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20 Real-Life Heroes That Are Changing the World

There is still a lot of good in this world.

Austin PerineCary Norton for Reader's Digest

The caped crusader

After driving past a local homeless shelter with his dad, four-year-old Austin Perine wanted to do something to put a smile on the faces of those he had seen suffering. He used his allowance money to buy Burger King sandwiches to pass out to the homeless. He handed out each meal with a smile and said, “Don’t forget to show love!” After dipping into his allowance to feed the homeless for a few weeks, his story went viral. Burger King heard about it and decided to chip in to help Austin’s cause. His cause took of so much that his family established the Show Love Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to fighting homelessness. Read more about how Austin is helping to spread smiles and stop homelessness here.

Jarrett LittleCourtesy Jarrett Little

Dog’s best friend

Jarrett Little and Chris Dixon were riding their bikes outside of Columbus, Georgia when they saw something small moving in the woods ahead of them. They both stopped to investigate. They discovered the small creature to be a starving puppy with an injured leg and knew they had to rescue him. Little carried the dog on his back more than seven miles back to town to get him the help he needed. Andrea Shaw, an attorney visiting from Maine happened to be nearby when they got into town. The puppy ran straight to her as if she was his owner and was licking her. At that moment she knew she had to keep him. She named him Columbo after the town and he now lives the high life on a farm with lots of animals to play with. Read more about Columbo’s rescue here.

Freddie Fuller playing guitar in fieldBret Hartman for Reader's Digest

Love’s last refrain

Cowboy and musician, Freddie Fuller, believes that music has a special power. After singing to his mother in her hospital bed when she was dying of cancer he set out to perform “musical last wishes” for others. He grants wishes for the terminally ill through song. In many cases, hearing is the last sense to go for people who are dying and Fuller wants to fill those last moments with a melody. Read more about the amazing work Freddie is doing with his music.

Savannah and ChaseCourtesy (2)

A white knight in the aisle seat

Soon after Savannah Phillips boarded her plane and sat down she noticed her seatmate texting rude comments about her weight to someone. Chase Irwin, the man sitting behind her could also see the stranger’s phone screen. He got up and demanded that the man switch seats with him. Phillips and Irwin spent the rest of the flight chatting and he encouraged her not to let the comments her first seatmate had made get to her. Read more about Irwin’s heroism.

Walker PIckering for Reader's Digest
Trashaun (left), Jayce, and the motto that binds them

The five fingers club


Jayce Crowder was born a little differently than his kindergarten classmates. He only had one hand. When his classmates started teasing him, his mom didn’t know how to help. Then she discovered Trashaun Willis an eighth-grader who also was missing most of his left arm. She discovered the video of the teen playing basketball on the news one night. A couple of months later the boys met up and Willis taught Crowder how to be confident with his differences. Read more about how Willis became a mentor for Crowder.

flooded carKrystina Reyes

Flood rescue

Margarito Martinez was carefully driving his SUV through flooded streets when swollen creek grabbed a hold of his car. The car stopped 80 feet away and was wedged into the ground. Martinez, trapped inside with the water rising around him, was sure he was going to die. Luckily, two strangers watched the incident unfold and stepped in to help. They were able to secure the SUV and break open the window with a rock so Martinez could escape to dry land. Read more about Martinez’s dramatic rescue.

Jim O'ConnellChris Churchill for Reader's Digest

The doctor is out

There are more than 550,000 homeless people across America. Dr. Jim O’Connell and his team are doing something to help them get the medical care that they need. O’Connell and his team spend their days walking around Boston treating the homeless. They treat 700 regular patients. Read more about the amazing work Dr. O’Connell is doing and the lives he impacts.

Preston SharpCBS News © 2018 CBS Interactive Inc.

Planting patriotism

Twelve-year-old Preston Sharp was left angry after visiting his grandfather’s grave and seeing that not every veteran in the cemetery had a flag next to their grave. He decided to do something about it. He started doing odd jobs so he could save up to buy flags and flowers to place next to every veteran's grave. Once the cemetery where his grandfather was buried was filled with flags he kept going. Rain or shine he made sure that he paid respect to every veteran. Read more about the selfless way Sharp is honoring America’s fallen soldiers after they have passed.

Reverend Richard JoynerRush Jagoe

Sowing hope

Reverend Richard Joyner realized he had to take action when he was leading far too many funerals in his small poverty-stricken town. Many people were dying of heart disease due to poor nutrition. He called on the church youth group to help start a garden to provide the community with fresh fruits and vegetables. The kids delivered the fresh food to those that needed it. The results were dramatic. Research found that the town’s residents lost weight, lowered their blood pressure, and visited the emergency room less because of the fresh food they were eating. Read more about how this garden is helping an entire community.

FOB_Everyday-HeroesCourtesy Drew Hoffman

Landing on the freeway

After a plane’s engine failed the only place for it to land was on a busy highway. Luckily, John Meffert, a fire department captain was traveling on that road at the time. Right after the plane crashed, he quickly ran towards the smoke and fire. He helped the passenger, who had escaped to safety but went back in to try to get the captain out of the plane out. He was able to get him out before the plane was engulfed in flames. His quick thinking and good timing helped save two lives. Read more about the plane crash here.

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