On the morning of June 12, 2016, people lined up at a local blood bank in St. Petersburg, Florida, ready to wait for hours.

Following the deadly overnight attacks at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that left (at the time of writing) 50 dead and another 53 wounded, local blood banks and hospitals put out calls for blood donations to help treat the injured.

People turned up in droves.


FBI agents outside Pulse nightclub June 12 in Orlando, Florida, after a fatal shooting and hostage situation. Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images.

Just over 100 miles west of Orlando in St. Petersburg, a city known for hosting Florida's largest Pride parade each year, the wait to donate blood at one OneBlood location topped two hours — with dozens more donors making appointments to come back later in the week.

Families arrived together, with teenagers asking how old they had to be to donate too. Family members and spouses of OneBlood employees came to take names for appointment times and hand out snacks and water. Donors volunteered to bring more supplies. Everyone was looking for any way they could find to help — no matter how small.

Though OneBlood's Sunday hours usually end at noon, the organization pledged to stay open as long as donors were still in line.

Here are what 13 blood donors in St. Petersburg had to say in their own words:

1. "We have to show the world there is more good in it than bad."

"I'm donating because we have to show the world there is more good in it than bad. Hate is NOT the answer." — Jamie, St. Petersburg. Photos by Caitlin Duffy/Upworthy.

2. "I want to help make a difference."

"I’m donating because I’m a nurse and I want to help make a difference." — Mallory, 25, Pinellas Park, Florida.

3. "I believe that the tragic event in Orlando last night highlights our nation's increasing problem of gun violence."

"My name is Julien Turner, I'm here on vacation in St. Petersburg, visiting my sisters and mother. I'm currently living in Portsmouth, NH. I believe that the tragic event in Orlando last night highlights our nation's increasing problem of gun violence, which calls for solidarity of Americans in general, and domestic violence at large. I'd like to support the victims in the best way possible, by giving blood per The American Red Cross' request." — Julien, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

4. "I felt compelled to do anything I could to help those affected."

"In the wake of the Orlando Pulse tragedy, I felt compelled to do anything I could to help those affected. When I received the text from One Blood saying my blood type was scarce, I knew immediately that I should be donating today!" — Karla, 29, St. Petersburg.

5. "There is a crisis within our Community right now."

"My wife and I are donating because there is a crisis within our Community right now. We feel the best way we can help is by donating blood. Our thoughts are with our fellow lgbtsq's and thier families." — Erin and Andrea, 40 and 39, St. Petersburg.

6. "Regardless of any reasons of why, or other speculations on the shooter, I'm doing this to help those who were affected by this horrible act."

"I felt a strong responsibility to help when I heard the news this morning. Regardless of any reasons of why, or other speculations on the shooter, I'm doing this to help those who were affected by this horrible act. If my donation can help, I want to help. I'm sure many here share the same sentiments. #PrayForOrlando." — Jennifer, 34, St. Petersburg.

7. "I feel helpless in the face of this targeted attack against the lgbtq community."

"Im donating today because i feel helpless in the face of this targeted attack against the lgbtq community" — Chris, 32, St. Petersburg.

8. "People like me deserve to live in safety and health."

"Im giving blood because im queer and people like me deserve to live in safety and health." — Keeli, 20, St. Petersburg.

9. "God not only calls us to pray in times like these, but He also calls us to action."

"I’m donating because it’s an easy way to help make a difference in response to such a senseless tragedy. God not only calls us to pray in times like these, but He also calls us to action." — Kelsey, 24, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

10. "I am donating because my heart aches."

“I am donating because my heart aches for these kids that were tragically taken away last night." — Frank, St. Petersburg.

11. "I'm donating because I wanted to do something positive."

"I’m donating because I wanted to do something positive in the midst of all the horror." — Michelle, 54, St. Petersburg.

12. "I want to help in the only way I know."

"I am donating because I want to help in the only way I know during the tragic time." — Lisa, 33, Largo, Florida.

13. "We cannot let ourselves and our culture to be controlled by hate and fear."

"I am donating blood as a way to fight against hate. This attack in Orlando was a targeted attack against a group that already feels a lot of pressure and fear just to be themselves. We cannot let ourselves and our culture to be controlled by hate and fear. While I am not part of the LGBT community myself, I have many wonderful family members, friends and co-workers that are, and this is a way to support them. My little bit of time and blood can save a life, and this is the most ethical thing I can do." — Evan, 22, St. Petersburg.

In the wake of a tragedy, there are always people willing to help in any way they can.

On June 12, 2016, over 50 families woke up to the worst kind of phone call. The families of others waited, terrified, outside a hospital for news of their loved ones.

The blood, platelets, and plasma donated by strangers in the wake of this, the deadliest mass shooting in American history, will help hospitals treat not just the victims and survivors of the attack on Pulse nightclub, but those injured by gun violence tomorrow and in the future as well.

That's what makes everyone who turned out at blood donation centers — and the compassion that motivated them to do so in the wake of this attack on the LGBTQ community — so important, so necessary, and so appreciated.

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


Keep Reading Show less

Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani wows audiences with his amazing musical talents.

Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

Keep Reading Show less

TikTok about '80s childhood is a total Gen X flashback.

As a Gen X parent, it's weird to try to describe my childhood to my kids. We're the generation that didn't grow up with the internet or cell phones, yet are raising kids who have never known a world without them. That difference alone is enough to make our 1980s childhoods feel like a completely different planet, but there are other differences too that often get overlooked.

How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

And '80s hair? With the feathered bangs and the terrible perms and the crunchy hair spray? What, why and how?

Keep Reading Show less