Employees at Idaho's Meridian Library were going through the mail after the Thanksgiving holiday 2017 when they got a sweet surprise.

Inside one of the packages was a book — Thomas Rockwell's "How to Eat Fried Worms" — that had been missing from the stacks.


Getting books in the mail is no major shock at Meridian. The library finds that visitors passing through or patrons going on vacation will often mail back items to avoid fines.

Along with this particular book, however, there was a curious handwritten note.

"I found this book on an airplane last month," the message began.

"I called your library to notify them. I failed to return on time (and) apologize. Please add this $5.00 to the person's account that borrowed the book as a credit. Thank you."

Sure enough, along with the note was a $5 bill.

Found in the mail with a $5 bill this morning. There are some amazing people in our community. #mymld

Posted by Meridian Library District on Monday, November 27, 2017

The good Samaritan had been hoping to get the book back to the library before the due date but couldn't and decided to assume responsibility for the late fee.

Obviously, they were under no obligation to pay the fine, and their small, understated generosity floored the library staff.

Knowing you have a book overdue at the library and not being able to find it is one of those little stresses that can add up big time.

It's like having a sink full of dirty dishes or being behind on laundry. It's not a source of massive worry, but many unresolved things added together can make you feel anxious and overwhelmed — too much of which is certainly bad for your health.

So while a stranger returning a book and paying $5 in fines may seem inconsequential, the act is inspiring thousands of people who have read about the story online.

"Everyone is loving this heartwarming story," says Macey Snelson, who heads communications and marketing for the library. "I think that this is resonating with people so much because we live in a world where the news cycles are filled with contention and negative stories, and it's refreshing to see a story that shows that people are inherently good."

This story proves that even a teeny, tiny act of kindness, in a small part of the country, can have a big impact.

This article originally appeared on November 11, 2015


Remember those beloved Richard Scarry books from when you were a kid?

Like a lot of people, I grew up reading them. And now, I read them to my kids.

The best!

If that doesn't ring a bell, perhaps this character from the "Busytown" series will. Classic!

Image via

Scarry was an incredibly prolific children's author and illustrator. He created over 250 books during his career. His books were loved across the world — over 100 million were sold in many languages.

But here's something you may not have known about these classics: They've been slowly changing over the years.

Don't panic! They've been changing in a good way.

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Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

The Sam Vimes "Boots" Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness explains one way the rich get richer.

Any time conversations about wealth and poverty come up, people inevitably start talking about boots.

The standard phrase that comes up is "pull yourself up by your bootstraps," which is usually shorthand for "work harder and don't ask for or expect help." (The fact that the phrase was originally used sarcastically because pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps is literally, physically impossible is rarely acknowledged, but c'est la vie.) The idea that people who build wealth do so because they individually work harder than poor people is baked into the American consciousness and wrapped up in the ideal of the American dream.

A different take on boots and building wealth, however, paints a more accurate picture of what it takes to get out of poverty.

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"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937) and actor Peter Dinklage.

On Tuesday, Upworthy reported that actor Peter Dinklage was unhappy with Disney’s decision to move forward with a live-action version of “Snow White and the Seven Drawfs” starring Rachel Zegler.

Dinklage praised Disney’s inclusive casting of the “West Side Story” actress, whose mother is of Colombian descent, but pointed out that, at the same time, the company was making a film that promotes damaging stereotypes about people with dwarfism.

"There's a lot of hypocrisy going on, I've gotta say, from being somebody who's a little bit unique," Dinklage told Marc Maron on his “WTF” podcast.

"Well, you know, it's really progressive to cast a—literally no offense to anybody, but I was a little taken aback by, they were very proud to cast a Latino actress as Snow White," Dinklage said, "but you're still telling the story of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.' Take a step back and look at what you're doing there.”

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