Weird History
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Facts That Actually Made Us Feel Good

April 16, 2021 17.2k votes 2.5k voters 47.6k views12 items

List RulesVote up the facts that make you feel good.

Between wars, epidemics, and stress about the unknown future, the world can seem like a dark place. But, every now and then, it's nice to pause and reflect on some of the good things that have happened and are happening in the world.

From two enemy pilots who found common humanity in a time of war to a music superstar who performs small acts of kindness for fans, these feel-good facts are welcome reminders that, on balance, the world isn't a completely terrible place after all. In fact, it's filled with good people doing good things and animals showing how important it is to look out for one another.

  • 1

    A Japanese Railroad Waited To Close A Train Station Until After Its Only Customer Graduated

    Like many high school students, Japanese teenager Kana Harada commuted to school every day via train. The problem was that she was the only passenger who caught the train from the Kyu-Shirataki station.

    Considering how underused Kyu-Shirataki was, the company that ran the train line intended to shut down the station. But they agreed to keep it open for one more year - long enough for Harada to finish school without needing to change her commute. In other words, the train made a special stop just for her.

    Feel-good fact?
  • 2

    Jonas Salk Didn't Patent The Polio Vaccine Because He Felt It Was A Public Good

    By the mid-1950s, Jonas Salk and his team at the University of Pittsburgh had developed a safe and effective vaccine for polio. It was a game-changer

    But, who technically "owned" the vaccine? As Salk explained to Edward R. Murrow, "The people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?" Even though he developed it, Salk decided that he wouldn't seek a patent on the vaccine because it belonged to everyone. 

    Feel-good fact?
  • 3

    A German Pilot Escorted An American Pilot To Safety During World War II, And They Became Friends

    In late 1943, American pilot Charles Brown's plane took a beating during a bombing mission over Germany. Since Brown was flying over German air space, the possibility of landing there wasn't one he wanted to entertain. 

    Noticing that Brown's plane was vulnerable, Franz Stigler - a German pilot - decided to help a fellow human. Stigler flew his plane alongside Brown's to protect it from German fire and escorted it to the North Sea so that Brown could make it safely back to his base in England.

    Decades after Stigler's act of compassion, he and Brown reconnected and became friends.

    Feel-good fact?
  • Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Mr. Rogers Routinely Replied To Letters From Young Fans

    As one of the most recognizable faces in children's television, Fred Rogers - AKA "Mr. Rogers" - took young people seriously. He took them so seriously, in fact, that he was committed to guiding children through their feelings off-camera too.

    Heather Arnet, one of his former assistants, shared with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette how Rogers would personally reply to letters he received. He even made replying to letters part of his morning routine.

    Feel-good fact?