20 years ago, he helped two kids at Disney World. Today, his story helped even more.

When you work at Disney World for over 25 years, you collect a lot of stories.

Just ask Mikey Jacobs, who worked at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, from 1989 to 2015, and played the character Goofy since the late-'90s. He's seen all manner of magical and heartwarming Disney moments.

Recently, Jacobs hosted a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) where he regaled the internet with tales of backstage Disney World romance, lunchtime cliquey-ness, and of course, surviving the Florida heat while wearing a costume (apparently you just get used to it).


Jacobs working the parade. Photo courtesy of Mikey Jacobs.

When one user asked him to share his best "magical" moment, he shared what he considers the "defining moment" of his Disney World career.

Jacobs recalled an encounter he had with two little girls who came to the park back in 1996. "The two girls were with their mom and dad at Epcot," wrote Jacobs in his AMA. "And on the way home they got into a horrible car accident."

According to Jacobs, both of the girls' parents were killed in the crash, and nurses at the nearby hospital had brought them back to the park to see if they could get their tickets refunded to help pay for a trip back home. "My heart absolutely sunk," Jacobs wrote. "If you had seen these girls you'd know why. They were truly traumatized."

Jacobs — who worked at Disney World's Guest Relations Department at the time and was also an experienced tour guide — helped the girls get a refund and brought them on a private tour of the park that included VIP access to the parade, free ice cream, and a seat on every ride. Unfortunately, the girls were far too shaken by what they had been through to enjoy their time. "Nothing worked," said Jacobs.

Jacobs leading kids on a tour of the park in the '90s. Photo courtesy of Mikey Jacobs.

Finally, he offered to personally introduce the girls to Mickey Mouse. That's when, for the first time, the girl's faces lit up with smiles."It felt so good to be a part of that," he wrote. "It was a special day for me."

That day, Jacobs saw firsthand how powerful the work of a Disney World character can be, and he dedicated the rest of his Disney career to working as a character. "When I saw the transformation of those two little girls I immediately turned my heart over to the Character Department," explains Jacobs over email. "There was no greater thrill for me than being able to immediately and directly make a magical moment for a Guest."

Those two little girls had a profound effect on Jacobs in 1996, but in 2016, his story about them had a real-world effect on the people who saw it on Reddit.

In the comments on Jacobs' AMA, one Reddit user mentioned that he had donated to the Florida Hospital for Children — a hospital near Disney World that is home to thousands of kids battling often life-threatening illnesses. The hospital has an Amazon Wishlist full of items that aim to make a child's stay at the hospital more comfortable.

The idea caught on, and before long, the hospital was inundated with donations. Workers spent the days after Jacobs' story went viral unloading three pallets worth of toys and fielding a long string of online cash donations, according to Janna Aboodi at the Florida Hospital for Children.

Photo courtesy of Janna Aboodi/Florida Hospital for Children.

Photo courtesy of Janna Aboodi/Florida Hospital for Children.

Photo courtesy of Janna Aboodi/Florida Hospital for Children.

Jacobs says he never expected his own life-changing encounter to have this kind of effect on others. But he's glad it did.

"To think that children may be able to have less of a difficult time in the hospital because of it really overwhelms me," he says.

Donating a couple dollars or buying a toy may seem like a small gesture, but the little things can go a long way. The toys donated to Florida Hospital will help bring smiles to kids faces, and as Jacobs knows, a smile can change everything.

It's one thing to see a little kid skateboarding. It's another to see a stereotype-defying little girl skateboarding. And it's entirely another to see Paige Tobin.

Paige is a 6-year-old skateboarding wonder from Australia. A recent video of her dropping into a 12-foot bowl on her has gone viral, both for the feat itself and for the style with which she does it. Decked out in a pink party dress, a leopard-print helmet, and rainbow socks, she looks nothing like you'd expect a skater dropping into a 12-foot bowl to look. And yet, here she is, blowing people's minds all over the place.

For those who may not fully appreciate the impressiveness of this feat, here's some perspective. My adrenaline junkie brother, who has been skateboarding since childhood and who races down rugged mountain faces on a bike for fun, shared this video and commented, "If I dropped in to a bowl twice as deep as my age it would be my first and last time doing so...this fearless kid has a bright future!"

It's scarier than it looks, and it looks pretty darn scary.

Paige doesn't always dress like a princess when she skates, not that it matters. Her talent and skill with the board are what gets people's attention. (The rainbow socks are kind of her signature, however.)

Her Instagram feed is filled with photos and videos of her skateboarding and surfing, and the body coordination she's gained at such a young age is truly something.

Here she was at three years old:

And here she is at age four:


So, if she dropped into a 6-foot bowl at age three and a 12-foot bowl at age six—is there such a thing as an 18-foot bowl for her to tackle when she's nine?

Paige clearly enjoys skating and has high ambitions in the skating world. "I want to go to the Olympics, and I want to be a pro skater," she told Power of Positivity when she was five. She already seems to be well on her way toward that goal.

How did she get so good? Well, Paige's mom gave her a skateboard when she wasn't even preschool age yet, and she loved it. Her mom got her lessons, and she's spent the past three years skating almost daily. She practices at local skate parks and competes in local competitions.

She also naturally has her fair share of spills, some of which you can see on her Instagram channel. Falling is part of the sport—you can't learn if you don't fall. Conquering the fear of falling is the key, and the thing that's hardest for most people to get over.

Perhaps Paige started too young to let fear override her desire to skate. Perhaps she's been taught to manage her fears, or maybe she's just naturally less afraid than other people. Or maybe there's something magical about the rainbow socks. Whatever it is, it's clear that this girl doesn't let fear get in the way of her doing what she wants to do. An admirable quality in anyone, but particularly striking to see in someone so young.

Way to go, Paige. Your perseverance and courage are inspiring, as is your unique fashion sense. Can't wait to see what you do next.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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