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upworthy
Joy

A homeless man asked a college student for some tea, and a deluge of kindness followed

The unlikely pair spent the day getting to know each other, and now thousands of strangers are invested in Unc's well-being.

Sanai Graden selfie with man pushing a grocery cart

Neither Sanai Graden nor her "Unc" knew what their meeting in a parking lot would lead to.

Every once in a while, a story of two strangers turns into a shared connection that touches millions. This is one of them.

Sanai Graden is a 21-year-old college student living in Washington, D.C., who likes to vlog on TikTok while she does everyday things. As she was heading to the grocery store on a random day at the end of January 2024, she turned on her camera, and soon after, a man approached and asked her if she could help him get some hot tea.

Not money. Not even food. Just some simple, hot tea.

Graden told the man she was going to Trader Joe's and he could go along with her and they could stop at Starbucks. As they walked and chatted, Graden learned the man was homeless, had no family and was suffering from prostate cancer. He has just gotten insurance, but it wouldn't kick in for 45 days and he needed a prescription filled.


Over the next four to five hours, Graden got him some tea, helped him get his prescription filled so he could get some relief from his pain and put him up in a hotel room for the night. By the end of the day, she was calling him "Unc," and he was calling her his "angel."

She left him with some cash and her phone number and then posted this video:

@hustlanani

Please help me help him !

At the end, she said she wanted to start a GoFundMe for Unc (whose real name is Alonzo), and she did just that.

"I'm just a college student, there's only so much I can do," she shared in another TIkTok. "I did the best I could. But that man, he was literally suffering, and it broke my heart…He was so kind…I just wanted to help him."

Her initial video started going viral—it currently has over 20 million views—and people started donated to the GoFundMe. When it reached $12,000 in a matter of hours, she called her parents to tell them about it. They told her she was exactly the right person to be helping this man because she will make sure the money is used to get him what he needs.

@hustlanani

Replying to @The JasmynYvette Thank you so much eve

Little did she know that that $12,000 would soon rise to $20,000, and then to $50,000, then $100,000 and more. As of the writing of this article, two days after the GoFundMe went up, it has jumped the $300,000 mark.

At this point, so many people are invested in Unc's well-being. Upwards of 20,000 people have donated, and the number just keeps rising. As one commenter put it, "He's everyone's Unc now."

Graden went to tell him the good news the next morning when the GoFundMe was around $150,000, but when she arrived at the hotel, he had already checked out. She searched everywhere she thought he might be, even renting a car to cover more ground more quickly, but she wasn't able to find him.

Finally, she shared a brief voice message he left for her that started, "Hey, Niece! It's your uncle," and ended with "I love you!" but he neglected to tell her where he was. After she looked around some more, he called again and and told her he was at church. She told him to wait right there.

She found him in front of a church and invited him to go get something to eat. She said she wanted to talk to him in private, but he was waiting with his aunt and couldn't leave just yet. Finally, she was able to sit with him in her car and tell him about what thousands of people were doing to help him live comfortably and more easily manage his cancer.

She had to convince him the money was his, not theirs together. He also said he hadn't finished writing her a letter he'd started.

@hustlanani

I know you’ve all been waiting on his reaction. I just made it home. Please enjoy it. Thank you everyone for coming together. This would not have been possible without the endless support. This is just the beginning of something great. I’m enternally grateful. God did that !!!

The first thing Graden did was take Alonzo to Target to get him his own phone and some new clothes of his choosing. He even had a little laugh with Graden when she asked him if he wanted to get some floss, forgetting that he doesn't have any teeth.

This story is still developing and there are obviously a lot of complex details to work out as they get Alonzo settled with however much money the GoFundMe ultimately raises. No one wants Alonzo to lose his health benefits, and there are various financial as well as mental and emotional elements to consider as they move forward. But the power of the kindness of strangers to change someone's circumstances, starting with just one caring soul, is certainly worth celebrating.

Follow @hustlanani on TikTok for updates on Unc.


This article originally appeared on 2.13.24

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Screenshot WBRZ2|YouTube

Boy mistakes multimillionaire for homeless man forming friendship


Kids can be amazingly empathetic people, many of them doing what they can to help others in need unprompted. Homelessness has been an increasing issue across America and some kids have taken small steps to try to help when they can. Kids are seen doing things like volunteering at a soup kitchen with their family, handing out personal hygiene kits and even making sandwiches in their own kitchen to give out.

One kid has been noticing a growing homeless population and wanting to lend a helping hand, but every time he encountered someone without a home, he had no money. But Kelvin Ellis didn't stop the desire of wanting to help so the next time he came across a man that appeared homeless, he was excited that this time he had a dollar in his pocket.

Kelvin, who is 9-years-old spotted a houseless person standing in the corner of a restaurant and knew it was his chance. The boy approached the man who was standing with his eyes closed and held out the only money he had–a dollar bill. But to Kelvin's surprise, the man refused the kind gesture and instead bought him breakfast because it turned out the man wasn't homeless at all.


Matthew Busbice, the man standing in the corner, was simply doing his morning devotional prayer after having to leave his apartment in a rush when the building's fire alarm went off. The man stepped across the street to the coffee shop after it was confirmed to be a false alarm at his building. That's where Kelvin spotted him and attempted to give charity to Busbice, a multimillionaire.

Busbice launched and owns several brands and outdoor companies with his family. The multimillionaire also starred in two popular reality television shows with his family, Country Bucks on A&E and Wildgame Nation on Outdoor Channel. His money and niche fame didn't stop him from chatting with Kelvin over breakfast while the little boy's dad was at the eye doctor.

"You gave the only money in your pocket to me and thinking I was a homeless man, and that speaks volumes of your character and what this generation that's coming up. If their more like Kelvin and they're going to give, they're going to be filled with joy, they're going to be happy. They're going to change the community then change the parish and change the state, and they can change the world," Busbice tells WBRZ 2.

Kelvin didn't expect to make a friend that day, but he did. You can see how Busbice repaid the little boy's kind gesture below.

Science

Bartender in Patagonia takes sustainability to a whole other level

Wait til you see how Federico Gil uses glaciers—yes, glaciers—to distill his signature gin.

Annie Reneau

Federico Gil puts his passion for sustainability into practice.

When people talk about sustainability in the food and drink industry, there's a lot of talk about plastic straws and reducing waste. But at Bar Pionero, the sustainability standard is set much, much higher. They do things I didn't even know were possible, and they don't do things a lot of people—those who put profit before protection of the environment—would do in the name of conservation.

And most of it comes down to the vision of elite bartender Federico Gil.

Gil and his brother founded Bar Pionero 14 years ago, after moving to Chilean Patagonia from Uruguay. The bar sits adjacent to the main lobby of the Las Torres Hotel, just inside Torres del Paine National Park, and with its wall of windows framing a towering mountain, just being in the bar is an experience. The food is good, and as someone who doesn't drink, I was delighted by the incredible mocktail offerings. But the highlight of the bar is Gil himself.


Watching Gil speak about sustainability was mesmerizing, even with him speaking in Spanish and me only understanding a few words of what he said. For the details, I needed the English-speaking translator, but Gil's passion for sustainability needed no translation; it was genuine and palpable.

bartender standing in front of a table full of drink-making materials.

Federico Gil shares how Bar Pionero creates its sustainable cocktails.

Annie Reneau

On a practical level, here are some of the zero-waste practices the bar has implemented:

- Not only do they not use plastic straws but they use signature copper straws. Chile is the world's largest copper producer, so the metal is plentiful. It's also naturally anti-bacterial (though they have a sanitation process they use to clean them, of course).

- They repurpose bottles and jars into drinking glasses and tools for the bartenders. Sometimes they even combine them with copper. Check out this gorgeous glass made from an upside down glass bottle top and copper.

Cocktail glass sitting on a table

Cocktail glass made from a glass bottle top and copper

Annie Reneau

- They make their own mixes, spirits, bitters, vinegars, etc. from the plants that grow naturally in the surrounding landscape as well as from the organic garden on site.

- They also make vinegar by capturing and repurposing the dribbles of beer that come out of the tap after a draft beer is poured.

- They brew their own beer using pure glacial water and hops grown in the garden. The byproduct of the brewing process then goes back into the garden as fertilizer.

glacier

Glacier in Torres del Paine National Park, part of the Southern Patagonia Ice Field

Annie Reneau

- They distill their own gin in small batches, using glacial water, 13 botanicals from the natural landscape and the clay left behind from the moving glaciers. Gil says his goal with the gin is to convey the "spirit of the ice." Glacial gin. Who knew?

The gin is so unique, Gil could certainly make money distributing it around the world, but he refuses. Same with the beer.

"The world doesn't need one more gin or one more beer," he says. The most sustainable way is not to sell it outside the hotel, where it would have to be shipped and transported. "We're not thinking about how much we can sell, but what impact we have," he adds.

It's literally putting their money where their mouth is, knowing they could have a lucrative product on their hands but not capitalizing on it because of the environmental impact that would have. And it's not just a guess—Gil says the bar actually keeps track and calculates their environmental impact using various measures.

bartender painting a rock held in tongs

Federico Gil painting a lemon extraction onto a frozen rock from Torres del Paine National Park

Annie Reneau

On top of all of that, watching Gil craft a cocktail is like watching an artist at work. He's as passionate about creativity as he is about sustainability, and it shows. I watched him light herbs on fire and set a glass bottle top over the flame to capture their essence, then paint a homemade cold extraction of lemon onto a frozen stone from the park, then shake together various liquids created from park botanicals and put it all together into glass made of layers of jar and glass tops.

I'd never seen anything like it, and I've rarely seen anyone who walks the sustainability talk so clearly in their work. It not only gave me hope for the conservation of Torres del Paine and Patagonia (which is stunning—a place bucket lists are made for, seriously), but also made me realize how much we have to learn from one another as we strive to protect our beautiful planet.

If you'd like to see Federico in action, check out this video from my experience there:

This writer was a guest of Las Torres Patagonia. This article was not reviewed by the hotel or anyone associated with it before publication.

Photo by Taylor Heery on Unsplash

People are right to complain about being charged a cleaning fee and being asked to do chores.




In 2016, My husband and I started renting our basement apartment out as a short-term rental on Airbnb. We live in a college town and figured we'd get some guests during football game weekends and graduations. We didn't realize how many people come to our town to visit their college kids or check out the school, so we were pleasantly surprised by how regularly we were booked.

In 2019, we bought the house next door and now rent out both floors of the old house as separate units. We love being Airbnb hosts and have had a very successful run of it, with hundreds of 5-star reviews, Superhost status and lots of repeat guests.

We also don't charge a cleaning fee or make guests do check-out chores. In fact, we find both things rather loathsome.


What makes us good hosts is that we've been Airbnb guests for years. As a family of five that travels a lot, we've found far more value in Airbnbs than in hotels over the years. We love having a kitchen, living room and bedrooms and feeling like we have a "home" while traveling. We even spent a nomadic year staying at short-term rentals for a month at a time.

When you've experienced dozens of Airbnbs as a guest, you learn what guests appreciate and what they don't. You see what's annoying and unnecessary and what's to be expected in comparison to a hotel. We started taking mental notes long before we started our own rental about what we would want to do and not do if we ever had one and have implemented those things now that we do.

As guests, we know the pain of the cleaning fee, so we don't charge one.

via GIPHY

It helps that my husband has a flexible schedule and grew up helping with his parents' janitorial service, so most of the time he cleans the apartments himself. We could charge a cleaning fee for his time and labor, but even if we were paying for outside cleaners, we still wouldn't put a separate fee onto guest bookings. It makes far more sense to us to just wrap the cleaning fee into the per-night price.

From a host's perspective, the one-night stay is where the cleaning fee question hits the hardest. Whether someone stays one night or 10 nights, the cleaning cost is the same. But spreading the cost over 10 nights is a very different beast than adding it to one night, especially from a guest's perspective. On the host side, if we had to pay cleaners without passing that fee onto guests, we've barely make anything on one-night stays. But on the guest side, a $100 a night stay suddenly jumping to $150 because a cleaning fee was added is painful, and often a dealbreaker. You can see the conundrum.

The way we see it, and as other Airbnb hosts have found, wrapping cleaning costs into the base price comes out in the wash over time, as long as you have some longer-term stays mixed in with the one-nighters. And it's a much better experience for the guest not to get hit with sticker shock on the "final cost" screen, which is already eye-popping when service fees and taxes are added on.

(I will say, this may only ring true for smaller units. If you're renting a huge home, cleaning costs are going to be higher just because it takes longer to clean. But I still don't think the full cost should be passed onto guests as a separate fee.)

As for check-out chores—asking guests to do things like start laundry, sweep the floor, take out the trash, etc.—those have never made sense to us. Hosts should have enough switch-out linens that laundry doesn't have to be started prior to checking out, and none of those chores save enough time for the cleaning people to make it worth asking guests to do it. I can see taking out trash if there wasn't going to be another guest for a while, but usually you'd want to clean right away after a stay anyway just in case it does get booked last minute.

The only thing we ask guests to do is to start the dishwasher if they have dirty dishes (as a guest, I've never found that an unreasonable request), lock the door and have a safe trip home. Don't need to pull the sheets. Don't need to take out any garbage or recycling. Those things don't take that long, but that's just as much a reason not to ask guests to do it. Annoying your guests by asking them to do something extra isn't worth the tiny bit of time it might save the cleaning people.

And you know what? This approach works really well. Approximately 95% of guests leave the apartments clean and tidy anyway. In seven years, I can count on one hand how many problems we've had with guests leaving a mess. That's been a pleasant surprise, but I think part of the reason is that guest are simply reciprocating the respect and consideration we show them by not making them pay extra fees or do chores on their way out.

To be fair, it probably also helps that we aren't some big real estate tycoon that bought up a bunch of apartments and turning them into short-term rentals run by impersonal management companies. People's complaints about how short-term rentals impact local housing economies are legitimate. We're more aligned with the original "sharing economy" model, renting out our home to guests who come through town. And in a small college town with a large university, there often aren't enough hotel rooms during busy weekends anyway, so it's been a bit of a win-win.

I think being right next door, having personal communication with our guests (but also leaving them their privacy), and not charging or asking anything extra of them makes them want to be respectful guests. From our perspective, both as guests and hosts, cleaning fees and check-out chores simply aren't worth it.

Representative image. Triplet babies in "Thing" outfits.

Many people believe that someone’s personality can be determined by their birth order within a family. Older siblings are often seen as more responsible and the youngest is frequently characterized as the most laid-back. Although there isn’t much research to back up these claims, there is evidence that birth order can affect someone’s intelligence.

So, does birth order have any effect on multiples? In a unique case like triplets, there can be a small, self-fulfilling prophecy effect. Parents and siblings may project stereotypes onto one another, such as, “You were born first, now you’re first at everything,” or “You were born last, no wonder you’re lazy.”

Triplets on TikTok are going viral because they were never able to have any squabbles about their birth order because they never knew it until they turned 18. Janie Hilbert, 18, shared a video in February featuring her triplet brothers, Luke and Wright, that showed their reaction to learning their birth order for the first time.


The video is touching, but it didn’t reveal the actual order, just their reaction and it was still viewed over 20 million times.

x3 🤷😆

@janie.banie4

x3 🤷😆

After the post, TikTok was shouting for a follow-up video that revealed the results. A few days later, Janie posted a video that revealed their birth order, set to the theme song from “Full House.”

triplet birth order reveal!!!

@janie.banie4

triplet birth order reveal!!!

The post showed that Wright is the oldest, followed by middle child Luke and then Janie. Janie was not excited about being the youngest. “I did not want to be the youngest,” Janie told Today.com. “That’s the one thing I really hoped I hadn’t been waiting 18 years to be the youngest and then here we are.”

The triplets’ parents, Stewart Hilbert and Clay Hilbert, told Today.com why they decided to wait until their 18th birthday to learn the truth about their birth order. The decision was made because Clayton, their oldest child, was born three years before the triplets.

“He was also definitely precocious, a rule follower and very literal,” Stewart said, adding that he would probably tried to enforce an “olest gets the bottle first” mentality when the triplets arrived. “We just didn’t want to play his game, and we were like, alright, let’s just keep it a secret. It’ll be fun. They won’t have to subscribe to any of the stereotypes of oldest, middle, youngest, all that.”

It was tough keeping the birth order a secret for all those years, especially with the children constantly begging to find out the answer. “They definitely wanted to know, and that made it even more fun,” Stewart explained.

“We tried to figure it out for so long. We begged and begged. They wouldn’t crack,” Janie added.

The funny thing was that their father secretly revealed the truth in the family group chat which featured the children’s names in birth order. But the triplets never put it together. "I was so excited to try to tell them that it was in front of them the whole time," Clay said.

Representative photos by Aaron J. Hill and Greta Hoffman

Women choose being alone with bear instead of man in interview

There are often hypothetical scenarios that people get asked just to see what their answer will be. In most cases, the scenario is something that has a very slim chance of ever happening in real life, but it can be fun to allow your brain to wander. A hypothetical scenario is taking over social media right now and it has women nodding in agreement while many men are left scratching their heads.

Screenshot HQ took to the streets and asked random women if they would rather be stuck in the woods with a man or a bear. Overwhelmingly women chose to take their chances with a bear, some providing the inquirer with a reason as to why they'd chose a bear over a man. Unsurprisingly to most women, the participants saw the bear as the safer option.

Some men had a hard time understanding why women would risk being mauled by a bear, but several men did understand and took to social media to attempt to explain.


Some men seemingly easily knew why women would choose to be in the woods with a bear when their partners asked them the same question but the hypothetical woman was their daughter. In the video, one woman makes her case for choosing a bear.

"Well I've heard about bears, they don't always attack you right unless you f**k with them? So maybe a bear," she laughs.

Luis Torio responded to the video with an explanation for men who seemed confused by the amount of women choosing a bear. In his video he asks, "why would a woman choose a man over a bear when the number one predator of a woman is a man and not the bear?" He goes on to explain that if a woman is put in the woods with the wrong man, she could be in a much worse situation than with a bear.

@yourtango

Women were asked if they would rather be stuck in a forest with a man or a bear - and their answers are sad #manvsbear

YourTango jumped in on the debate and dropped a few facts with the most staggering being, "the 750,000 black bears in North America unalive less than one person per year on average. Men aged 18-24 are 167 times more likely to unalive someone." The woman in the video also cites assault statistics for women.

That's not to say that all men would be dangerous if trapped in the woods with them, commenters and content creators point that out. The concern seems to be more about the predictability of bears verses the predictability of an unknown man.

You can watch the original video that started this weeks long debate below:

@screenshothq

The question of being stuck in a forest with a man or a bear is circulating on TikTok right now and sparking some interesting conversation.... we know what our answer would be 🐻🌳 #manvsbear #tiktok #tiktoktrend #trending #challenge #streetinterview #voxpop