A string quartet found themselves caught in a traffic jam, then decided to do something about it...

There are few experiences on this planet more mind-numbingly frustrating, more head-poundingly excruciating than being stuck in traffic.

The boredom, the lack of a bathroom, the GIANT SNAILS. It's a thoroughly discouraging scenario that just makes you want to…



GIF via "The Office"

It's also a situation that hundreds of drivers on England's M5 — a 162-mile motorway in the southwest part of the country — were forced to deal with on the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, when a vehicle carrying a half-dozen horses broke down just outside of the small town of Taunton. In the melee, one of the vehicle's equine occupants even managed to escape, leading to a complete standstill on one of the country's biggest highways.

Fortunately for a few dozen weary travelers, one of the cars stuck beside them just so happened to be carrying a professionally trained string quartet.

Image via Daily Picks and Flicks/YouTube.

The quartet members, on their way back from a wedding and with little else to do besides twiddle their fingers, decided to liven up the tedious affair by playing a classic tune from their repertoire: Johann Pachelbel's "Canon and Gigue for three violins and basso continuo" (or Pachelbel's "Canon" for short).

Image via Daily Picks and Flicks/YouTube.

The motorists nearby surrounded the quartet, whipping out their phones to record the impromptu performance as their anger gave way to euphoria. Helen Delingpole, a motorist from Wales, managed to capture the entire thing on her camera, which she later posted to Facebook.

"This is the best part of the holiday!" cheered one excited spectator.

When the quartet finished, they were met with a raucous applause that had violinist Lu Jeffery at a loss for words. "We have played some of the most incredible concert venues globally, and then one afternoon you play the M5, it all goes crazy," he said in a follow-up interview with The Telegraph.

Here's the video:

It just goes to show the profound, mood-altering power that music can have in even the most turbulent of times, especially when combined with a random act of kindness.

My only issue with the performance is that not one audience member had the common sense to request "Free Bird" next.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.