After harassing people celebrating Pride their boat burst into flames. Guess who saved them?

Harassing people is gross, no matter who they are. Harassing people who are flying rainbow flags expressing support for LGBTQIA+ people is particularly gross, considering the fact they are advocating for basic civil rights and human dignity. And evidently, harassing people who are flying Pride flags while boating is egregiously gross enough to piss off Poseidon and bring the heavy hammer of karma down upon your heads.

Or maybe it's just a coincidence. Either way, this story shows that bigotry is no match for being the bigger person and that even if it ends up being a one-way street, caring about the well-being of our fellow humans is always the right thing to do.

While boating in Moses Lake, Washington last weekend, a group of boaters flying Pride flags found themselves confronted by three people in another boat. At first, they thought perhaps the boaters were coming up to express support for their rainbow flags, but it soon became apparent that wasn't the case. As the boat circled around them, one of the passengers gave the Pride-flag flyers the middle finger, and the boaters allegedly shouted gay slurs as well.

Then the bigots' boat caught fire and the people they were harassing ended up rescuing them after they jumped ship.


The story was told by Robbie on Twitter, who shared photos and video of the incident as well as issuing a statement to The Washington Post.

Robbie, a queer trans man who has withheld his name for fear of retaliation, told The Post that his family had spent the day swimming and tubing on the lake and stopped their boat around 7:00pm. A small vessel sped toward them, then circled around them at least six times, with the woman on the boat flipping them off and yelling something about "gays" and "flags."

When the boat driver noticed that Robbie's brother had started filming them, he tried to hide his face and drove away. Moments later, a loud bang came from the boat, and a plume of black smoke rose into the air.

"Holy crap!" said Robbie's brother. "They blew up!" Then he drove toward the boaters who were swimming away from their burning boat and brought them aboard.

Of course, having your boat catch on fire in the middle of a lake is a terrible thing to have happen. Some might say it's as terrible as having people going out of their way to harass you in the middle of a lake. Karma works in interesting ways.

It would be lovely to be able to share that the harassers had a wake-up call and apologized for their horrible behavior, but alas, they did not.

"The passengers were quite rude, shouting over us, ignoring my [inquiries] about their well-being when on the 911 call and smoking a Vape pen on our boat without even so much as asking if they could; several passengers of our boat have asthma," Robbie told The Post.

Police came to put out the fire, and the bigoted boaters' friends came to pick them up. When they left, they didn't even say 'Thank you" for the rescue.

But there was this little karmic detail to balance out the bad behavior.

Some people have said they just wouldn't have even helped them, while others have pointed out that boaters are required to help boaters in distress as long as it doesn't put their own vessel or passengers in danger. (Which of course begs the question—was it safe for Robbie and family to bring blatantly anti-gay bigots onto their boat?) Regardless, Robbie wrote on Twitter that the boaters were truly hurt and they felt bad for them. Helping them was simply the right thing to do, no matter how they acted before or responded after.

Robbie shared another Tweet two days later showing that they were not going to let the haters get them down.

"Happy Pride Wrath Month!"

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Screenshots via @castrowas95/Twitter

In the Pacific Northwest, orca sightings are a fairly common occurrence. Still, tourists and locals alike marvel when a pod of "sea pandas" swim by, whipping out their phones to capture some of nature's most beautiful and intelligent creatures in their natural habitat.

While orcas aren't a threat to humans, there's a reason they're called "killer whales." To their prey, which includes just about everything that swims except humans, they are terrifying apex predators who hunt in packs and will even coordinate to attack whales several times their own size.

So if you're a human alone on a little platform boat, and a sea lion that a group of orcas was eyeing for lunch jumps onto your boat, you might feel a little wary. Especially when those orcas don't just swim on by, but surround you head-on.

Watch exactly that scenario play out (language warning, if you've got wee ones you don't want f-bombed):

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