Armed with a Sharpie and rocks, this guy is lifting people's spirits every day.

They're rocks with faces, but they're so much more.

The best parts of the world are those that are full of random acts of kindness.

In the wake of Ferguson and Black Lives Matter, the St. Louis area has a reputation for being a segregated hot bed of neighbor-against-neighbor rage. That's what we've seen on the news.

But what if you were there?


You'd get to see how people actually live every day. You'd see neighbors of all kinds talking together, playing together, and helping each other out.

That's exactly what artist Bryan Payne is doing — and he's showing us we're all connected.

He's a local artist who's hiding treasures. What? Yes. Image by Jarred Gastreich.

Bryan is the guy behind a unique treasure-hunting project: Doodlestones.


Round 3 of doodlestones starts today!
A photo posted by @doodlestones on


"This constant impulse to want to connect. I feel like everyone's got this," Bryan says.

So what, exactly, are Doodlestones?

Bryan is an artist and amateur urban archaeologist and treasure hunter, and he's putting his passions to use by creating small stones decorated with friendly faces. He hides them in places where people cross paths as a way to help make his town a friendlier, kinder place. By geotagging and using location clues in the images he posts on Facebook and Instagram, he leaves behind a trail of tiny, happy artworks.


The 75 year old Kingshighway bridge is being torn down and with it goes the infamous diy skate park that is underneath it. Bug Chaser played a show here yesterday to send it off and tons of people were getting their last skate session in. I did a little memorial with the objects found on site, by next week it will all be gone.
A photo posted by @bryancharlespayne on


"I wanna find a way to connect all people. Not just an art crowd or a certain scene. It crosses all boundaries." Bryan says.


#doodlestone @pdianegs #cherokeestreet thank you @bryancharlespayne @flowersandweeds
A photo posted by Jennifer McComb (@mccombhoney) on
A photo posted by @doodlestones on


Each stone comes from a river in his home state of Missouri. On each stone, he writes "#doodlestone," the date, and "finders keepers."

Thumbs up. Image by Jarred Gastreich.


Breakfast time?
A photo posted by @doodlestones on


A quick glance at its Facebook page shows just how many folks agree and are joining in.

"People following the clues are starting to find them," Bryan says. "They're all geotagged. You can click on the map and see them on the map, whatever the satellite proximity is."

Images via Doodlestones' Facebook and Instagram.

Bryan wants everyone to be on a hunt for treasure, whether that be for Doodlestones themselves ...


Got three doodle stone fans at the farmer's market, so I gave them each treasures to take home. They told me they paint on stones with their grandma.
A photo posted by @doodlestones on

...or a new small business they find while hunting for Doodlestone treasure...


Found my first #doodlestone! I'm leaving it behind because it fits so perfect. Hint: Egghead can be found at the best place to get grilled cheeses on a Saturday morning.
A photo posted by It is Alright, Ma. (@itisalrightma) on

...or a kind moment with a neighbor they might not have known.


Portrait of an artist being super friendly. Image by Jarred Gastreich.

That very thing has already started happening around the St. Louis area. One of the Doodlestone treasure hunters found him on Facebook, and they met up.

"The family in the photograph contacted me after finding the two Doodlestone ghosts in their planter. ... I ended up giving them each a Doodlestone of their choice from my newest batch as a thank you for their willingness to engage in the project in a new way," Bryan said. "What I got to experience with them is a huge part of what it's about for me: hearing stories, looking at treasures, and finding a new way to connect with the community."

Bryan hiding stones. Image by Jarred Gastreich.

One small idea is turning into a discovery ground for an entire town.

Bryan notes, "This is the first way that I've been able to use my resources to create some sort of community, building to bring people from across barriers together."

Images via Doodlestones' Instagram.

Helping humans connect with their surroundings and tap into their community. It's an innately positive pursuit. How does it not help to direct somebody to a new coffee shop or a new park?

"I think both things help in different ways, it's all connected," he says. "Taking people outside their comfort zone and leading them somewhere else that's safe … or fun or adventurous."



"I'm an artist, and this is my take on how to build community. I realize now that's my job, to build community."

And from the looks of it, this artist's hope to be a small part of creating more joy and connection and kindness is already working.

I can't wait to see it grow.


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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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One dad is getting attention for the incredibly supportive way he handled his daughter's first period. "So today I got 'The Call,'" Maverick Austin started out a Facebook post that has now gone viral.

The only thing is, Austin didn't know he got "the call." His 13-year-old thought she pooped her pants. At that age, your body makes no sense whatsoever. It's a miracle every time you even think you know what's going on.

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Not everyone thinks that women are tomatoes. This year's CMA Awards celebrated women, and Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles saw the opportunity to bring awareness to this issue and "inspire conversation about country music's need to play more women artists on radio and play listings," as Nettles put it on her Instagram. She did it in a uniquely feminine way – by making a fashion statement that also made a statement-statement.

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