More

A 9-year-old boy learns to be a superhero with the help of a friendly waiter.

The world would be a much brighter place if we all showed one another this type of kindness.

A 9-year-old boy learns to be a superhero with the help of a friendly waiter.

Born with a congenital heart defect, Oscar underwent open-heart surgery when he was just six days old.

He was born with the condition transposition of the great arteries.

"His father and I faced an uncertain future with our newborn son," Oscar's mom, Jeni, told me via email. "Our world wasn't just turned upside down — it was inside out and shaken around and very confusing."


Here's Oscar, the day after his surgery. All photos courtesy of Jen Goodhand-Wyatt.

Thanks to help from Heart Link Children's Charity, Jeni and her husband were given accommodations near the hospital to stay near their young son as he worked through the early stages of recovery. The charity also helped by providing some of the equipment Oscar would need for his long-term survival.

Now 9 years old, Oscar is alive and well, though he has to meet with a cardiologist from time to time.

Earlier this week, during an appointment with his cardiologist, Oscar was devastated to learn that he couldn't practice karate.

So on the way home, Jeni decided to stop at the local TGI Fridays for dinner.

What happened next changed the course of a sad, stressful day and transformed it into something amazing.

Oscar meets with his cardiologist before setting off for dinner.

The experience at TGI Fridays turned the day around, and Oscar learned a wonderful lesson.

Here's the story, as posted to Jeni's Facebook page and republished here with permission:

"So here's a happy post. We went to TGI on our way home from the hospital. Before taking Oscar in I went in to check that there were no Halloween decorations (Os is petrified of Halloween). I explained his ASD and the gent on reception was great saying I could choose where we sat so Os was happy. Well, it had to be the Star Wars table didn't it and I said he was a Star Wars loving superhero."

ASD stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder. "Oscar is a sensory seeker (part of autism), and as a result can be a messy eater," Jeni told Upworthy. So dining out isn't something the family does often because people can be quite rude.

"About six months ago in a local pub we actually had a family move from sitting next to us and we heard the words 'disgusting' used in reference to Oscar. He's far from disgusting — he just thoroughly enjoys his food and finds it hard to control his body when it's THAT good!"

But Oscar had gotten some bad news that morning about not being able to practice his karate, and he deserved a lunch out.

Os seated happily at the "Star Wars" booth with a Chewbacca doll.

"Fast forward ten mins and the waitress comes over and says 'I understand you're a superhero. Here's your menu.' Os was a bit bummed as today the cardiologist said he couldn't do Karate because of his heart... In his mind that means he's not a superhero. So I explained his sad face to the perplexed waitress and ordered food.

Dinner arrived and then a new waiter came over. 'Is your dinner ok!' Os replied 'It's only just got here silly!' and laughed. The waiter smiled and walked away. He returned moments later with two balloon models he'd made for Os."

Balloon animals!

"A little while later he came over and asked me if he could buy a pudding, any pudding off the menu, for Os. Well there was no stopping Boo... Chocolate Brownie it was! When he served it I asked why. 'Because he's a superhero!' was [the waiter's] reply.

And on the bill... SUPERHERO was the discount given."

Superhero discount, right there in writing:

Oscar's mom finishes her Facebook post with a thank you to the wait staff:

"Fantastic service. Thank you so very much from a mum who has had an emotional roller-coaster of a day and from a boy who is now sleeping soundly with a belly full of chocolate brownie."

Upworthy reached out to TGI Fridays Director of Culture and People Development Jacqui McManus about Oscar's story.

“We're very proud of our Fridays Family, who always work hard to go above and beyond, and we believe that this is a great example of what we always look for from our team members," she wrote in a statement provided to Upworthy.

"Team members are encouraged to bring their personality to every shift and tailor the experience for every guest. Ryan and the team at Coventry did a wonderful job offering the Fridays experience to Oscar, our new Fridays Superhero."

From this experience, Oscar has learned that a real superhero comes from within, not from karate.

"Although I was choking back the tears after an emotional day, it was lovely to see Os and his cuddly Chewbacca toy enjoying himself without worrying," Jeni told Upworthy.

"He didn't really realize the impact he'd had on [the waiter]," Jeni said. With her Facebook post about their lunch at over 10,000 Likes, she says Os is starting to understand that a "real 'superhero' comes from within and he must be a superhero if he made so many people smile."

Oscar and his sister Faith ride a carousel.

For less than $4, some balloons, and friendly service, a little boy and his mother's day was made.

It really is the little things in life that make such a huge difference. The world would be a much brighter place if we all showed one another this type of kindness.

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less

Biases, stereotypes, prejudices—these byproducts of the human brain's natural tendency to generalize and categorize have been a root cause of most of humanity's problems for, well, pretty much ever. None of us is immune to those tendencies, and since they can easily slip in unnoticed, we all have to be aware of where, when, and how they impact our own beliefs and actions.

It also helps when someone upends a stereotype by saying or doing something unexpected.

Fair or not, certain parts of the U.S. are associated with certain cultural assumptions, perhaps none more pinholed than the rural south. When we hear Appalachia, a certain stereotype probably pops up in our minds—probably white, probably not well educated, probably racist. Even if there is some basis to a stereotype, we must always remember that human beings can never be painted with such broad strokes.

Enter Tyler Childers, a rising country music star whose old-school country fiddling has endeared him to a broad audience, but his new album may have a different kind of reach. "Long Violent History" was released Friday, along with a video message to his white rural fans explaining the culminating track by the same name. Watch it here:

Keep Reading Show less
True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn’t have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women’s rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn’t something we’d choose—and we’d hope others wouldn’t choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

Keep Reading Show less
@frajds / Twitter

Father Alek Schrenk is known as one of the "9 Priests You Need to Follow on Twitter." He proved his social media skills Sunday night after finding a creepy note on a parked car and weaving a lurid Twitter tale that kept his followers on the edge of their pews.

Father Schrenk was making his nightly walk of the church grounds to make sure everything was fine before retiring to the rectory, when he found a car parked by itself in front of the school.

Curious, he looked inside the car and saw a note that made his "blood run cold" attached to the steering wheel. "Look in trunk!" the note read. What made it extra creepy was that the two Os in "look" had smiley faces.

Keep Reading Show less