Donald Trump has an Adopt-a-Highway. I walked down it. Here's what I found.

If there's one thing we know about Donald Trump, it's that he likes to put his name on things.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.


Trump Tower, Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Vodka, Trump Shuttle. Trump Steaks, Trump University — the Trump portfolio is vast and varied indeed.

Whose casino is this again? Photo by Jewel Samad/Getty Images.

But even under the harsh, unforgiving spotlight of a presidential campaign, one Trump brand has mostly flown under the radar: Trump Highway.

Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

Apparently, Donald Trump was so taken with the the two-mile stretch of the southbound side of Manhattan's Henry Hudson Parkway that runs past Trump Place Apartments that he up and adopted it.

Which means it's basically one of his children now.

And if there's another thing that's manifestly true about The Donald, it's that he loves his children (sometimes, perhaps, a little too much).

What happens when a man whose name is synonymous with "class" decides to stamp his name on a short stretch of previously unassuming parkway?

With his reputation and brand on the line, how could it not be glitzy? How could it not be beautiful? How could it not be the cleanest, shiniest, classiest road in America?

I decided to see for myself.

What a lovely place for a stroll. Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

It's not particularly walkable, but hey, it's not too far from where I live, so I figured what the heck. I'll dodge a few Miatas to take a look.

What I found was a great highway. The best highway. The winningest highway. Exactly the sort of pristine, well-manicured thoroughfare you'd expect from a man dedicated to providing the world's most elegant driving experience.

A beaut! Photo via iStock.

Just kidding. I found a shitload of trash.

Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

Roughly 75 pieces, after walking only about one-tenth of the length of it.

These are the top 23. The best pieces of trash. The classiest pieces of trash.

1. A sock in a tree.

Trump highway features only the most luxurious socks in only the branchiest trees. Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

2. Half of a credit card.

Cash only, baby. Ring-a-ding-ding. Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

3. A bag from Tory Burch.

The best shopping bags. The emptiest bags. The most sideways bags! Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

4. A hubcap.

Whoever said a hubcap is best when attached to your car was an idiot. On Trump Highway, we fill them with leaves and sticks and bury them in a dirt pile for several weeks. Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

5. Bangladeshi chicken crackers.

Folks, when Trump is president, there will be no more of these savory poultry snacks entering the U.S. until we find out what's going on. Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

6. A Visa gift card sleeve.

Trump's empty gift card wrappers have won dozens of awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

7. A cigar wrapper.

Cigars, boys. Cigars! Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

8. Another cigar wrapper.

Cigars for everyone! Come and get 'em! Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

9. Another cigar wrapper.

An excessive amount of cigars! Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

10. A box of candy-coated peanuts.

Every driver on Trump Highway is treated to America's absolute favorite candy, according to all the polls. Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

11. A bottle of Mike's Hard Pink Lemonade.

Circumvent open container laws by drinking your wine coolers with the cap still on! Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

12. A blue car freshener.

On Trump Highway, your car will be freshened with only the most natural scents. Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

13. An empty bottle of Jose Cuervo.

Choose from our selection of premium ... wait, how did this get over the wall? Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

14. A crushed can of Red Bull.

Free Red Bull with the purchase of two or more Trump Vodka shots. Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

15. A sneaker.


Our tennis courts are #1 in the known universe, including heaven. Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

16. A latex glove with a cigarette butt sticking out of it.

Should you crash through the median, simply pick up the gold courtesy phone and our award-winning medical staff will come to your aid. Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

17. A sheet of Hebrew School homework.

Trump Highway has a great relationship with the Jews. Who doesn't love a bagel with strawberry cream cheese? Classic. Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

18. An old, muddy T-shirt that says "Cramming for Exams."

Each mile driven earns a free credit at Trump U. You may never graduate, but the SWAG is on point. Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

19. A fold-out ad for a furniture store.

You'll be provided with deals! All the deals! Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

20. A portable car ashtray.

We'll even help you quit smoking. Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

21. A single serving of yogurt!

Our continental breakfast is prepared by world-renowned chefs Jacques Pépin, Nobu Matsuhisa, and Jesus! Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

22. An empty box of Trojan Magnum condoms.

No matter how tiny your hands are. Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

23. A Coke with a straw still in it.

Leave your Cokes. Come back and drink 'em later. A+ security here on Trump Highway. Photo by Jon Comulada/Upworthy.

Now, I don't expect the guy to be out there every day picking up used napkins and empty condom boxes with his bare hands.

As much as I'd like to see that — oh boy howdy would I like to see that — Trump is in his 70s and, well, kind of busy these days.

Trash left at a Trump rally in Pennsylvania. Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images.

While the string of roadside garbage certainly doesn't make him or his organization look great, the amount of trash I found isn't necessarily any different or worse than what you'd find on the side of any other urban highway anywhere in America. It's most likely serviced by an outside contractor, per New York City Department of Transportation guidelines.

And honestly, not maintaining his Adopt-a-Highway all that well is, like, probably the 578th most offensive thing about the man (for more on this, see Trump's nonsensical attacks on Mexicans, bigoted fear of Muslims, misogyny, surprisingly aggressive and frequently anti-Semitic white nationalist supporters, and also basically every quality that exists).

Why do 23 pieces of garbage matter this election year? Because Trump insists that his name is synonymous with quality.

Much gold. Very swank. Photo by Timothy A. Clary/Getty Images.

It's a name he claims is responsible for a substantial percentage of his net worth — $3 billion, to be precise. It's a name that allows him to declare himself a runaway success at business. He professes to be able to do for the country what he's done for the products that bear his name.

It's the reason he wants us to let him run the United States of America.

And he went and stamped it on an Adopt-a-Highway that is, like, pretty filthy.

In this way, Trump Highway actually fits right in with the rest of the Trump business model. Like Trump Steaks, which are reportedly terrible, Trump Shuttle, which failed, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, which went bankrupt, or Trump University, which is under investigation for scamming students.

Individually, each one is a blip. But added together, they make you think...

Is Donald Trump really the results-driven, cut-no-corners, spare-no-expense, ultra-competent manager that he claims to be?

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Or does he just play one on TV?

Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images.


Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
True

In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love 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!

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

True

The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Chris Evans is playing the lead role in the upcoming Pixar film "Lightyear."

Chris Evans was already skilled at squeezing hearts on social media, cavalierly sharing sweet pics of his adorable dog and piano-playing videos on Instagram, as if we could just casually watch him be a near-perfect man without swooning. And now he's being even more delightful with his gushing giddiness over getting to play his dream role.

The guy is already best known as the studly Marvel superhero Captain America, so what could possibly top that? Pixar, apparently. Evans' ultimate acting dream is being in a Pixar movie. And now that dream is coming true, the most eligible of the Chrises could not be cuter in his expressions of joy.

Sharing the new trailer for "Lightyear"—Pixar's origin story about the astronaut the Buzz Lightyear toy was based on in the "Toy Story" universe—Evans wrote on Twitter:

"I'm covered in goosebumps. And will be every time I watch this trailer. Or hear a Bowie song. Or have any thought whatsoever between now and July cause nothing has ever made me feel more joy and gratitude than knowing I'm a part of this and it's basically always on my mind."

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The Schmidt family's Halloween photoshoot has become an annual tradition.

Two of Patti Schmidt's three sons were already well into adulthood when her daughter Avery was born, and the third wasn't far behind them. Avery, now 5, has never had the pleasure of close-in-age sibling squabbles or gigglefests, since Larry, Patrick and Gavin are 28, 26 and 22, respectively—but that doesn't mean they don't bond as a family.

According to People.com, Patti calls her sons home to Point Pleasant, New Jersey, every fall for a special Halloween photoshoot with Avery. And the results are nothing short of epic.

The Schmidt family started the tradition in 2017 with the boys dressing as the tinman, the scarecrow and the cowardly lion from "The Wizard of Oz." Avery, just a toddler at the time, was dressed as Dorothy, complete with adorable little ruby slippers.

The following year, the boys were Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Chewbacca, and Avery was (of course) Princess Leia.

In 2019, they did a "Game of Thrones" theme. ("My husband and I were binge-watching [Game of Thrones], and I thought the boys as dragons would be so funny," Schmidt told TODAY.)

In 2020, they went as Princess Buttercup, Westley, Inigo Montoya and Fezzik from "The Princess Bride."

Patti shared a video montage of each year's costume shoot—with accompanying soundtracks—on Instagram and TikTok. Watch:

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