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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
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Joy

An artist quietly sketched an elderly woman selling cakes, and her reaction was so pure

A beautiful testament to the power of being seen.

woman being drawn and her smiling face
Samalia Swan/Instagram (used with permission)

A street artist captured a woman's delight at having her picture drawn.

On a planet with nearly 8 billion humans living on it, the uniqueness of every single person feels like a bit of a miracle. And yet here we are, each with a distinct personality and life story made up of our own experiences, perspectives, relationships and purpose.

We encounter countless other people during our lifetimes, some of whom we build bonds with and some of whom are just split-second flashes in our line of vision. And then there are occasional precious moments of connection with a perfect stranger, the mysterious magic that happens when two people share a brief interaction that makes a mark in our memories forever.

This is one of those moments.


Artist Samalia Swan was strolling the Saturday night market on Thailand's Koh Phangan island when she saw a sweet, elderly woman selling banana cakes. She sat down across the way and surreptitiously sketched a picture of her.

After approaching the stand and buying one of her banana cakes, Swan gave the woman the picture she drew. Her reaction is sheer surprise and delight—a true testament to the power of being seen.

Watch:

There's something about watching a face that has lived a long life light up, isn't there? The video has been viewed over 18 million times on Instagram, with nearly 2 million likes and over 15,000 comments. People loved seeing the joy in her face and the way she kissed both the money and the drawing with such tenderness.

"How do I buy all the banana cakes?" asked one person.

"Warning should have been 'onions cutting in progress,'" wrote another.

"I don’t think some people understand how powerful it is to make others feel seen," shared another. "You definitely made her day and she’s going to remember that for a long time."

Someone else wrote, "I love kind humans doing kind human things. It makes my eyes tear up and my heart feel like bursting."

"This is so precious," offered another. "Her smile and loving old eyes. She was so surprised. Elders need a purpose and these banana cakes are her purpose.❤️"

People asked if there was a way to raise funds for the woman so she didn't have to work, but others pointed out that she might actually enjoy selling her cakes at the market once a week. Others said it looks like she could have issues with her eyes that could be solved with a simple surgery. Swan shared that she's going to visit again with the woman and find out more about what needs, if any, she has.

"My mission is to spread LOVE & KINDNESS to this beautiful world we live in," Swan wrote on Instagram, and she does that by using her art to show people their own beauty.

"It all began four years ago when I picked up a pen and sketched a stranger in a café," she shared. "The act of giving away that drawing brought me immense joy – a joy of unconditional giving. Since then, drawing strangers has become my cherished hobby, and I do so with the sole intention of giving.✨"

Even if nothing more comes of her interaction with woman selling banana cakes, this beautiful example of human connection is one that Swan, the woman and the millions who witnessed it will remember and cherish.

You can follow Samalia Swan on Instagram.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Photo via Canva, @WhattheADHD/Twitter

The 'bionic reading' font is designed to help keep you focused and read faster.

Reading is a fundamental tool of learning for most people, which is why it's one of the first things kids learn in school and why nations set literacy goals.

But even those of us who are able to read fluently might sometimes struggle with the act of reading itself. Perhaps we don't read as quickly as we wish we could or maybe our minds wander as our eyes move across the words. Sometimes we get to the end of a paragraph and realize we didn't retain anything we just read.

People with focus or attention issues can struggle with reading, despite having no actual reading disabilities. It can be extremely frustrating to want to read something and have no issues with understanding the material, yet be unable to keep your mind engaged with the text long enough to get "into" what you're reading.


But what if there were a font that could help you stay focused? That could help you not only read faster but better retain what you've just read?

That's what the creators of Bionic Reading claim is possible with their font tool."Bionic Reading revises texts so that the most concise parts of words are highlighted," the Swiss company's website reads. "This guides the eye over the text and the brain remembers previously learned words more quickly."

Give it a try:

@WhattheADHD/Twitter

The gist is that our eyes don't need to focus on the entire word because our brains can fill in the rest for us. By bolding the first part of the word, we're more quickly able to move from word to word.

"Bionic Reading aims to play a supporting role in the absorption of volume text," states the website. "We see technological progress as an opportunity for all those who want to increase the pleasure of reading in a noisy and hectic world in a focused way and without distraction."

While there are no studies cited on this method of reading, there are plenty of anecdotes about it being helpful. The example shared by @WhattheADHD on Twitter got people's attention and many people responded with enthusiasm at how much easier the bionic reading text was for them to read.

"This is amazing! I have ADHD and I didn’t even realize that I was having trouble fixating when I read," wrote one person. "My eye latches right on to the bold face. Can’t wait to try reading a book again. It’s been all audiobooks for a while."

"It's incredible how reading this feels like finally unlocking 100% of your brain," wrote another.

@juanbius/Twitter

However, not everyone was impressed or thrilled with the sample. Some people said that they had a harder time reading the bionic text or that it distracted or slowed them down. Both positive and negative responses came from a diverse pool of people. Some who described themselves as neurodivergent said that they loved it and some said it was harder. The same went for people who said they were neurotypical, so it's hard to say who this tool may specifically help the most. Everyone's brains work differently, and different people will find different things helpful.

Bionic reading might be a game-changer for some, but it's not the only tool of its kind. There are speed-reading programs that train you to stop reading each word and allow your brain to read visually instead of auditorily. There are also various methods of making reading easier by adjusting how your eyes move across the text.

For instance, check out this "space reading" technique:

@uxjavi/Twitter

Bionic Reading has a free text converter on its website that you can use to try out its font changes. A YouTube clip from the company also shows possibilities for how the font can be adjusted to individual preferences, making more or less of the initial letters bolded.

And again, if this doesn't work for you, then it's probably not made for you. For people who struggle with reading, something like Bionic Reading could make a huge difference.

Three cheers for technology being used to help people overcome difficulties and make learning easier and more efficient.


This article originally appeared on 5.30.22.

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Rick Astley rocking his Foo Fighters 'Everlong' cover.

Rick Astley has to be the luckiest '80s musician on the planet. The whole "Rickrolling" phenomenon has given his hit song "Never Gonna Give You Up" a reach far beyond its natural life span, and kept the guy a household name far longer than he probably would have been.

(For those who are unfamiliar, Rickrolling is when you make someone think they're being sent to a website, but the link goes to Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" video instead as a joke. It's a silly viral bait-and-switch gag that's been going since 2006.)

But what people may not realize, because his most famous song has become an internet joke, is that Rick Astley is actually a really freaking great musician. The man can saaaang and it seems he's only gotten better with age.



If you were to choose the most unlikely combo of musical mashups, it might just be Rick Astley and Foo Fighters. Right? Like who would put them together?

Oddly enough, they put themselves together in 2017, when Foo Fighters brought Astley on stage during a concert to sing "Never Gonna Give You Up." Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl even created his own Rickroll-inspired meme, the Dave G'Roll, with the band's song "Best of You." So there's a history there.

But nothing has been more surprising than hearing Rick Astley do an acoustic cover of Foo Fighters' "Everlong." It's so good. Like, so good.

Not to knock Rick Astley of the 1980s, but that strangely deep voice on a young man was sort of his signature thing. Ergo, you'd think it would be easy to recognize Astley's voice no matter what he was singing. But you'd be wrong. If you close your eyes and listen to this, you'd likely never guess it was Rick Astley.

Maybe it's because the song itself isn't something you expect from the "Never Gonna Give You Up" guy. Maybe it's because you had no idea that Rick Astley was still making music. Who knows. All I know is that my jaw dropped watching him knock out an awesome version of a grungey rock song with just his voice and acoustic guitar.

Seriously, that was amazing, right? Even hardcore Foo Fighters fans gave Astley props in the comments:

"As a huge Foo Fighters fan, all I can say is this cover didn't let me down."

"Tbh I could listen to a whole album of Rick Astley doing grunge covers."

"Are you kidding me?????? That voice from the 80's... And one of the greatest numbers of all times.... Didn't think you could pull that of.... But you did..... Respect to you Rick."

And, of course, some had to make jokes:

"I love this cover. It feels like the singer is never going to give you up or never gonna let you down. He doesn't run around and desert you. He will never make you cry and never say goodbye. He doesn't tell a lie and hurt you. I think that is special."

"This guy should stop making memes and stick to music! He’s got talent!"

"I’m glad he’s never given up. This did not let me down."

But this comment perhaps best summed up what most of us walked away thinking:

"God now I feel bad that we've ridden on Rick Rolling for so long that we missed the part where Rick Astley is actually a badass musician..."


This article first appeared on 4.4.22.

Friendship

American coworkers surprise grieving Māori man with haka after he missed family funeral

He was stuck in America for his grandmother's funeral so his friends brought New Zealand to the states.

Representative photo Gary Stockbridge|Get Archive

American friends learn haka for grieving Māori man

It's not easy living away from family, especially when you live in a completely different country. The distance can become increasingly more difficult to adjust to when tragedy strikes your family back home. It can be cost prohibitive to fly back home and depending on your employer's attendance policy, it may be nearly impossible.

Jarom Ngakuru recently faced this very situation. The New Zealander of Māori descent is living in the United States while his family still resides in his home country. Unfortunately, when Ngakuru's grandmother died, he was unable to make the trip back to the island to give his proper goodbye.

Not being able to attend his grandmother's funeral left him sad and broken. He wanted nothing more than to be there with his family. Ngakuru's friends knew how important it was for him to send his grandmother off properly so the group of American colleagues worked in secret to learn the haka.


Haka is a traditional dance performed by Māori people for important events like weddings, funerals, and significant life events as a sign of respect. The dance has been known to bring viewers to tears, and this haka is doing the same. Not just because of the haka itself, but because of everything that went into a group of American men learning a dance from another culture to honor their friend and his grandmother.

Ngakuru uploaded the video to his TikTok page with the caption, "Hardest part about living in America is that we live so far away. I couldn't make it home for my nan's funeral and I was BROKEN! So my boys at work learned the haka without me knowing and brought home to me."

See why commenters could not stop crying below:

@jaromngakuru

Hardest part about living in america 🇺🇸 is that we live so far away. I couldnt make it home for my nans funeral and i was BROKEN! so my boys at work learned the haka without me knowing and brought home to me 🇳🇿🏠 #haka #grateful #maori #newzealand #brothers #fyp #foryou

"I don't think they even understand how beautiful of an act this is," one person writes.

"There is so much depth of emotion attached to the Haka I uncontrollably cry every time. This was beautiful," another says.

"Well I'm sobbing like a baby in my office now," a commenter reveals.

"You can feel the mana [spiritual power] and the aroha [love]they have for you they know your mamae [hurt], what a beautiful tribute to you and our culture. Arohanui [deep affection] for your loss," someone else writes.

Ngakuru explains in the comments that it's his brother-in-law, who is Tongan, leading the chant. He is also the one that taught their friends the haka in a single day. What an impressive show of love for their grieving friend. There's no doubt that Ngakuru will remember this for the rest of his life.

Google Maps/Apple Maps

Which map app is the best for what uses?

Those of us of a certain age remember asking for directions and keeping two-inch thick road atlases in our cars to find our way around. Then with the internet came the miracle of Mapquest, followed by the how-did-we-ever-live-without-this GPS systems you could attach to your dashboard.

Then smartphones kicked the road trip game up a notch with map apps that not only give up step-by-step directions but also real-time traffic conditions and the ability to find a gas station or restaurant with gluten-free options along your route. Even those of us who grew up with paper maps struggle to recall how we ever got anywhere before Google Maps.


Now we're so deep into the map app era that we're past the wow stage and into the nit-picky stage. It's no longer good enough to have a handheld computer tell us how to get someplace in real time. Now we have expectations, preferences, opinions and complaints. We also have data and anecdotes with which to compare different apps and discuss which ones do what best.

And hoo boy do people have thoughts on that front.

Former Uber employee Flo Crivello shared some info on X about the analysis they did with three of the most popular map apps—Google Maps, Apple Maps and Waze—using a dataset with millions of trips.

The big winner? Apple Maps.

Google came in second, and Waze was a distant third (worst "by far").

"The research also included which apps people *thought* was worse, and the order came in the exact opposite order," Crivello shared. "We understood why Apple Maps got a bad rap given how bad it was at launch — it rapidly got better, but the brand stuck. Waze was more of a mystery, and we ended up realizing that people thought its routes were best because it was exposing them to so much info on traffic, construction, police presence etc… Everyone thinks they want a minimalist UI, but in practice, when they see all this info, they subconsciously conclude 'wow, these guys really have their sh*t together' — even when the routes were actually the worst ones."

Crivello said the results "may be shocking," presumably because Apple Maps started with the worst reputation. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook famously apologized for Apple Maps in 2012 and recommended people use Google Maps instead.

However, in the years since, Apple Maps has redeemed itself while Google Maps has lost a bit of its initial luster. Then Waze came along, which people in cities with variable traffic touted as more accurate for timing and real-time updates, becoming some people's favorite. But according to his data eight years ago, Apple was the winner.

Do those results still hold? Some people in the replies said Google Maps was the best, hands down, while other said they preferred Apple or Waze.

It might depend on where you live and what you look for in a map app (and whether you even have access to Apple Maps). Discussions about these apps abound, with some common threads throughout. Many people agree that the U.S. is where Apple Maps shines, but Google Maps works better abroad. Apple Maps offers more natural navigation directions, such as "Not at this stop sign, but at the next one, turn right," instead of Google Maps' assumption that everyone knows how far 300 feet is. Google maps has great searchability and is easier to check reviews of places compared to Apple Maps. So opinions might vary on "best" depending on what you're using it for.

Waze has loyal users and people who love to joke about where it reroutes you when there's traffic.

These are not the only three map apps available, either. People who travel internationally and use public transportation seem partial to the CityMapper app, which makes finding train and bus routes simple with a user-friendly interface, so again, a lot depends on why you're using the app in the first place.

As far as popularity goes, Google Maps boasts a whopping 1 billion monthly users. While Apple Maps usage doesn't have any hard numbers, there is data that shows younger generations are partial to iPhones, on which Apple Maps is a native app, so its usage may be growing.

What's your experience? Which map app do you prefer?

Toddler's bedtime prayer includes adorable demands for pizza

Toddlers can be hilarious. They're learning the world around them while simultaneously acting as if they've got it all figured out. There's nothing like arguing with a tiny version of yourself whose pants are on backwards and inside out. But even with all their sass, they're mostly filled with adorable moments.

Caroline Victoria uploaded a video to her social media page of her toddler daughter saying her bedtime prayers. The little girl is wearing a pink satin bonnet laying on the bed with a sweet grin on her face as her mom starts prayer. Since the girl is just a toddler she is only contributing one word responses for the things she's thankful for.

That tiny toddler voice only makes the answers even cuter. Caroline starts off by saying, "dear Lord, thank you for," then she pauses waiting for the little girl's response. She's off to a pretty solid start by being thankful for her brother, Brandon and her mommy but things quickly take an interesting turn.


Caroline starts her off again, "thank you for?" The response was no longer a person in the house. This baby was thankful for pizza and she didn't think her mom was taking her gratitude for the cheesy delicious meal seriously. You hear her mom laughing behind the camera before asking her again what she was thankful for.

If you thought the answer was going to change, you don't know how much she appreciates pizza. The little girl rattled off pizza at least five more times in a row to make sure her point was taken proving to be a bit too much for Caroline who can be heard squeaking with laugher in the background.

Watch her request below:

Commenters can't seem to get over how adorably hilarious the little girl is.

"She is a little comedian and a beauty," one person writes.

"Too precious!! She grateful for her Pizza.. Amen," another says.

"She didn't add you in the prayer ma'am.She said her brother, me , and pizza.She didn't say "mummy." Go get your prayers somewhere else," someone jokes.

"I'm with her Pizza is definitely something to be thankful for all the time," another person declares.

Let's all hope mom answers this little girl's prayers and order some pizza. It's clear that pizza is a top priority for her and until she has it her little brain will not be able to move on to pray for other things.