43. Theme Parks, Giving Back, And Terrific Trolling With Michelle Thompson


This week’s episode features improvisor and actress Michelle Thompson (UCB Theater-Mess Hall, Purgatory)  

We sit on the big red couch and discuss:

  • A father who built an entire theme park for his daughter. When Gordon Hartman realized that there were no theme parks for children with disabilities he decided to build one for his daughter Morgan. Gordon was a former property developer who sold his homebuilding business in 2005 to set up a non-profit organization that seeks to help those with disabilities. His next step was to develop the world’s first “ultra-accessible theme park.” After consulting with doctors, therapists, parents and those with and without disabilities, he developed a 25 acre theme park fully accessible to all. He named it “Morgan’s Wonderland” after his daughter who was the inspiration for his entire project. For many visitors it is the first time they themselves or members of their families have been able to experience traditional theme park rides such as the ferris wheels and water parks.
  • A woman from Central Long Beach who has fed the hungry in her community for 14 years using funds from her own social security pension. Alice Robinson just received a “Lara’s Excellence Award” from her Senate District for the 14th anniversary of her “Friends of Alice” program. She has served free meals to those in need every Wednesday in Martin Luther King Jr. Park since 2003.
  • A group of anonymous volunteers in Beirut built several “walls of kindness” – public spaces filled with donations for the taking. This is simple and easy way to provide helpful items to many of the refugees who are living below the poverty line. Anyone is welcome to take what they need from the wall. This “Wall of Kindness” idea has also started to take off in India.
  • Michelle is from Winter Haven, Fl. Her hometown is about an hour away from Tampa, where a formerly homeless mother of three has recently opened her very own salon, Giving Hands Hair Salon with a mission to give back to the community. Once a month she gives free haircuts to the homeless.
  • Animal Corner this week features a chicken who walked into a garage and got stuck in the door, and the police officer who rescued it. Lucky for those of us who have ten full minutes to watch the action, all of it is caught on tape with his body cam.  

Michelle and I wrap up the episode talking about internet bullying and learning from past mistakes.  It’s real good news!


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