04/20/14 Human Interest
He skipped his last class Thursday, raced up three flights of stairs at the back of his high school, into Room 302, where he had stashed the flowers and his fishing pole.
His friends already were there helping: Shannon on the floor, coloring a poster. Brendan, who was going to hold it. Matt had brought the bullhorn.
None of them were in this seventh-period health class. But the teacher had agreed to let Ryan Anderson, 17, use her window....
04/04/14 Human Interest
His boss at Bama Sea Products told him to take Friday off. Sleep in, relax. Enjoy your birthday.
Oh, and stop by the warehouse so we can buy you lunch.
Newton Murray turned 100 this week.
And every day he is able, he still wakes at 3:30 a.m., makes tea, wraps a paper towel around a piece of Walmart fried chicken, and carries his little Coleman cooler two blocks to the bus. He gets to work by 8 a.m. and sweeps inside and around the sprawling buildings, as big as two city blocks. He naps in the supply room....
04/02/14 Human Interest
He left home before dawn that Saturday, followed two friends in a caravan to the Keys.
South of Miami where the light is too bright, north of Key West where Navy planes distort the air, the men pitched their tents and telescopes in a shoreside Girl Scout camp.
Big Scout Key. The best place in the world, they say, to capture the stars.
"You can see things there that you can't see anywhere else," says John O'Neill, 69, an advertising salesman and amateur astronomer from Seminole....
03/22/14 Human Interest
He stood at the pulpit that Sunday in September, sweating in a donated suit, clutching a Bible he had borrowed from his boys home.
"My name is Davion," he said softly. "And I've been in foster care since I was born."
Davion Navar Henry Only, 15, told the church full of strangers he never knew his real family. "But I know God hasn't given up on me," he said softly. "I just hope he finds me a home — and a family."...
02/13/14 Human Interest
TRINITY — In the passenger seat of his mom's SUV, Austin Erickson sits silently, clutching his wallet, watching as his subdivision slides by.
"So Publix?" asks his mom, turning onto the highway. "Target?"
Austin, who is 11, doesn't look at her. "The Hallmark store," he says. "This has to be special."
Normally, Austin hates going to the Hallmark store, waiting for his mom and older sisters to sift through Vera Bradley bags while surrounded by all the candles that are supposed to smell like rain....
02/10/14 Human Interest
From the top of the ski deck, the view is terrifying.
Jamila Chedid, 27, scanned the scenery and stared at the crowd gathering below.
Flat fir trees with painted snow caps hugged the wall. Mannequins grinned in bright Under Armour jackets. Ahead, a dozen shoppers stood between shelves of boots to watch her slide down the cream carpet at Florida's only ski slope.
"Okay, keep your hands in front of you and bend your knees," said Michael Schenker, who teaches skiing at Bill Jackson's Shop for Adventure. "Are you ready?"...
01/09/14 Human Interest
He unlocked his shop just after 8 a.m., clicked on the neon "Open" sign in the window facing Fourth Street.
To his right, just outside the door, the barber pole was still spinning.
In 46 years, he had never turned it off.
"Cold out there this morning," he said to his partner on Wednesday. "Don't know that we'll get many today."
The shop was small. Three chairs lined the northern wall, but his was separate. They all had cushioned footrests — with ashtrays carved into the right arm. The black seats sagged with the weight of four generations....
12/29/13 Human Interest
Second of two parts
She kept expecting her daughter to come home. It wasn't denial. Or even hope. She just couldn't imagine her world without Liane.
Even while she was choosing a casket, even when she was selecting flowers for the funeral, Charla Moye was watching for Liane to walk through the door.
"I keep hearing her voice," Charla said.
A week had dragged by since she had found her only child dying in a friend's bed, bloated and blue. Charla, a 58-year-old cardiac nurse, had tried to revive Liane, 31. Two days later, she took her off life support....
12/27/13 Human Interest
First of two parts
When Charla Moye finally found her daughter sprawled on a friend's bed, naked and blue, she knew Liane was dying. ¶ "Call 911!" Charla screamed to her daughter's friends, who were just standing there. "Someone, call 911!" ¶ Charla planted both hands on her daughter's chest and started pumping. When that didn't work, she leaned down and covered her daughter's mouth with her own. She could taste the bile, what was left of the vomit. ¶ Charla, a 58-year-old cardiac nurse, had spent decades caring for strangers, from South Tampa to South America. But on that Saturday afternoon in April, the week before Easter 2011, she couldn't save her only child. ¶ She followed the ambulance to the hospital. Through tears, Charla asked the emergency room doctor to do something other parents might not have thought of during such a crisis: ¶ "At least save her organs."...
12/24/13 Human Interest
For weeks, Bishoy had begged his parents. "Please, take me to see Santa!"
The other kids in his first-grade class already had gone. They talked about sitting in Santa's lap. They'd placed their orders.
"Well, we prayed about it," his dad kept saying. "Papa Noel knows you want a bike."
"No, no, no," Bishoy Hana, 6, kept trying to explain. "That's not how they do it here. You can't just pray. You have to go tell Santa what you want. At the mall."...
10/25/13 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — He went to church that Sunday to plead for a family.
Over the next two weeks his story spread across the world, popping up on websites, TV screens and front pages from here to India.
The Florida teenager says he has found his purpose.
And 10,000 people believe they have found a son.
• • •
Davion Navar Henry Only, 15, was born in prison, raised in foster care, and lives in a group home with 12 other boys. He has never had his own room or felt wanted....
10/23/13 Human Interest
Nico Hendriks' drama teacher called him out of class the other day with an urgent question: Would he like to play the young soldier in the school production of Clybourne Park?
Nico nodded, grinning. He had auditioned for the part, but it had gone to a senior.
Now that boy was out of the show (something about leaving campus without permission) and Nico was in....
10/09/13 Human Interest
On the beach that evening, after they played catch for almost an hour, Deni Elliott knelt in the sand beside her partner, cupped his wet chin in her hand, and started to cry.
"You're a good boy, Wylie," she said, tipping her forehead to touch his. "I'm sure they will have beaches where you're going."
They sat together in the crisp wind, listening to the sea gulls fussing overhead. Wylie loved chasing birds, but now he just leaned against her, letting her hold him....
10/07/13 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — As soon as they pulled into the church lot, Davion changed his mind.
"Miss! Hey, Miss!" he called to his caseworker, who was driving. "I don't want to do this anymore."
In the back seat, he hugged the Bible someone had given him at the foster home. "You're going to be great," Connie Going said.
Outside St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, she straightened his tie. Like his too-big black suit, the white tie had been donated. It zipped up around the neck, which helped. No one had ever taught Davion, 15, how to tie one....
She had hoped to decide by January. Then she said summer, which turned into September. All year, she had agonized: Should she run for governor again?
Finally, with time to launch a campaign running out, Alex Sink broke the news last Friday: She would not try in 2014 for the job she almost won in 2010.
Instead, she would continue to work with entrepreneurs through her Florida Next Foundation and support candidates "who I believe share my vision."...