It wasn’t all bad
Thomas Panek made history this week when he became the first blind person to complete the New York City Half Marathon with guide dogs and no human assistance. A trio of Labrador retrievers—named Waffle, Westley, and Gus—took turns leading Panek throughout the 13.1-mile race, and he crossed the finish line in just over 2 hours 20 minutes. “No matter what your challenge is,” said Panek, 48, who is CEO of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, “don’t let anyone tell you [that] you can’t.”
Tanitoluwa: Power player
An 8-year-old Nigerian refugee who lives in a homeless shelter in Manhattan was last week crowned New York’s state chess champion for his age group. Tanitoluwa Adewumi and his parents, who are devout Christians, fled northern Nigeria in 2017 to escape the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram. The youngster started learning chess at school a year ago and dazzled his teacher with his skills. Tanitoluwa spends hours each evening practicing his game on the floor of the shelter and is now preparing for the national championship in May. “I want to be the youngest grandmaster in the world,” Tanitoluwa says.
Dan Laguardia went to a California car dealership with plans to trade in his 2005 Toyota Scion and buy a new auto. But then he saw another customer walk out crying and asked a salesman what had happened. Laguardia, 49, discovered that Kayla Cooper—a struggling 22-year-old nursing student with two jobs—was upset because she couldn’t afford a down payment and didn’t know how she was going to get to work. Knowing he had to do something, Laguardia asked the salesman to call Cooper and then offered her his old Scion for free, no strings attached. The delighted Cooper called the gift “the biggest blessing of my life.”