10 Times People Put Their Differences Aside And Helped One Another
It is a motto many people aspire to live up to—but it is not always easy. We tend to hold our opinions so tightly that we treat them as a part of who we are, and when someone disagrees, we often feel like it’s an attack.
Some people, though, have gone beyond what could possibly be expected of them. A handful of people have reached across the divide and risked everything to save the absolute last person they would ever be expected to help.
10A Rabbi Invited a KKK Grand Dragon to Live in His Home
A few days after Rabbi Michael Weisser moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, he got a phone call. The voice on the other end called him a “Jew Boy.” Weisser would be sorry, he said, that he had ever moved to his town. Two days later, a package of anti-Semitic pamphlets showed up on his door with a card that read, “The KKK is watching you, scum.”
Weisser soon realized he was being antagonized by Larry Trapp, the Grand Dragon of the KKK in Nebraska. Trapp, he found out, was a blind man who had lost both legs to diabetes. Instead of being angry, though, Weisser decided to reach out to him.
He started calling Trapp once a week and leaving messages offering to help him out. Eventually, Trapp picked up, and Weisser greeted him by saying, “I heard you’re disabled. I thought you might need a ride to the grocery.”
Trapp hung up, but he called back a few days later, shaken. He told Weisser, “I want to get out of what I’m doing and I don’t know how.”
Weisser visited Trapp and befriended him, and after a while even invited Trapp to move into his home. There, Weisser and his wife took care of the blind and disabled man. It worked. Trapp did not just quit the KKK—he ended up converting to Judaism.
9The First Black Mayor of Washington Calmed a Race Riot
When Martin Luther King Jr. died, people were angry. Across America, people started to riot. They smashed windows, threw Molotov cocktails, and even bottled the firefighters who tried to put the flames out. And in Washington, D.C, the man in charge of calming them down was Walter Washington: the man who, shortly after, would become the city’s first black mayor.
Washington was as angry as anybody else, but he didn’t think rioting would fix anything. “What’s new about it? Martin being shot?” Washington later questioned. A black man getting killed, he said, “isn’t new.” And burning down a city would not bring him back to life.
So, he walked down the streets of D.C., trying to calm people down. Instead of just ordering them to stop, he asked them to help the people whose homes had been destroyed. Of everyone he asked, Washington claims, only one person said no.
He was not able to completely stop the riot, but he calmed it down. One witness would later say, “Mayor Washington probably saved hundreds of lives.”
8Prison Inmates Save a Guard’s Life
Prison guard Kenneth Moon was sitting at his desk quietly when a prisoner decided to make a jailbreak. He rushed behind the unsuspecting Moon, wrapped his arm around his windpipe and tried to choke him to death.
Other inmates saw what was happening—and instead of taking the chance, they rushed to the rescue. Three men rushed over within seconds, knocked the attacker to the ground and started prying him off of Moon.
One, David Schofield, called the other guards for help—but before they even made it, a crowd of more than a dozen other inmates had rushed onto the scene to help Moon get back onto his feet.
“I was thinking about this is somebody’s father and somebody’s son,”Terry Carswell, one of the men who helped, said afterward when asked why he did it, “Nobody deserves to die like that.”
7A Man Got the Lynch Mob Trying to Kill Him to Donate to His School
Laurence Jones was nearly killed by a mob in 1918. Rumors had been going around that the black Americans in Mississippi were planning a rebellion, and when a white crowd heard Jones tell his congregation to “fight to survive and succeed,” they figured he must be the one behind it. He would have to die.
The mob dragged Jones out of the pines, where they put a rope around his neck and kindling under his feet. Then they gave him a chance to say his last words before he was hung and burned alive.
Jones told them about the school he had opened to educate black children who did not have the same chances as everyone else. He listed off the white men who had helped him get it off the ground, trying to call for unity. He must have been incredibly eloquent because it actually worked.
An old Civil War veteran recognized the names and realized Jones was telling the truth. “We have made a mistake,” the old white man told the mob. “We ought to help him instead of hang him.”
The mob pulled him down and even passed around a hat. They raised $52.40 for his school. Jones did not hold any grudges over it. “I have no time to quarrel,” he said, “and no man can force me to stoop low enough to hate him.”
6Muslims in Pakistan Built a Christian Church
The people in the Pakistani village of Khaksabad got worried when they heard about violence in the nearby town of Gojra. A Muslim mob had attacked a Christian community, and it had torn the whole town into a mess of violence and hatred. They did not want that happening in their town.
When their local Christian church was swept away in a monsoon, they got the chance to do something about it. The Muslims of the town started a fundraiser to help the Christians out, partly just out of sympathy and partly as a way to bring two split sides of the community together.
Muslims helped out eagerly, donating every penny they could, and they raised enough to build a brand new church for their Christian neighbors.
“A church is also a house of Allah,” one Muslim shopkeeper said about it. “We worship the same God.”
5A KKK Member Saved the Life of a NAACP Member
When John Brown was stationed in Vietnam, he found himself in command of a man named Rayford—in his words, “a card-carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan.” And Rayford was not about to take orders from a black man.
John Brown was, himself, a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and having to deal with a racist like Rayford made him angry. Rayford would flat out refuse to follow Brown’s orders, and Brown would get extra hard on him in response, one time even slapping him in the face with his NAACP membership card.
When Brown’s life was on the line, though, he was saved by the last person he would have expected. His fingers had been shot off, he was under fire, and he thought he was going to die. Rayford, though, ran through a hail ofmachine gun fire to rescue him.
Despite their differences, Rayford got Brown to safety. Brown never saw Rayford again. The experience, though, changed his life. He would later say, “I learned that two people, no matter what their differences are, or races, can come together on one accord.”
4A Criminal Saved the Life of the Cop Who Was Booking Him
When Jamal Rutledge was dragged into the police station for violating his probation, it was hardly the first time his hands had been in chains.
He was locked in a room with Franklin Foulks, the officer who was booking him, when Foulks had a stroke. The officer collapsed to the ground, and Jamal was the only person who could see it happen.
Jamal tried to help him, but with his hands cuffed behind his back, he could not do much. So instead, he started kicking on the door and calling for help. Officers rushed in and gave Foulks CPR, saving his life.
The officer hailed Jamal as a hero and held a convention in honor of the man they had arrested. There, Jamal told the crowd his life would be different now; “People do bad things,” he said, “but they can change their life around.” From that day forward, Jamal promised, he would be an upstanding citizen.
It didn’t happen. Jamal has been in and out of jail since he was eight years old—it is hard to change what life has shaped you into. Jamal was arrested again before long, and is currently in prison. He is still a lifelong criminal—but, as he proved by saving Foulks life, he is also a human being.
3Larry Flynt Tried to Save the Man Who Shot Him
Hustler publisher Larry Flynt was shot and paralyzed by a white supremacist on a rampage. His attacker was Joseph Paul Franklin, a serial killer who added Flynt to his list for creating a photo shoot that put a black man and a white woman together.
Franklin was caught, and years later, he found himself on death row, waiting for a lethal injection. Only one person fought to save his life—and to his surprise, it was Larry Flynt.
He had confined Flynt to a wheelchair for life, but Flynt still didn’t want him to die. Killing Franklin, he believed, was an act of revenge that solved nothing. He teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union and filed lawsuits to try to get Franklin off of death row, saying, “I firmly believe that a government that forbids killing among its citizens should not be in the business of killing people itself.”
It didn’t work, and Franklin ended up getting a lethal injection. Before he died, though, Franklin had a change of heart. He had to live alongside other races in prison, and it affected how he saw the word. He said, “I saw they were people just like us.”
2An Israeli and a Muslim Saved a Palestinian Terrorist
Ahmed Mansara was only 13 years old when he and his cousin ran through East Jerusalem with knives, stabbing innocent people.They were Palestinians, and they were ready to give their lives to send a message of terror to Israel.
The attack stopped when his cousin was shot and killed by an Israeli police officer. Mansara, panicking, ran for his life, but was hit by a car. A whole mob of people swarmed him, some yelling, “Die!” Some were calling him a “son of a whore,” and some called for the police to shoot him in the head.
Mansara, though, was taken to a hospital jointly run by a Jewish doctor and Muslim. Mansara was a murderer, but he was just a boy—and it was their job to save him. They treated his injuries, giving him priority over some innocent people on the argument that his wounds were the worst, and they saved the life of a terrorist.
“We don’t ask who you are,” Ahmed Eid, a Muslim doctor at the Israeli hospital, said when asked why he didn’t leave Mansara to die. “We treat the terrorist the same as we treat the victim.”
1The Civil Liberties Union Stood up for the KKK’s Rights
When the KKK adopted a part of the highway in Missouri, the state could not stop them from doing it. They had the same rights as everyone else, the Supreme Court ruled, and so if the KKK wanted their name on a highway clean-up sign, they had the right to do it.
Missouri, though, got the KKK back. They changed the name of the highway to “Rosa Parks Highway.” Infuriated, the KKK refused to clean it. Once they were derelict in their duties, the state could legally ban them from adopting a highway—and they did.
Since then, though, the KKK has been fighting for the right to adopt a highway, saying, “We just want to clean up the doggone road. We’re not going to be out there in robes.” And they have gotten support from the last group you would expect: the American Civil Liberties Union.
The ACLU defended civil rights activists in the past, but they felt they needed to support the KKK this time. If the KKK lost the right to fight this in court, they argued, it would let the courts refuse to hear any group they wanted.
They defend equality and free speech, the ACLU argued, even if that means equality and free speech for the Ku Klux Klan.
Do you have hobbies? Maybe cycling or carpentry or something low key? Well, this guy has a cooler hobby than you.
Adrian Kozakiewicz loves to cover his hand with gnarly bugs, film it, and then put the videos on YouTube. His channel, InsecthausTV, is one of the most fucked up and fascinating things you’ll see on the internet this week. There are also videos of insects crawling around on the counter, but the bugs-on-hand videos really are the best.
The young, Germany-based entomology enthusiast claims to be “one of the largest insect breeders in Europe,” and his social media game is strong. Not only is there the nasty YouTube channel, but the 20-year-old also keeps a well-stocked Facebook page, an Instagram account with over 160,000 followers, and a Snapchat. Now for some highlights from all of the above.
First, we’ve got the descriptively titled “INSECTS ON MY HAND !” It’s just all kinds of sinister little shits crawling on Kozakiewicz’s hand:
Along the frozen trail
Top 10 Celebrities Who Lived Double Lives
Celebrities are a lot like us. They have secrets, and sometimes they even have aspects of their lives that, for one reason of another, they keep hidden for years. But, in Hollywood, your secrets can only stay hidden for so long.
Joaquin Phoenix gained critical success for his role as rockabilly legend Johnny Cash in the 2005 biopic Walk the Line. Phoenix shined as the “Man in Black,” even learning to play the guitar and mimic Cash’s dulcet vocals. In the process, Phoenix gained a reputation for his extreme commitment to character, to the point that his roles often spilled into the actor’s personal life.
In 2012, Phoenix again garnered praise for his role in The Master. In the film, Phoenix portrayed a war veteran lured into a cult by its charismatic leader, played by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. In preparation for the role, Phoenix drew from experience with a cult that he knew well—the one he lived with for many years.
As a child, Joaquin, along with his brother River, grew up in the controversial religious group called the Children of God. Phoenix’s family joined the group in the early 1970s and, during Joaquin’s formative years, traveled throughout South America with the church.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Phoenix explained his family’s infatuation with the group: “I think my parents thought they’d found a community that shared their ideals. Cults rarely advertise themselves as such.”
Ultimately, the family left the Children of God after becoming disenchanted, and Joaquin has put the whole experience behind him in pursuit of his prolific acting career.
Dolph Lundgren, a Swedish-born male model, made a name for himself, early, as a hypermasculine ’80s action star. With a black belt in karate, Lundgren began his career as a competitive martial artist while moonlighting as a club bouncer. It was at a club that Lundgren met, and began a relationship with, model-actress Grace Jones. His tryst with Jones would lead to a chance encounter with writer-director Sylvester Stallone and to Lundgren’s breakout role as Ivan Drago, the Soviet-bred antagonist of Rocky IV. The rest is Hollywood history, but acting marked a sharp turn away from Lundgren’s first career choice: chemical engineer.
Despite his macho persona onscreen, Lundgren possesses a genius-level intellect, and before he ever stepped foot in the ring with the “Italian Stallion,” Lundgren was a promising and sought-after academic star.
The actor excelled at science from an early age and was even offered a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Lundgren describes the day he rode his motorcycle to meet with university staff: “The professors are waiting for the star student from Sweden and then they see me ride past outside all decked out in leather. They probably didn’t know what was going on.” Thankfully, Lundgren abandoned his career in academia, and we can all enjoy his talents in not one, but three installments of The Expendables.
Rock Hudson came to fame in the 1956 classic Giant, starring alongside heavyweights Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. Hudson’s looks coupled with his boundless charm made him an instant celebrity.
Actors with Hudson’s talent rarely stay single long, and in 1955, Hudson married actress Phyllis Gates. However, unknown to Gates, the marriage was arranged by her employer and Hudson’s agent Henry Wilson. The coupling was meant to keep up appearances as Hudson, the man coveted by women around the world, was gay.
Predictably, Hudson and Gate’s marriage ended quickly, but due to societal pressure, Hudson would remain in the closet for several more decades. In 1984, Hudson defied years of suppression to publicize his sexuality, becoming one of the first openly gay stars in Hollywood and a model for generations to come.
A year later, Hudson also revealed his diagnosis with AIDS. Hudson used his image and fame to bring public attention to the disease and helped spread awareness of its dangers. Sadly, Hudson died in October 1985. He was 59. As one of the first openly gay men in Hollywood, and an early advocate for AIDS victims, Hudson’s legacy lives on to this day.
Barris came to prominence in the 1960s working as an assistant to Dick Clark. With a loan of $20,000, from his father-in-law, Barris was able to develop his first television show The Dating Game, which became a huge success. Later, Barris created The Gong Show, an instant classic, that showcased contestants performing wacky talents.
For most people, the life of a successful TV producer would be enough, but not for Barris. He liked to keep busy, and while working on various projects, the producer claimed to have been very busy operating covertly as a spy for the United States government.
In his 1984 autobiography Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Barris alleges to have been an assassin for the CIA during the ’60s and ’70s. While the claims of the book are dubious, and Barris offers no evidence to back them up, his story was interesting enough for George Clooney to make a movie out of it in 2002. Barris has gone on to write many more books, including Della: a Memoir of My Daughter, in which he recounts the tragic loss of his only daughter to drug abuse.
The CIA officially denies all of Barris’s claims about his time as a spy—but then they would, wouldn’t they?
Bruce Jenner was born in 1949 in Mt. Kisco, New York. In high school, Jenner proved to be a gifted athlete, lettering in football as well as basketball. He once took up water skiing as a hobby and went on to become the East Coast All-Over Champion in 1966, 1969, and 1971.
After high school, Jenner attended Graceland College on a football scholarship, but he was sidelined by a knee injury that left him limited to basketball and track.
In 1971, Jenner participated in his first decathlon, and by 1972, Jenner was competing in the decathlon at the Munich Olympics, where he finished 10th overall in the event. In 1976, Jenner won the gold in the Men’s Decathlon at the Montreal Olympics and was declared, by the media, to be the “world’s greatest athlete.” Jenner accomplished all of this while living with a deep personal secret that wouldn’t emerge for another 40 years.
In 2014, Jenner announced his divorce from his longtime wife, Kris Jenner. A year later Jenner shocked the world when he revealed that he had undergone gender reassignment surgery. At the age of 65, Caitlyn Jenner, introduced herself to the world. In 2015, ESPN awarded Jenner the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, and to this day, Caitlyn is one of the most prominent public figures to come out as transgender.
Sam Hurd was once a talented college football star at Northern Illinois who was known not only for his skills on the field but also for his friendly personality and devout Christian faith. In 2006, Hurd’s hard work paid off when he signed a contract to play for his favorite childhood team, the Dallas Cowboys. Hurd was handed a chance at NFL fame, but Sam had other ambitions in mind.
It was a mere five years later, in 2011, that Hurd was arrested outside of a Chicago steakhouse. Like so many others in the NFL, this arrest was drug-related, but Hurd wasn’t interested in scoring a few ounces of weed on a Saturday night. No, he was busted while trying to purchase a kilogram of cocaine from an undercover cop.
Hurd, allegedly, told the officer that he wanted to purchase an additional 5–10 kilos of coke a week, as well as 1,000 pounds of marijuana. He planned to distribute the drugs throughout Chicago in an operation that would have given Walter White a run for his money. On top of this, Hurd told the cop he was already selling 4 kilos of coke per week.
As if these confessions weren’t proof enough of Hurd’s poor judgment, consider that, at the time of his arrest, he had just signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Bears reported to be worth $5 million. Rather than collect his massive paycheck, Hurd found himself in a courtroom in November 2013, where he was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison on the charge of drug trafficking. Let Hurd’s story be a lesson for all: Sometimes people can really screw up a good thing. Don’t believe it? Just google Aaron Hernandez sometime.
Coco Chanel, a legendary Parisian designer, was born in Saumur, France in 1883. By the age of 27, Chanel owned a successful clothing shop, and within a decade, she had launched her first perfume line and introduced the world to her “little black dress,” revolutionizing the fashion industry.
Unfortunately, by the 1930s, Chanel witnessed her native France invaded by Hitler’s army. Although France was quickly overwhelmed by the scourge of Nazis, many French citizens chose to resist the Germans at every turn. Chanel, however, was less than resistant. During the war, Chanel began dating a Nazi officer named Hans Gunther von Dincklage. This relationship might have been written off as a harmless, if not regretful, tryst, but renowned journalist Hal Vaughan claims otherwise.
In his book Sleeping With The Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War, Vaughan asserts that Chanel did not object to the Nazi occupation because she, herself, was an anti-Semite. Vaughan goes even further to claim that Chanel acted as a Nazi Intelligence operative. The journalist pens an intrigue-fueled story in which Chanel is portrayed as jet-setting across Europe, her Nazi boyfriend in tow, and acting as a celebrity ambassador for the Nazi regime.
After the war, Chanel absconded to Switzerland (not a suspicious move at all), but in later years, she was able to reestablish herself in France with the backing of the wealthy Wertheimer family. The Wertheimers still hold majority control the Chanel brand to this day but are reluctant to speak on Chanel’s wartime activities.
Heavy Metal frontman Alice Cooper always had a flair for the dramatic. Performing with his band of the same name, Cooper pioneered the art of Shock Rock, a stage performance that drew its style from the macabre and horror genres. He developed a stage-persona that capitalized on the band’s outlandish music, makeup, and behavior. In one of his more bizarre stunts, Cooper once threw a live chicken off stage, not knowing that the bird couldn’t fly. Cooper watched in horror as a rabid crowd tore the animal apart. With that stunt, Cooper may have cornered the market on shock, but few fans know his most shocking persona—that of a self-described “prodigal son.”
Cooper grew up in a strictly religious house, and both his father and grandfather preached the gospel as Evangelical pastors. After living for decades as a typical hard-drinking rock star, Cooper had a change of heart. The rock star finally saw the light, and for the past several years, he has lived as a devout Born-again Christian. Cooper hasn’t quit rocking, though, and he hasn’t completely abandoned his onstage antics, but now he views himself more as an actor playing a character when onstage. He has, however, removed the live poultry from his act.
Patty Hearst was born lucky. As the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst—think the 19th-century Rupert Murdoch—she was the heir to the fortune her family built through a media empire that thrives to this day. Yet, by the age of 19, it seemed that Hearst’s luck may have finally run out.
The world was shocked when, as a freshman at Berkeley University, Hearst was kidnapped from her dorm room by members of a homegrown terrorist group calling themselves the Symbionese Liberation Army. The urban terrorists abducted Hearst with the goal of extorting a ransom from Heart’s wealthy family. The plan may have worked too, but sometimes plans, and allegiances, can change.
Two months into her abduction, Hearst again shocked everyone by announcing her full-fledged allegiance to her captors via released audiotapes. Some believed that Hearst was pressured into supporting the group, but all myths were dispelled when Hearst was caught, on camera, taking part in a bank robbery along with the SLA. Hearst was also culpable in extorting an estimated $2 million from her father, during her abduction.
In 1975 Hearst was arrested by the FBI, convicted of bank robbery, and sentenced to 35 years in prison. Her sentence was subsequently commuted by President Jimmy Carter, and Hearst was released in 1979. Many have questioned Hearst’s actions during her abduction, and some have chalked up her behavior to Stockholm Syndrome, where a victim begins to identify with their captors overtime. Maybe Hearst, scared and young, was desperate to cope with her circumstances in any way possible. We may never know. As for her part, Hearst has remained tight-lipped about her time with the SLA.
Vin Diesel is known as a tough guy, and his roles in movies like The Fast and the Furious, Pitch Black, and xXx have done little to dispel that macho persona. But this tough guy might have the darkest secret of all. A secret so dark, so cloaked in mystery that Diesel has kept it locked away in the dungeon of his past for years. Until, during promotion for his movie The Last Witch Hunter, Diesel was forced to reveal his long-hidden truth.
Vin Diesel is . . . a closet Dungeons and Dragons player.
Actually, maybe not quite closeted. Diesel has given plenty of hints to his love for the role playing game throughout his career. Take, for instance, his role of Xander Cage in xXx. Diesel insisted that the character of Cage have the name “Melkor” tattooed on his chest. Melkor just so happens to be the name of Diesel’s real-life Dungeons and Dragons character.
Another nod to Diesel’s fandom came in 2004 when he wrote the foreword to 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons and Dragons. And then there was the time that Diesel posted a video, on his own YouTube channel, that featured him, and others, playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons that ended with Diesel declaring, “I just played a game of Dungeons and Dragons . . . and I had so much fun!”
Kerr lives in Texas, where he works as a high school English teacher by day and a freelance writer by night. He recently had his short story “Prospectors” published inHelios Quarterly.