When he was 13, he shot her in the face. 20 years later, she helped get him his freedom.

Human connection has the power to change lives.

27 years ago, Debbie Baigrie was shot in the face during an attempted robbery. Her assailant was a 13-year-old boy.

Ian Manuel was the youngest of three boys who threatened Baigrie that night, but despite his age, he was the one holding the gun.

Ian Manuel in grade school. All photos provided by Starbucks.


"I heard from behind, 'I’m serious, give it up,'" Baigrie recalls.

As she turned around to look at Manuel, he accidentally fired.

She felt an awful pain shoot through her face and saw one of her teeth land on the ground. The terrified boys took off, and Baigrie managed to run back to the restaurant where she had just eaten dinner to get help.

Later she learned all the teeth on the bottom left side of her mouth had been blown out. If the gun had been pointed slightly higher, she would've suffered a traumatic brain injury. All things considered, she was very lucky.

A few days later, Manuel was arrested for riding in a stolen car, and he immediately admitted he was the one who shot Baigrie.

Baigrie didn't learn her shooter was only 13 until she read about his arrest in the paper.

"I’m like 13?! There’s no way a 13-year-old kid shot me. He’s just a child," Baigrie says.

Debbie Baigrie.

Even so, Manuel was charged with attempted murder, armed robbery, and attempted armed robbery as an adult. The maximum sentence was life in prison.

His mother and lawyer urged him to plead guilty in order to get his sentence cut, but the judge was determined to make an example of him and gave him life without parole.

Baigrie could not believe it.  "The punishment didn’t match the crime."

Two weeks before his 14th birthday, Manuel started serving his sentence. A year into it, around Christmas, he decided to reach out to Baigrie.

The first thing he said to her was, "Miss Baigrie, I called to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and happy holidays. And to apologize, you know, for shooting you in the face."

Needless to say, it was a difficult conversation. Manuel asked if he could continue it by writing her letters, and she said yes.

One of Manuel's letters to Baigrie.

Over the next 15 years, the two corresponded regularly and struck up an unlikely friendship.

Baigrie was impressed by Manuel's writing abilities, which seemed to her to far exceed the abilities of a 13-year-old of his background. He also sent her his report card from prison school to show her how well he was doing. She encouraged him to keep improving himself, despite his circumstances.

While she doesn't recall saying or writing it, she eventually forgave him and did what she could to remind him there was someone outside who cares.

The exterior of the Equal Justice Initiative.

Aside from Baigrie, Manuel also wrote letters to civil rights groups in hopes that one would take up his case. In 2006, one finally responded.

The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) told him they were interested in challenging the constitutionality of life sentences without parole for children. They had recently won a similar case to save a minor from the death sentence, so they thought they had a good shot.

It took four years for EJI's case to reach the Supreme Court, but sure enough, the judges ruled in their favor.

Seven years later, after the same judge who first sentenced him to life re-sentenced him despite Baigrie's support, Manuel won his freedom.

"I told the judge me and Debbie have been waiting for years for the judicial system to catch up to my remorse and her forgiveness," Manuel recalls.

After 26 years in prison, 18 of which were spent in solitary confinement, he was released, and his first meal as a free man was pizza with Baigrie.

Manuel's first night of freedom with Baigrie.

The EJI then helped Manuel get a Social Security card and an apartment and even offered him a job in their offices. It was a major leg up, but he still had a lot to learn, having never been an adult out in the world.

Thankfully he had people like Baigrie supporting him along the way.

"I see Ian for who he is," Baigrie says. "I’m not saying he wasn’t responsible for his actions, but when you’re 13, you should be given the opportunity to change, to grow."

Remorse and forgiveness saved Manuel on so many levels and brought Baigrie peace.

Few stories more clearly prove that human connection has power — sometimes enough to right the egregious wrongs of the past.  

Watch Manuel and Baigrie's whole story here:

She followed her gut and answered a phone call from her attacker. Then a beautiful friendship blossomed.

Posted by Upworthy on Monday, October 23, 2017
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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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