In Hurst, Texas, Jennifer Day and her husband sent out invitations for their 8-year-old son Graham's birthday party. Nobody responded but they hoped for the best and baked cakes and bought pizza. But no one showed up. It seems Graham had the same heartbreaking experience when he turned 6. Jennifer says Graham was devastated and cried, "This always happens." She said, "He said it in the most broken voice I've ever heard and something snapped in me and it was like no, this is not happening to him again." Desperate to cheer up her son, she posted a message on the Next door neighborhood website that read: "I think I'm posting this out of utter emotional distress ... but I need to ask if anyone wants to come to an 8 yr old boys birthday party to show him that he's loved and valued as a person. NO gifts are required other than the gift of friendship." But still no one came. In a desperate, last resort, she and her husband drove to the Hurst Police Department and asked whether an officer might come see her son, who has always wanted to be a policeman. Shortly after they returned home Graham and his parents were surprised by the police station's entire shift who all showed up at the front door - with a few Hurst firefighters, too. They lined the street with their patrol cars and firetrucks and came inside to eat cake and sing "Happy Birthday." On Facebook the department posted that they "were honored to attend Graham's 8th birthday party!" Jennifer later said, "There's no way I can repay what they did for his little broken heart." It gets better. Later, several families they'd never met who had seen the Nextdoor message and came with their children to celebrate. Other people in the area got together and brought presents for Graham. Jennifer added, "By the end of it, I think he forgot that his friends didn't come over for his birthday. He was so happy." (Dallas News)
Terror at the Waterpark!
You really want things to go well for opening day of a $43 million water park. Not so for The Wave park in Dublin, California where a 10-year-old boy careened off a tube water slide and hit the pavement. Miraculously, the boy was "just shaken up" after he sailed from the tube. There's a rather harrowing video online showing the whole thing. Luckily, he was near the bottom of the three-story slide when he slapped down on concrete. He got up immediately appeared only stunned. Park officials closed the slide and two others while authorities investigate, including one called the Dublin Screamer, which boasts a "heart-pounding near vertical drop," per the park's website. The steepest slides are fully enclosed, but the Emerald Plunge has open sides and promises "a splash you'll never forget." Riders must be 48 inches tall and are told to cross their arms and legs. Already looking for an out, Park officials say the boy's legs were open, but the Mercury News counters that they appear closed. (KRON)
Are We Ever Gonna Get Rid of This Darn Elvis Plane?
You probably don't know it, but a private jet once owned by Elvis Presley has been just sitting on a runway in Roswell, New Mexico, collecting dust for 35 years. Well not anymore. The plane finally sold at auction for $430,000 at a California event featuring celebrity memorabilia. That's a far cry from GWS Auctions' estimate of up to $3.5 million. The auction house says Elvis designed the interior, which has gold-tone woodwork, red velvet seats, and red shag carpet. But the red 1962 Lockheed Jetstar has no engine and needs a restoration of its cockpit. Photos of the plane show seats of the cockpit torn. We should note that there's also some contention about whether Elvis truly designed the interior himself. Roy McKay once owned the plane and told reporters he redid what was then a gray, "casket"-like interior, but GWS disputes McKay's claim and notes Federal Aviation Administration records show no interior changes were ever made to the jet. (Tennessean)
Baby Starts to Walk Minutes After Birth!
Forget Prayer - Our Church Will Just Beat Those Gay Demons Out of You!
Members of a bizarre religious sect in North Carolina may be going to trial for allegedly trying to beat "homosexual demons" out of a now-former member. Matthew Fenner says that he joined Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, NC, with his mother and brother in 2010, but that he fled on Jan. 27, 2013, after he was attacked by two dozen members for two hours as he was leaving a prayer service. The Associated Press has interviewed 43 former members of the 750-member evangelical church, as well as reviewed documents and covertly made recordings, and reports that sinners are routinely "purified" by being punched, choked, and thrown to the floor as a means of expelling demons. One witness says Fenner's beating "made me sick." The church was founded in 1979 by former math teacher Jane Whaley and her husband Sam, a former used car salesman. It's grown from just a few followers to its North Carolina congregation and nearly 2,000 more members in churches in Brazil, Ghana, and other countries. Fenner, now 23, says his mother and brother are still members, and that in spite of finishing college and getting ready to go to medical school, it's hard for him to move on with his life as the trial continues to be delayed. He says, "I can't do anything until this is over." (Newser)
Good for You Australia!
Australia is taking extreme measures to protect the world from pedophiles. One government official says, "No country has ever taken such decisive and strong action to stop its citizens from going overseas ... to abuse kids." In what's being called a "world first" plan, passports would be denied to all convicted pedophiles who have served their time but remain registered sex offenders in Australia. There are about 20,000 such people currently residing in Australia, and roughly 800 of them went abroad in 2016. A government press release explains that more than a third of those who left did so without securing the necessary permission, making "it clear the existing passport legislation was not working." Officials say the measure will put "a stop to child sex offenders travelling to vulnerable countries where they are out of sight and reach of Australian law." As for those vulnerable countries, CNN reports child-sex tourism is rampant in about two dozen nations, and children in some Southeast Asian nations are particularly at risk. The new measures will be introduced this week in parliament, but government MPs have already "signed-off" on them. (Sky News)
What the What?
Want a fun summer wine for cheap? Well head to Aldi where their Exquisite Collection Côtes De Provence 2016 rose just won a silver medal at the recent International Wine Challenge. If you don't know, that's basically the Oscars of the wine industry. Best of all, it sells for around $7 bucks a bottle. Beating all but one bottle to claim the top prize, Aldi's rose fended off competition from other wines which were more than three times the price. It's tasting notes include "strawberry, white fruit and subtle spice' and in true summer style, Aldi recommends drinking it with grilled fish, salads or as an aperitif." See you in Aldi, people. (Metro)