When Cal is mentioned in the news, it is usually related to one of  two subjects: a) yet another ground-breaking study that will revolutionize society  or reveal some dark secret of human behavior or b) something something Occupy movement. Bucking this trend, however, NPR recently ran a segment on their program, “All Things Considered” that told a heart-warming story concerning a Cal alumna. Here’s a short run down:

Betty Werther graduated from UC Berkeley in 1949 and afterwards had the opportunity to travel aboard in Europe and study at Sorbonne (i.e. the University of Paris). Werther then basically lived out the life that every young college student aspires to and traveled all across the world from Paris to Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the Middle East. Unfortunately, along her travels Werther misplaced her passport.

In 2011, fellow Sorbonne student, Nuno Fonseca, found Werther’s passport near a flea-market in Paris. Determined to return the passport to its rightful owner, Fonseca eventually found Werther’s current location in Paris after some internet sleuthing. Fonseca then travelled from his home country of Portugal to Paris where he returned Werther’s passport from 60 years ago and formed a friendship with her. Aww, doesn’t that story just warm your heart? It certainly melted even  our cold, robotic hearts. The host was totally on the money when he said that this story could easily be a sentimental “Nora Ephron film.” Go take a listen on NPR’s website and check out the photos of the celebrated passport.

Isn’t it nice to hear stories about human kindness and friendship (somewhat) concerning Cal? We’re not just a group of cynical, self-hating, competitive nerds. Really!

Image source: The Wide Wide World under Creative Commons

“Years Later, He Brought Her Passport Back” [NPR]

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Aug 2, 2012 at 12:57 am

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