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You've Got to be Kidding...

Did You Know?


Jonathan van Bilsen

November 9, 2022

Did You Know?

Facts about life on our planet are always fun to look at, and sometimes, quite staggering. In today’s column we will look at a few interesting tidbits from people who have done some amazing things.

Dale Schroeder grew up very poor in Iowa, He never married, had no children, and worked as a carpenter at the same company, for 67 years. He spent his life savings to send 33 students to college.

On October 24th, 1975, the women of Iceland went on strike for equal rights. They walked off their jobs and out of their homes, shutting down the entire country. The next year, parliament passed a law guaranteeing equal pay for women. Five years later, Iceland elected the world's first female president. They now have the highest gender equality in the world.

A group of women called the ‘Nine Nanas’ has kept a secret for decades. For 30 years they met at 4 a.m., anonymously paid bills, and bought clothes for people in need. Each care package came with a homemade pound cake, and a note that read ‘Somebody loves you’. Not even their husbands knew.

Actor Steve Buscemi was a New York City firefighter from 1980 to 1984. The day after the 9/11 attacks in New York, he returned to his old firehouse to volunteer. He worked 12-hour shifts for several days, searching for survivors in the rubble of the World Trade Center. 

A cow once escaped the slaughterhouse, by smashing through a metal fence and breaking the arm of the man that tried to catch her. She swam to a nearby island where she now lives alone. 

In 2013, Billy Ray Harris, a homeless man, found a $4,000 engagement ring in his beggar’s cup. A woman had accidentally dropped it while giving him some change. She returned two days later, and he gave the ring back. In thanks, she set up a fund with the goal of raising $4,000 for him. It ended up making over $185,000. 

Syndrome K was a fake disease made-up by Italian doctors, to save Jews who had fled to their hospital, seeking protection from the Nazis. They were quarantined, and the Nazis believed it was a deadly disfiguring, and highly contagious illness.

Billy Joel never sells tickets to the front rows of his concerts. Aside from wanting to beat the scalpers, he got tired of all the board, rich people staring up at him. Now he sends his crew out to bring down the fans from the worst seats, ensuring the people in the front row are really happy to be there. 

Australian, Bill Morgan was declared dead for 14 minutes. He somehow survived. To celebrate his survival, he bought a scratch card and won a $27,000 car. The media asked him to re-enact the scratch card moment so he bought another card and won a $250,000 jackpot. 

I should be so lucky! (source:

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.

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