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A loving dad started a business to help his son with autism and empower others like him.

"I never expected how important what we were doing was — beyond us."

True
Starbucks Upstanders

Here's a pretty jarring stat: Up to 90% of adults with autism are either unemployed or underemployed.

Being on the autism spectrum shouldn’t equate to being unemployable, and certainly individuals like actor Mickey Rowe and professor, best-selling author, and livestock consultant Temple Grandin have spoken about successfully finding a place in the career world. But this inclusivity takes a lot of educating of others about the unique way their brains work. What if we created a more supportive environment in which individuals with autism could thrive?

Luckily, one loving father discovered a simple idea to address this issue and empower not only his son, but other adults with autism. And it's pretty awesome.


When you pull into Rising Tide Car Wash, you might notice two things: Most of the employees have autism, and they are busier than ever. A Starbucks original series.

Posted by Upworthy on Monday, September 19, 2016

John D'Eri has always wanted what's best for his son, Andrew.

He didn't start out with a full understanding of the intricacies of Andrew's autism, though. Initially, he found the disorder confusing and even hoped Andrew would eventually outgrow it or that someone would find a miracle cure.

Then, as Andrew got older, John had an eye-opening revelation.

"I started to realize that Andrew is who Andrew is. And I started to look at Andrew not as a 15-year-old. I looked at him as a 40-year-old. And that really started to change my whole thought pattern. He's not gonna be independent unless I can help him to be so."

Naturally, the next question on John's mind was, "Well, what can Andrew do?"

All images via Starbucks.

Inspiration struck John one fine day at a car wash.

After brainstorming a few business ideas, John found himself intrigued by the busy back-and-forth going on as he waited for his car to get cleaned at a car wash.

All of a sudden, John had a lightbulb moment. He remembers thinking, "Andrew can do this back-end process, without a doubt."

Soon after, the plan for Rising Tide Car Wash was put in motion.

With the help of his other son, Tom, John made the dream a reality and formed a team of passionate individuals who wanted to be a part of something special.

Today, business is booming  — because the employees are thriving.

Rising Tide places great importance on maximizing the potential of each and every person on their staff. No doubt the move has paid off in spades.

"What I like about Rising Tide is that they help me [with] how to stay professional, how to talk to customers. I have friends here now that care about me, that care about reaching my goals," said employee Sean Gervil. "Actions speak louder than words. You let your actions show that you want the job. I was just surprised. I can't believe I have a job now at Rising Tide."

Rising Tide is now averaging 17,000 cars a month and is on its way to opening a second location. Talk about a success!

This is the kind of forward thinking that can make a real difference in the community.

John said, "I never expected how important what we were doing was — beyond us."

When we recognize what others are capable of and do what we can to bring out the very best in them, truly amazing things can happen. Here's to more Rising Tide locations and more game-changing ideas!

Image from Pixabay.

Under the sea...

True
The Wilderness Society


You're probably familiar with the literary classic "Moby-Dick."

But in case you're not, here's the gist: Moby Dick is the name of a huge albino sperm whale.

(Get your mind outta the gutter.)


There's this dude named Captain Ahab who really really hates the whale, and he goes absolutely bonkers in his quest to hunt and kill it, and then everything is awful and we all die unsatisfied with our shared sad existence and — oops, spoilers!


OK, technically, the narrator Ishmael survives. So it's actually a happy ending (kind of)!

whales, Moby Dick, poaching endangered species

Illustration from an early edition of Moby-Dick

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Basically, it's a famous book about revenge and obsession that was published back in 1851, and it's really, really long.

It's chock-full of beautiful passages and dense symbolism and deep thematic resonance and all those good things that earned it a top spot in the musty canon of important literature.

There's also a lot of mundane descriptions about the whaling trade as well (like, a lot). That's because it came out back when commercial whaling was still a thing we did.

conservation, ocean water conservation

A non-albino mother and baby sperm whale.

Photo by Gabriel Barathieu/Wikipedia.

In fact, humans used to hunt more than 50,000 whales each year to use for oil, meat, baleen, and oil. (Yes, I wrote oil twice.) Then, in 1946, the International Whaling Commission stepped in and said "Hey, wait a minute, guys. There's only a few handful of these majestic creatures left in the entire world, so maybe we should try to not kill them anymore?"

And even then, commercial whaling was still legal in some parts of the world until as recently as 1986.

International Whaling Commission, harpoons

Tail in the water.

Whale's tail pale ale GIF via GoPro/YouTube

And yet by some miracle, there are whales who were born before "Moby-Dick" was published that are still alive today.

What are the odds of that? Honestly it's hard to calculate since we can't exactly swim up to a bowhead and say, "Hey, how old are you?" and expect a response. (Also that's a rude question — jeez.)

Thanks to some thoughtful collaboration between researchers and traditional Inupiat whalers (who are still allowed to hunt for survival), scientists have used amino acids in the eyes of whales and harpoon fragments lodged in their carcasses to determine the age of these enormous animals — and they found at least three bowhead whales who were living prior to 1850.

Granted those are bowheads, not sperm whales like the fictional Moby Dick, (and none of them are albino, I think), but still. Pretty amazing, huh?

whale blubber, blue whales, extinction

This bowhead is presumably in adolescence, given its apparent underwater moping.

GIF via National Geographic.

This is a particularly remarkable feat considering that the entire species was dwindling near extinction.

Barring these few centenarian leviathans, most of the whales still kickin' it today are between 20 and 70 years old. That's because most whale populations were reduced to 10% or less of their numbers between the 18th and 20th centuries, thanks to a few over-eager hunters (and by a few, I mean all of them).

Today, sperm whales are considered one of the most populous species of massive marine mammals; bowheads, on the other hand, are still in trouble, despite a 20% increase in population since the mid-1980s. Makes those few elderly bowheads that much more impressive, huh?

population, Arctic, Great Australian Blight

Southern Right Whales hangin' with a paddleboarder in the Great Australian Bight.

GIF via Jaimen Hudson.

Unfortunately, just as things are looking up, these wonderful whales are in trouble once again.

We might not need to worry our real-life Captain Ahabs anymore, but our big aquatic buddies are still being threatened by industrialization — namely, from oil drilling in the Arctic and the Great Australian Bight.

In the off-chance that companies like Shell and BP manage not to spill millions of gallons of harmful crude oil into the water, the act of drilling alone is likely to maim or kill millions of animals, and the supposedly-safer sonic blasting will blow out their eardrums or worse.

This influx of industrialization also affects their migratory patterns — threatening not only the humans who depend on them, but also the entire marine ecosystem.

And I mean, c'mon — who would want to hurt this adorable face?

social responsibility, nature, extinction

BOOP.

Image from Pixabay.

Whales might be large and long-living. But they still need our help to survive.

If you want another whale to make it to his two-hundred-and-eleventy-first birthday (which you should because I hear they throw great parties), then sign this petition to protect the waters from Big Oil and other industrial threats.

I guarantee Moby Dick will appreciate it.


This article originally appeared on 11.04.15

Pop Culture

A brave fan asks Patrick Stewart a question he doesn't usually get and is given a beautiful answer

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through.

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through. However, how he answered this vulnerable and brave fan's question is one of the most eloquent, passionate responses about domestic violence I've ever seen.



WARNING: At 2:40, he's going to break your heart a little.

You can read more about Heather Skye's hug with Captain Picard at her blog.


This article originally appeared on 06.26.13.


Joy

Pet cockatiel is obsessed with singing 'September' by Earth, Wind and Fire

Kiki remembers the 21st night of September ALL. THE. TIME. and it's actually quite impressive.

Representative hoto by Saqib Iqbal Digital on Unsplash

Apparently, "September" is all the rage with cockatiels.

“Do you remember…the 21st night of September?” has been one of the most iconic song openings of the past 45 years, as the R&B hit by Earth, Wind and Fire perpetually serves as a catchy favorite for dance clubs, movie scenes and TikTok clips alike.

However, "September" has also gained wild popularity among an unlikely group—pet cockatiels.


One cockatiel in particular has taken a shining to the song to the point of obsession, to the combined delight and chagrin of his owner. You see, Kiki doesn’t just like listening to the song, he sings and dances to it. Loudly. Over and over. At uncomfortable hours of the morning.

Kiki’s owner has shared multiple examples of her pet bird reveling in his favorite song, and it’s hilarious every time.

Watch:

@kiki.tiel

Send help plz wheres the off button on parrot #fyp #foryou #bird #cockatiel #parrotsoftiktok #birdsoftiktok

"Kiki…it's 7 o'clock in the morning…" Yeah, Kiki does not care. Kiki is feelin' the groove.

This isn't just a one-off and it's also not just a random song. Here we can see that Kiki recognizes it and sings it when his owner plays it. (Just after pooing on her leg—the reality of having a bird, in case these videos make you want one).

@kiki.tiel

Babywipes handy at all hours 🫡 #bird #cockatiel #fyp #foryou #september #parrot

But Kiki doesn't even need anyone else around in order to sing his favorite song. Here he is singing and dancing all by himself when his owner left the room and left her camera running to see what he would do.

@kiki.tiel

Partying without me :( #cockatielsoftiktok #birds #fyp #for you

As cute and hilarious as this is, it surely gets old after a while, right? It's one thing to watch in a video—it's got to be entirely another to hear it all the time at home.

It's also not just a Kiki quirk. Apparently, "September" is a "thing" among cockatiels. Other cockatiels have been known to love it and sing it, though not quite as well as Kiki does.

Someone on Reddit asked why so many cockatiels love the song—one person even said it was basically the cockatiel national anthem at this point. No one knows exactly why, but this explanation by Reddit user nattiecakes is as good an explanation as any:

"Yeah, cockatiels genuinely like the song in a way they don’t universally take to many other songs. My cockatiel is 17 and early in life basically seemed to max out his harddrive space learning a little bit of La Cucaracha, The Flintstones theme, the phrase 'pretty bird,' and this horrible alarm clock sound that is similar to the hungry baby cockatiel sound. We thought we could not get him to learn anything else because they do have some limits.

Then 'September' came. Every cockatiel loved it. We decided to see if our cockatiel loved it.

I sh*t y’all not, within a DAY he whistled the first three notes, which is really all that matters. He hasn’t been able to learn more, but he loves it.

Now our African grey whistles it to him constantly. He used to reliably whistle La Cucaracha to our cockatiel when our cockatiel would get angry and upset, and our cockatiel would start singing instead and forget he’d been upset. But almost immediately our grey switched to using 'September' 90% of the time. Like, it’s so plain even to our grey that 'September' is the song to unlock a cockatiel’s better nature. I think the grey likes it a lot too, but he has many other songs he likes better.

As for why cockatiels like this song so much… all I can guess is it really resonates with their cheery vibe. I think the inside of a cockatiel’s mind is usually like a disco."

Rock on, Kiki. Just maybe not so early in the morning.

Family

Heartwarming comics break down complex parenting issues with ease

Lunarbaboon comics tackle huge, important subjects with an effective, lighthearted touch that you can't help but smile at.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

Writing comics helped a father struggling with anxiety and depression.

Christopher Grady, a father and teacher from Toronto, was struggling with anxiety and depression. That's when he started drawing.

He describes his early cartoons and illustrations as a journal where he'd chronicle everyday moments from his life as a husband, elementary school teacher, and father to two kids.

"I needed a positive place to focus all my thoughts and found that when I was making comics I felt a little bit better," he says.

He began putting a few of his comics online, not expecting much of a response. But he quickly learned that people were connecting with his work in a deep way.


The comics series called Lunarbaboon was born, and the response to the first few was so powerful that Grady was inspired do more with his comics than just document his own experience.

"I began getting messages from many people about how they connected to the comics and it gave them hope and strength as they went through their own dark times," he says.

"When they look back…they probably won't remember what was said…or where you were when you said it. They may not remember any details of your time together. But they will remember that you were there…and that's what matters most."

"Usually the circle of people we can support, help, influence is limited to our families, friends, coworkers, random stranger at the bus stop, but with my comic I suddenly found my circle of power was much much larger," Grady explains. "I guess I decided to use this power for good."

Grady continued to draw, making a point to infuse the panels with his own special brand of positivity.

"Kids are always watching adults and they look to the adults as role models," he says. "I try to show (my kids and students) that even with all my flaws and weaknesses I am still a good person and I can still make a positive change in the world."

Lunarbaboon comics tackle huge, important subjects with an effective, lighthearted touch that you can't help but smile at.

Check out Grady's take on teaching his son about consent. (All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission.)

consent, relationship advice, father son advice, family

A comic about listening and respecting your partner.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

Here's one about parents being supportive of a gay son or daughter.

sexual orientation, parenting gay children, positive messages, gender orientation

Parents being supportive of their gay son.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

On raising girls in a patriarchal world.

adulting, education, medical field, dreams

Comic encourages girls to chase all their dreams.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

And here's a sweet one about appreciating the heck out of his wife.

motherhood, moms, childbirth, family

Mom one ups dad easily.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

Big topics. Important issues. Grady tackles them with humility and ease.

As Lunarbaboon has continued to grow, Grady says the messages of support he gets have become increasingly powerful.

He certainly doesn't claim to have all the answers to all the complexities of parenting, but he does say that "people like knowing they aren't alone in life's daily struggles. Most people who contact me just want to say thank you for putting something positive into the world."

Grady doesn't expect his Lunarbaboon comics to fix rape culture or end bigotry. He just hopes his message of love, inclusion, and positivity continues to spread.

inclusion, gender roles, social anxiety, happy

Teaching children to accept what might be different.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

"My hope is that for the short time people read it they smile and feel good," he says. "Then I hope they take that good feeling and smile into the world and make it slightly brighter."

You can check out even more of Grady's awesome work over on his website or in his newly published book.


This article was originally published on 11.30.17

Health

Women are shocking their boyfriends by showing them how tampons actually work

The viral videos are a great way to educate men on a sensitive topic.

via TikTok

Menstrual taboos are as old as time and found across cultures. They've been used to separate women from men physically — menstrual huts are still a thing — and socially, by creating the perception that a natural bodily function is a sign of weakness.

Even in today's world women are deemed unfit for positions of power because some men actually believe they won't be able to handle stressful situations while mensurating.

"Menstruation is an opening for attack: a mark of shame, a sign of weakness, an argument to keep women out of positions of power,' Colin Schultz writes in Popular Science.


The big problem with menstrual taboos is the way that males are educated on the subject leaves them with a patchwork of ideas that don't necessarily add up to the whole picture. First, there's the information they get from growing up with women in the house.

Then, there are the cryptic descriptions of menstruation seen in advertising and the cold, scientific way the topic is taught in sex education.

"Boys' early learning about menstruation is haphazard," a 2011 study published in the Journal of Family Issues reads. "The mysterious nature of what happens to girls contributes to a gap in boys' knowledge about female bodies and to some negative views about girls."

Unfortunately, the gaps in the average man's understanding of a complex female health issue can put women in a difficult position. Whether it's denying them positions of power or a failure to understand their discomfort.

That's why it's so important for men to become better educated about menstruation.

A group of women on TikTok are helping the men in their lives better understand the subject by showing them how tampons work on the inside of their bodies by dousing them in water. They call it the Boyfriend Challenge. Some of the guys' reactions are clearly over-the-top, but it's also obvious that many of them have no idea how tampons function.

A video by the Demery family has gone viral attracting nearly eight million views. It's fun to watch, but it also shows men how tampons function and what women go through during their monthly cycle.

@thedemeryfamily22 His reaction is priceless😂 #cutecouple #pregnant #prego #viral #InLove #couplegoals #trend #tampon ♬ original sound - Kolby&Jas❤️

Rachel's man just uttered the phrase "vagina parachute."

@mrshillery829 Of course I had to make my husband do this! I will forever call tampons “vagina parachutes”! LMAO!! #tamponchallenge #husbandpranks #funny #fyp ♬ original sound - Rachel Hillery

Paulina's man was completely flummoxed by the inner workings of a tampon. "You've been carrying this like, inside of you?" he asks. "The whole day?"

@paulinat showing him how a tampôn works😭 @fabioguerrrraa ♬ original sound - Pau Torres

This guy thinks it's "like a butterfly."

@amanialzubi showing my boyfriend how a tampon works 🤣😳❤️ ( @originalisrael ) #comedy #couple #couplegoals #foryou #trend #tiktok ♬ original sound - amani

Ryley just blew her BFF's mind.

Let's hope this challenge gave some men out there a better understanding of what women go through every month and a little more sympathy for the women in their lives.

Hopefully it also makes them feel a little more comfortable around period products and inspires them to pick up the correct box of tampons next time they're at the grocery store.


This article originally appeared on 01.27.21