Amazing what two little hands can be capable of! 

Back at the end of June Michelle hoped to ‘be making lasagna for many months to come.’ And considering that she now has a dedicated Facebook page for the project which seems to be very active, it looks like she still is! 

What a kind, generous, loving, inspirational human. I have to say though, I’m feeling pretty hungry after writing all that! 

8. Dr. Zhang Hong Saves Man’s Life Mid-Flight With a Makeshift Catheter 

Dr. Zhang Hong saved a man’s life mid flight by fashioning a makeshift catheter out of a straw, a syringe, and parts from an oxygen mask. Incredible, lifesaving actions!

The first real-life hero I included in this article was Sonja Frazier, who saved a man’s life just last week, and our final hero is also someone who saved a man’s life, at the very beginning of 2020. (I believe the incident actually took place near the end of 2019, remember those simpler times? But still, I’m including it because it’s a worthy story.)

Only seven hours in to a thirteen-hour flight late last year, a man with a history of prostate enlargement was in severe pain, and at risk of his bladder exploding.

Alerted to the situation, Dr. Zhang Hong was very quick to figure out a clever, if unusual solution, and he fashioned a makeshift catheter out of a straw, a syringe, and the plastic tube of an oxygen mask. 

Following the incident Dr. Hong insisted that ‘saving lives is in his instincts and so the extreme nature of the intervention never crossed his mind.’ 

Dr. Hong then used this homemade (planemade?) contraption to suck urine out of the patient’s bladder over the course of over half an hour, surely saving the man’s life in the process. 

Following the incident Dr. Hong insisted that ‘saving lives is in his instincts and so the extreme nature of the intervention never crossed his mind.’ 

Those are some pretty fantastic instincts if you ask me. If I’m ever in a similar situation to the man in this story, I really hope there is somebody like Dr. Hong around to help out. 

A true, understated, lifesaving hero. 

Here’s to a Better 2021 (I Realise It’s Still Only August, but Desperate Times and All That)

Maybe, just maybe, if enough of us follow the lead of the inspirational people in this article, 2021 might look a little more like this. 

And so there you have it. 

2020 has been a truly terrible year so far, and it seems like the worst of it isn’t over yet. But there is hope within the madness, light within the darkness, and calm beyond the flames.

It is ‘everyday’ people like the beautiful folks in this article that give me faith for a better tomorrow. 

The courage, love, kindness, selflessness, and downright shining humanity displayed by all of these people really is something to behold, and an inspiration for us all.

And these are just a few stories. There are countless other examples just like these from all around the world if you go looking for them, and many more that have never been documented. 

2020 has been a truly terrible year so far, and it seems like the worst of it isn’t over yet. But there is hope within the madness, light within the darkness, and calm beyond the flames.

If we can all take a little encouragement from the actions of these kind people, and try to incorporate a similar kindness into our own everyday lives and interactions with our fellow humans, we can create a beautiful butterfly effect, and you never know, maybe 2021 will be our best year yet. 

Love, peace, prosperity, happiness, kindness, and friendship to all in these challenging times.

About the Author

Adam Millett is a freelance writer for hire who specialises in sustainability and environmental issues. He believes the economy should be circular, businesses should make the world a better place, and that effective content is the best way to spread the word about sustainability. Visit his website at wordchameleon.com if you want to bring your vision of sustainability to life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: