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BEST OF 2012: Our Top 5 Extraordinary Ordinary People Of The Year
December 22, 2012
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With 2013 not far off, it's time to take stock of the year that was and look back at the memorable moments and people of the past year.

Throughout the holiday season, we'll be presenting the year in review showcasing our favourite stuff of 2012.

Today, we kick things off with regular folks who inspired us - our top five extraordinary ordinary people of the year. Click the links to visit the original posts.

First up, John Franklin Stephens - a special Olympics athlete who wrote an open letter to American commentator Ann Coulter.


During the U.S. Presidential debate, Coulter sent out a tweet referring to Barack Obama as a "retard" - not the first time she'd used that word.

Well, Stephens wrote an open letter to Coulter asking her why she keeps using the "R-word."

It was eloquent, courageous and thoughtful. Here's part of his letter.

"After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult...

Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor. No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much."

Malala Yousafzai - the teenage girl from Pakistan who was shot in the head by the Taliban.


Malala's story inspired the world, as she campaigned for the rights of girls around the world to get an education.

She nearly paid for it with her life, as the Taliban targetted her for speaking out against Islamic extremism.

Nearly 300,000 people have now signed a petition calling for Malala to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

During her recovery at a British hospital, she asked her father for her school books so she could study for her exams.

Hernando Guanlao who turned his home in the Philippines into a library.


Over the past 12 years, he's amassed thousands of books through people who come to his place. He doesn't charge late fees. He doesn't even ask people to bring back the books.

It's an amazing idea, especially as books are too expensive for many people in his neighbourhood and it's hard to find a public library.

As Hernando says, "you don't do justice to these books if you put them in a cabinet or a box. A book should be reused. It has a life, it has a message."


Here's another act of generosity from New York City police officer Lawrence DePrimo.


He was on duty in Times Square in November when he came across a barefoot homeless man with blisters on his feet.

DePrimo got the guy's shoe size, went into a nearby store, and bought him some new shoes that he helped put on.

A tourist from Arizona caught the moment on camera and sent it to the NYPD.

And there's the story of Stephen Wiltshire - an artist who has autism.

Stephen was mute until he was 9, but his passion for drawing helped him learn to speak.

This past summer, he was hired by a financial services company to draw the entire New York skyline from memory.

He flew over New York for a few hours and once he'd seen the entire city, it took Stephen three days to complete the drawing.

Check out the video.

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