GOOD NEWS
12/15/2016 10:42 am ET Updated Dec 19, 2016
PRESENTED BY EBAY

4 Inspiring Stories About Gifts that Keep On Giving

Whether it’s an act of kindness – as simple as a smile to a stranger ― or a toy that your loved one has been asking for all year, a thoughtful gift can make an average day truly extraordinary – sometimes even newsworthy. 

We partnered with eBay and found a handful of stories that celebrate the act of giving. From a policeman whose gift allowed a young girl to achieve in school to a team of students who created a car that provides independence ― let these feel good stories be our gift to you, and help us spread the holiday spirit by sharing them with your loved ones this holiday season.

  • How The Gift of One iPad Meant Infinite Possibilities
    When Sheriff Daniel Dunlap of Lake County, Ohio swears in his deputies, he gives them advice. “I tell them, ‘Ther
    Photo courtesy of the Lake County Sheriffs Office
    When Sheriff Daniel Dunlap of Lake County, Ohio swears in his deputies, he gives them advice. “I tell them, ‘There are many opportunities to be kind in this job. If you are in an older person’s home and they happen to have a beautiful rose garden, tell them that; and if you see a lemonade stand, don’t be afraid to buy some lemonade. You don’t have to drink it’,” said Dunlap, with a laugh. “But [Deputy Zach Ropos] went and out bested me.”   Sheriff Dunlap is referring to an act of kindness from one of his deputies that touched the hearts of strangers around the world this summer.   Deputy Ropos had, as he had been advised by the Sheriff, stopped at a child’s lemonade stand on a hot summer day. He asked the girl tending the stand what she planned to do with her hard-earned money. The 9-year-old, Gabrielle, told Ropos that her family had been having a difficult time financially, and she hoped to save up enough of her own money to buy an iPad. She wanted to play games on it and use it to access the internet for schoolwork.   Ropos went home immediately after his shift to look for an older iPad, one that he no longer used. When he went to turn it on, he realized it didn’t work. And so, Ropos bought Gabrielle a new iPad of her very own. He delivered it to her in this now famous photo that has been seen more than one million times, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.   "I really didn't want all the media attention. I just wanted to see the smile on a little girl’s face and that was worth a million dollars to me..." said Ropos.
  • How Specialty Race Cars Provided Independence for Kids with Limited Mobility
    Four-year-old Elizabeth Sidwell has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and, as a result, she can’t walk, talk or feed
    Photo courtesy of the Georgia Institute of Technology
    Four-year-old Elizabeth Sidwell has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and, as a result, she can’t walk, talk or feed herself. Her mother had heard about a program, “Go Baby Go,” where volunteer engineers modified toy cars so that children with limited mobility could use them. Last month, students at the Georgia Institute of Technology brought the program to their school. Through “Go Baby Go,” they turned a pink plastic “Hello Kitty” car into a one-of-a-kind convertible for 4-year-old Elizabeth. The modifications allow Elizabeth to move herself around with the touch of a button. The team of student volunteers turned 14 other toy cars (many donated by Fisher-Price) into customized power wheels for other young children as well. “This team of students completely transformed the car. My daughter slumps over and can’t sit up in a chair. They added buttons and pool noodles to it, just regular stuff, and rewired it so that she could sit up unassisted and reach a button to make the wheels go,” said Sidwell. Divya Achtani, a senior, helped spearhead the project at Georgia Tech this year. She explained that the “Go Baby Go” project was originally founded at the University of Delaware but was brought to her school by a student whose cousin had Spina Bifida. Achtani and some of her classmates took months planning and executing the project. And Sidwell, for one, is grateful for the students’ efforts. “They went to a lot of trouble and great lengths for our families. And I’m very thankful. Seeing her now in [the car] is a joy.”
  • How One Bicycle Started a Movement
    Atticus Seng had his bicycle stolen, twice in one month, from outside his Fresno, California elementary school. The second ti
    Photo courtesy of Jeremiah Seng
    Atticus Seng had his bicycle stolen, twice in one month, from outside his Fresno, California elementary school. The second time it happened, the story of the unlucky 9-year-old boy and his two stolen bicycles made the local news; and the segment captured the attention of students from Fresno High School. Teenagers there decided to raise money to buy Seng a new bike. In a short amount of time, the teens raised $360 from other students and teachers by going classroom to classroom. A group of the participating high schoolers presented Seng with the new mountain bike at his elementary school, and his parents say that he and they were truly overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of the local teens.   In fact, Seng and his parents were so moved by the high schoolers acts of kindness that they decided to “pay it forward.” They donated money in the amount of the cost of the new bicycle to an organization called “Off The Front,” a nonprofit that provides bikes to children who would not be able to otherwise have them. The $360 provided bicycles and helmets to three other deserving children. Yes, one boy, two stolen bikes, plus the help of many ultimately equaled four new bikes for four children. “In the end, it really felt like everyone won,” said Jeremiah Seng, the boy’s father.
  • How One Boy’s Birthday Present became a Christmas Miracle for Many
    One morning, when Ray Mohler Jr. was 4 years old, he woke up with pain in both of his hips. The pain brought Mohler to the ho
    Photo courtesy of the Little Saint Nick Foundation
    One morning, when Ray Mohler Jr. was 4 years old, he woke up with pain in both of his hips. The pain brought Mohler to the hospital. “I was there for eight hours and scared. And when I got to go home, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that there were kids who were going to have to stay there.” Mohler’s birthday just happens to be on Christmas Eve. And that Christmas, thinking of the children who were left behind at the hospital, Mohler chose to donate half of all his birthday and Christmas presents to them. Soon after, Mohler, with the help of his family, founded the Little Saint Nick Foundation. Its mission is to make hospitals more kid-friendly for the young patients. With more than 500,000 gift bags, toys, movies and electronics donated to children in hospitals across the country in the last 13 years, Mohler’s foundation is still going strong. In addition, Mohler has inspired other kids to take action as well. Thirteen-year-old Agha Haider was home with a broken leg “binge watching” TV and saw a show on Nickelodeon featuring Mohler and the Little Saint Nick Foundation. Haider was captivated seeing how one kid had made a difference for so many. He emailed the foundation to see how he could get involved. Haider and Mohler eventually started corresponding. Last month, at a St. Louis hospital, the results of Mohler and Haider’s joint efforts paid off. More than one hundred volunteers helped to pack 300 gift bags, filled with gifts like stuffed animals and coloring books, that were later distributed at two local children’s hospitals.

It’s amazing what can be accomplished when inspired and presented with a simple gift. In these stories an iPad, toy cars, a bike, and Christmas presents changed the lives of many. eBay is the perfect place to find a gift that will inspire the loved ones on your list this holiday season.

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