Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy and delight from around the internet.

10 things that made us smile this week

From Jennifer Garner's birthday surprise to good doggos meeting their baby sister, here are 10 things that will make you smile.

Do you ever feel like the world has officially entered hell-in-a-handbasket territory? Like division and hate are dominating and kindness and compassion are dwindling?

I have a strong faith in humanity, but the past handful of years has shaken that faith pretty hard. When I step back, though, I realize that most of my perception about the state of the world is coming from this electronic box in front of me. The nature of my work has me spending lots of time paying close attention to the media and spending lots of time on social media—which can be useful, but which also thrives on viral negativity. It's easy to walk away from a social media scroll session with the perception that people in general are getting worse.

But that's not what the data shows. While there are some serious issues we need to deal with, people in general have been actuallymore excellent to one another. In fact, the World Happiness Report, which uses data from Gallup World Poll, shared that people volunteered, donated and helped strangers 25% more in 2021 than before the pandemic. The report authors called it "a pandemic of benevolence."


Just let that shot of faith in humanity sink in. Don't fight it. It's a good thing, truly. Let's let it be good without trying to explain it away. It's OK to shift our focus from the negative to the positive. It's energizing. It gives us hope. It reminds us that there is always good happening in the world at the same time as the bad.

It's also OK to take a break from the headlines and indulge in some purely feel-good content. Those delightful little doses of endorphins from watching a cute animal or baby video can be just the thing we need to help us through the day. No shame in that game.

Let's celebrate good things large and small with these 10 smile-worthy tidbits from around the interwebs:

Jennifer Garner got the best birthday surprise from her childhood crush, Donny Osmond.

Jennifer Garner's relatability is legendary and totally evidenced in this video. The part where she had to take off her sweater is the best. Such a pure, sweet reaction to a dream come true. Read the full story here.

Cameron the Lyft driver's list of different drives he offers is hilariously genius.

Have you ever gotten into an Uber or Lyft or taxi and wished the driver would either talk more, or talk less, or stop talking, or talk about something else? Cameron lets his passengers choose what kind of ride they get, from the Small Talk Ride to the Therapy Ride to the Funny Ride to the Creepy Ride. One ride even involves bubbles. Read the full story here.

12-year-old raises more than $300,000 for Ukraine with his handmade wooden bowl.

Best story ever. Gabriel Clark's dad shared that his son was feeling down because kids had told him his woodworking habit wasn't cool. That tweet resulted in a flood of support and prompted Gabriel to create a special wooden bowl to raise money to help the children of Ukraine. So many people pulling together to support a sweet kid and those impacted by war. Definitely worth reading the whole story here.

Fox enjoying a little banjo concert in front of a stunning natural backdrop.

I mean, this is just beautiful in every way.

Golden retrievers Winston and Doug meet their baby sister for the first time, and awwww.

@winstonthegoodboygolden

Already the best big brothers 💛 I see lots of kisses & toys in Miller’s future! #dogmeetsbaby #petsoftiktok #goldenretriever #feelgood #ComeDanceWithMe

The donut got me.

Potato dog getting a bath.

No reason for sharing this other than it's just so darn cute. Oh, dat belly.

The original video that prompted a viral 'I JUST A BABY!' audio wave is just too much.

@little.blooming.women

Did. She. Stutter? #parenting #toddler #toddlersoftiktok

There are a gazillion videos on TikTok using this audio, but nothing compares to the original. These pandemic babies are something else, I tell you. (Also, "I JUST A BABY!!!" is now my excuse for doing anything I don't want to do, thankyouverymuch.)

Dad had no idea he was auditioning for "Britain's Got Talent," then brought the house down.

Sorry, this is both smile-worthy and tear-worthy, so you might want to grab a tissue before watching. So dang sweet.

Believe it or not, there really was a "pandemic of benevolence" in 2021.

The conclusion of the 2022 World Happiness Report ought to give you a boost of faith in humanity:

"Although our three measures of prosocial behaviour—donations, volunteering and helping strangers—had differing levels and trends, all showed increases in 2021 in every global region, often at remarkable rates not seen for any of the variables we have tracked before and during the pandemic.

Global benevolence, as measured by the average of the three measures of prosocial behaviour, has increased remarkably in 2021, up by almost 25% of its pre-pandemic level, led by the helping of strangers, but with strong growth also in donations and volunteering."

Read the full story here.

If you need a pep talk, let this 3-year-old's affirmations inspire you. 

Definitely want the sound up on this one. This is the kind of pump-up we all need to give ourselves each day. "I'M RUNNED OUT OF POWER BUT I CAN STILL MAKE IT DOWN DIS BIG HILL." Right on, little one.

Hope that brought many smiles to your face, friends! Come back next week for another roundup of joy and delight.

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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Sandy Hook school shooting survivors are growing up and telling us what they've experienced.

This story originally appeared on 12.15.21


Imagine being 6 years old, sitting in your classroom in an idyllic small town, when you start hearing gunshots. Your teacher tries to sound calm, but you hear the fear in her voice as she tells you to go hide in your cubby. She says, "be quiet as a mouse," but the sobs of your classmates ring in your ears. In four minutes, you hear more than 150 gunshots.

You're in the first grade. You wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus and magic. You're excited about losing your front teeth. Your parents still prescreen PG-rated films so they can prepare you for things that might be scary in them.

And yet here you are, living through a horror few can fathom.

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