+

Beth Cutlip, co-owner of Baltimore's Southside Tattoo parlor, was working one day when a man walked in with some unmistakeable ink.

A gang member in Los Angeles. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

The man's face was covered in gang tattoos, Cutlip says, and he was there to have them covered up. He got them as a teenager while running with a rough crowd, but he was a grown man now. Married. Kids. Trying to make an honest career as an electrician.


The tattoos, Cutlip recalls him saying, made people nervous when he came into their homes to do work. He needed them gone.

But they were just too big.

"As much as I wanted to help him, I had to refer him to have them removed. But I don't think he had the money," she says.

Later, when recounting the story to her husband and co-owner, Dave Cutlip, she knew there had to be a way to help people like that.

"I said, 'Dave, these people made a mistake, changed their life, and they need to get these tattoos covered up,'" she says. "He looked at me and said, 'Are you asking me to tattoo people for free?'"

Dave agreed to set aside time in the shop, once a week, for people to come in and have hateful or violent tattoos covered up, free of charge.

Beth posted a small announcement on the parlor's Facebook page, thinking a few hundred people might see it and think it was a good idea.

Instead, the post went massively viral.

Sometimes people make bad choices, and sometimes people change. We, at Southside Tattoo would like to make a difference....

Posted by Southside Tattoo on Monday, January 16, 2017

Soon, messages poured in from all over the country and world. There were thousands and thousands of people trying to get rid of permanent ink that didn't reflect who they were anymore.

This man's gang tattoo became a rose. Photo by Southside Tattoo, used with permission.

Southside Tattoo is now completely booked with cover-ups, and Beth has been working with other parlors around the country to help people outside the Baltimore area.

They've even begun setting up a nonprofit to help pay for the work. Beth says some of the funds they've raised go toward helping people in more remote areas travel to somewhere they can have the work done properly and safely.

His arms said "white" and "power." Beth and Dave covered up the "white." Photo by Southside Tattoo, used with permission.

Beth says everyone she works with has a different story, but they all have one thing in common: They're trying to build a better life.

Along with gang tattoos, "I am seeing so many swastikas, Aryan Brotherhood, things like that," Beth says. Some get inked up in prison to fit in, for safety. Others are just trying to leave their old ways behind.

Either way, Beth and her husband are happy to help.

"The beautiful thing is I know I did something good for somebody," she says. "And they're going to leave here and they're going to do something nice for somebody else."

Together, Beth and Dave are helping people prove it's never too late to change. And that's a message we all need to hear right now.

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Mark Basarab on Unsplash

It's Fat Bear Week and we pick the winner.

Everyone knows that fat animals are infinitely more visually appealing, much to veterinarians' collective dismay. They may not be at their pinnacle of health, yet we love them anyway, especially when they're babies. Bears, however, are supposed to get chunky so they get a pass. Before the winter when they hibernate, they're all about feeding their faces and storing fat for the winter. Wildlife archivists Explore has put all these fat bears in one place so we can vote on who gets to be supreme Fat Bear. Fat Bear Week is an annual event that anyone with internet access can participate in.

Keep ReadingShow less

She's enjoying the big benefits of some simple life hacks.

James Clear’s landmark book “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” has sold more than 9 million copies worldwide. The book is incredibly popular because it has a simple message that can help everyone. We can develop habits that increase our productivity and success by making small changes to our daily routines.

"It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis,” James Clear writes. “It is only when looking back 2 or 5 or 10 years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.”

His work proves that we don’t need to move mountains to improve ourselves, just get 1% better every day.

Most of us are reluctant to change because breaking old habits and starting new ones can be hard. However, there are a lot of incredibly easy habits we can develop that can add up to monumental changes.

Keep ReadingShow less