LOS ANGELES - The COVID-19 pandemic somewhat faded as a top story in 2022 with supply chain disruptions, Russia’s war on Ukraine and record-high inflation taking a front seat.
But, the year wasn’t all bad.
From small acts of kindness to awe-inspiring events, 2022 still delivered joy, laughs and happy tears.
To end things on a great note, below is a list of some of the good things that happened in 2022, so we can all leave the year behind with a glimmer of optimism.
'Miracle' baby born on 2/22/22 at 2:22 a.m. in labor and delivery room No. 2
Many around the world paid special attention to the palindrome date of Feb. 22, or 2/22/22. But perhaps no one did more than the Spear family of Burlington, North Carolina, who welcomed their "miracle" baby girl on a night they’ll never forget.
Baby Judah Grace was born to first-time parents Aberli and Hank Spear at 2:22 a.m. ET on Tuesday, 2/22/22 at Cone Health Alamance Regional Medical Center. Adding to its rarity, she weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces, which equals 122 total ounces, and she was born in the hospital’s labor and delivery room No. 2.
Burger King employee who never missed a day of work in 27 years receives over $270K in donations
Kevin Ford, 54, of Las Vegas, Nevada has been working as a cook and a cashier at the Burger King in the city’s McCarran International Airport for the past 27 years. Ford said he’s never missed a day of work in that time.
Ford said the fund was originally aiming to raise something close to $200, but it has since raised nearly $400,000.
Halloween costume earns boy free McDonald's french fries for a year
In October, a nine-year-old from Ohio earned himself free fries for a year at a local McDonald’s restaurant thanks to a custom-made costume that transformed him into the beloved treat.
In a video, provided by Storyful, Blake is seen dressed up in a french fries outfit, while his younger brother Chance accompanies him as a packet of ketchup. In addition, the video features Ronald McDonald congratulating Blake on his costume, before presenting him with a certificate confirming his free fries.
"He was pretty excited," Blake’s mother Megan Mompher told FOX Television Stations. "We always stop and get him french fries and milkshakes after his doctor appointments at nationwide children’s hospital so he’s always been a McDonald’s fry fan! He did say ‘I knew it!’ when they gave him the year of free fries!"
The Mompher family from Delaware has made a point of making custom outfits for nine-year-old Blake, who has had Spina bifida, a condition that affects the spine, for the past six years. Blake has previously been a school bus, fire truck and a local weatherman for Halloween.
Domino’s Pizza employee makes dessert for girl whose birthday party guests didn't show
A Domino’s Pizza worker displayed an act of kindness after a birthday girl’s friends didn’t show up to her party.
The pizza restaurant chain, located in Queensland, Australia, received a call in October from a mother hoping to cancel a large order she had placed, since "a number of her daughter’s peers hadn’t turned up to her birthday party," the pizza franchise shared on social media.
Miles, the store’s shift supervisor, holds up dessert for girl. (Credit: Domino's Pizza)
After sharing her story, Miles, the store’s shift supervisor who took the call, decided to surprise her daughter with a special treat that could cheer her up.
"When I first heard that one of our customers wanted to cancel a large pizza order after only one friend turned up to her daughter’s birthday party, I knew I wanted to do something to cheer her up," Miles told FOX Television Stations.
When she arrived at the store to collect her one pizza, Miles surprised her with a custom chocolate dessert pizza topped with churros and brownies.
Chimpanzee reunited with newborn baby after nearly 2-day separation
Mahale and her new baby, Kucheza, which means "play" in Swahili, had to be separated following an emergency C-section.
The video was shared on the Sedgwick County Zoo’s official Facebook account.
"It's one of the most powerful things I’ve ever seen. She knows it’s her baby laying there. The baby is being very still, she’s looking at it like, ‘What’s going on,’ and once he moves, you see the relief and the love and just, oh my gosh, it’s just amazing. As a mom myself, it’s just, oh my gosh," the zoo’s communications director, Jennica King, told FOX TV Stations.
7-year-old goes viral after she loses shoe at track meet, comes back to win race
7-year-old Talaya Crawford, daughter of world champion boxer Terence "Bud" Crawford, went viral after a video showed her losing her shoe at the start of a race in Omaha, Nebraska, then making an incredible comeback and finishing first.
The video first appeared on Twitter on May 8 and racked up millions of views. Terence Crawford shared the video on his Instagram page in a proud papa moment.
"I just can’t stop thinking about my daughter’s track meet yesterday," he said. "She just doesn’t have a clue how much she just motivated me ... She let it all hang out even when she was hit with adversity."
Child collides with sloth on zip line in Costa Rican rainforest
In March, it was a wild ride for one child, who ran into an unlikely obstruction while zip lining: a sloth.
A child zooming on a zip line through a rainforest in La Fortuna, Costa Rica collided into a sloth clinging to the cable on March 13.
In the video, captured by a tour guide at Go Adventure Arenal Park, the tour guide can be heard telling the boy "no brake," before the child hits the slow-moving sloth and abruptly stops.
"So, seven people went on that cable and there was no sloth on it, and within 30 seconds a sloth got on the cable," Flavio Leiton Ramos, the owner of the park, said. "The good thing was that the child was doing a great job by using the brake, and also since the tour guide was with him, was able to handle the situation. But, really the child did a great job."
Grieving dog owner gets surprise when trying to return unused pet food
When Anna Brose’s dog passed, she decided to send unused pet food back to Chewy — not expecting the company to send her a gift back.
Brose said she found a box of flowers on her front porch in Madison, Wisconsin. She first thought it was from a friend or relative, but it turned out the bouquet came from Chewy.
"It was so touching and unexpected to receive the flowers from Chewy," she continued. "It absolutely blew me away. I've always had great customer service from them, but this was a whole other level. It meant so much to us that they knew and cared that Gus was gone."
Couple gets married on flight to Vegas: 'Any turbulence, I want to weather it with you'
A couple headed to Las Vegas to elope weren’t about to let travel troubles stop them from celebrating their big day: Thanks to a complete stranger and a Southwest Airlines pilot, Pam and Jeremy said "I do" on a plane 37,000 feet above Arizona.
While at the gate area, they met Chris, another passenger who, turned out, was an ordained minister. When he heard the couple would miss their 9 p.m. wedding chapel appointment, he offered to marry them himself when they got to Sin City.
The flight’s captain was rather curious about Pam’s wedding dress as she boarded the plane. When she told him the story, she joked that maybe they should just get married on this flight.
"Let’s do it!" the captain replied.
Precious toddler walks his mom down the aisle in heartwarming video
A Michigan toddler stole hearts everywhere after he was caught on video walking his mom down the aisle on her wedding day.
Kristie and Bobby Mihelich were getting married at the Planterra Conservancy in West Bloomfield, Michigan, in late April and had their 2-year-old son Pierson serve as the ring bearer. At the start of the wedding, Pierson was standing with his dad and the minister when he saw his mom approach the aisle. The 2-year-old couldn’t contain his excitement.
"Hi mom!" he exclaimed, before rushing down the aisle to greet her. From there, the two walked down the aisle together in what felt "like a movie," his mom said on Good Morning America.
Officer, wife struggling with infertility adopt infant dropped off at hospital
The couple said they had always wanted to be parents but struggled with infertility.
The government informed them that an infant girl was dropped off at a hospital’s Safe Haven baby box in Lake County, a suburb of Chicago.
After passing the screening process, the couple officially adopted her on November 18, National Adoption Day.
Man finds 2.38-carat diamond after decade-long search at park
It took more than a decade for Adam Hardin to find treasure at Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park.
When he did, he discovered a 2.38-carat brown diamond on April 10, the largest diamond found at the park this year, according to park officials.
Adam Hardin and his 2.38-carat brown diamond that was found at Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park. (Credit: Arkansas State Park)
Hardin, a regular visitor to the park, sifted through wet soil from the East Drain of the park’s 37.5-acre search area when he found the gem.
"It was right in the middle when I flipped my screen over," Hardin said in a news release. "When I saw it, I said, ‘Wow, that’s a big diamond!’"
Couple gifted with honeymoon to Italy by Olive Garden following viral engagement photo shoot
A Tennessee couple who went viral on TikTok for taking their engagement photos outside of an Olive Garden was gifted with a free honeymoon to Italy by the popular restaurant franchise.
On August 24, Carlsey Bibb and Caden Mills were invited to be on the "Good Morning America" show to talk about what they thought would be their experience after the Olive Garden engagement shoot, but they got a much bigger surprise.
During their interview, the couple was surprised with a free trip to Italy in front of the very restaurant where their photo shoot took place.
Mother, daughter both pilot Southwest flight: 'Dream come true'
Flying the friendly skies could not have been more touching for Southwest Airlines passengers en route from Denver, Colorado, to St. Louis, Missouri.
Their pilots were Captain Holly Petitt and her daughter First Officer Keely Petitt, a mother-daughter duo in what the company calls a first for its flights.
"It's been a dream come true," Holly added. "First, I found this career and fell in love with it, and then that one of my kids fell into this and in love with this career too. It's surreal."
Middle schooler buys new shoes for friend teased by other students
Romello Early bought his friend, Melvin Anderson, a pair of new shoes after Melvin was getting picked on by other students at Buffalo Creek Academy in Buffalo, New York.
Bryant Brown, Jr., the school’s dean of culture, captured the moment and posted it on his Facebook page.
"My student Melo told me he was tired of other students picking on Melvin about his shoes," Brown wrote. "Melo used his allowance and bought Melvin some shoes."
Brown said in response to the incident, the school has launched an anti-bullying campaign to raise money to help other students like Melvin.
Boy born with 12 fingers writes inspirational children's book
Wyatt Shield, a Kansas native was born with 12 fingers, six on each hand. The condition is called polydactyly. He detailed his own story and medical journey in "Wyatt’s Big Adventures with Shriners," which is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Wyatt described having extra fingers as "tough" although he says he can’t remember because they were surgically removed when he was one year old.
Wyatt said he wanted to write the children’s book "to prove that little kids can do big things and tell other kids it’s okay to be different."
10-year-old dog adopted after spending 1,134 days in shelter
Capone, a 10-year-old Labrador retriever mix, spent more than three years at the Animal Friends shelter in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, before finally being adopted into his forever home on Dec. 10.
"Despite being Animal Friends' longest-term resident, the team at Animal Friends never gave up in their search for his perfect match," the shelter wrote in a press release. "With some very specific behavioral and medical challenges, the dedicated team of staff and volunteers worked with him each day to ensure he was receiving the best possible care while preparing to find a family he could call his own."
Capone the 10-year-old Labrador retriever mix photographed. (Credit: Animal Friends Shelter, Pittsburgh)
Even more excited for Capone’s new chapter in life was his new family.
"Since we've welcomed Capone into our home, his transformation has been truly amazing," said Capone's new family.
Uber driver stranded on I-95 buys teen passenger hotel room, offered new job
An Uber driver, who was one of many people stranded for hours along a portion of Interstate 95 in Virginia in January, was praised for his determination to get his young rider home safe — and was even offered a new job after going above and beyond.
DaVante Williams sat for 5.5 hours in his vehicle overnight with a teenage passenger, who he described as "emotional" and "overwhelmed" as they faced the gridlock traffic.
Williams’ story was shared by Uber later that day in a tweet, which wrote: "Not all heroes wear capes."
"Mr. Williams went above and beyond during this very stressful situation, and we thank him for his thoughtful actions," an Uber spokesperson told FOX Television Stations in a statement.
Stuffed toy left in rental car returned to little girl after epic ‘adventure’
When a mom and her little girl returned home from a trip to Dallas, they realized they left something important behind in a rental car: "Dog Dog," the child’s beloved stuffed animal.
Dog Dog the stuffed animal and his adventures (Southwest Airlines)
Fortunately for Jessica and her daughter Luna, when Jessica called Southwest Airlines in the off chance someone there could help, a Southwest agent at Dallas Love Field Airport went the extra mile.
The Southwest agent held on to Dog Dog and took photos of the stuffed toy on various "adventures." When Jessica and Luna returned to Dallas a month later and reunited with Dog Dog, Christina had made an adorable photo album for Luna to keep.
Pediatric cancer survivor returns for wedding photo shoot at hospital that cured her
One woman in Dallas, Texas took wedding photos inside a children’s hospital and the reason is far deeper than you think.
She was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma when she was just 6 weeks old during an emergency visit to Children’s Medical Center Dallas. Wagner would spend months in chemotherapy treatments and would eventually undergo major surgery in 1999.
While headed to a separate location to take some wedding dress photos a week ahead of her nuptials, Wagner and her mother, Lori Stock, happened to pass by the hospital and a light bulb went off in Wagner’s head.
"So we were just driving there because we're meeting the photographer at a park and then we passed Children's. And I was like, 'I think this might be crazy, but we should try to go take my pictures there,'" Wagner said. "So we did."
DNA test leads man to granddaughter, brother he never knew existed, living just 1 mile away
Melvin Gray, a resident of Kansas City, Kansas, recently discovered a biological brother and granddaughter he never knew existed through one simple DNA test.
The military veteran came across a pro bono initiative by the global family history site MyHeritage.com called "DNA Quest" — a project focused on reuniting adoptees with biological families. He applied and received a free kit.
"I was shocked to say the least," Gray continued. "I had hoped, and I’d been searching for so long that I’d almost given up, but it finally connected, and the flood walls opened up."
Georgia woman travels 5,000 miles to surprise parents for Thanksgiving
It was the ultimate Thanksgiving surprise reunion.
Lesley Hauler, who currently lives in the United Kingdom, flew thousands of miles to her hometown in Atlanta, Georgia to surprise her parents for the Thanksgiving holiday.
"SURPRISE! I flew in from London to surprise my parents in Atlanta for Thanksgiving," she wrote on social media, adding that "their reaction made it all worth it.
This story was reported from Los Angeles. The FOX Television Stations' digital team contributed.