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Education

Experienced travelers share their 'Why didn't I think of that?' packing essentials

Ziplocs and rubber bands? A Sharpie with duct tape wrapped around it? Here are some less common travel essentials people swear by.

man packing a suitcase

People who travel a lot have some solid insights into what's essential when packing.

As an Amazon Associate, Upworthy may earn proceeds from items purchased that are linked to this article, at no additional cost to you.

Have you ever been on vacation and realized you need something you wished you'd brought? Unless you travel frequently, it's inevitable that you'll have some packing regrets, either over things you packed that you didn't need or things you didn't pack that would have come in handy.

Someone who was planning a long trip to Southeast Asia asked in the /travel subreddit, "What do you regret bringing or not bringing when you have travelled? (so I can learn from your mistakes lol)" and experienced travelers delivered a goldmine of wisdom from their personal packing lists.

Here's a roundup of some of the most helpful things to bring along on any trip, and the one thing savvy travlers say not to pack.


A Sharpie with duct tape wrapped around it—yes, really

duct tape and a sharpie pen

Duct tape and a Sharpie may not seem like travel essentials, but they are.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

It sounds strange, I know, but Sharpies are always good to have on hand and so is duct tape. (Fixing a broken strap in a pinch, mending an unexpected tear in a bag, using a tiny bit to keep a chip bag closed, stopping the vent from rattling in the hotel room—so many uses.) No one wants to pack an entire roll of duct tape, though, so wrapping a length of it around the Sharpie gives you a usable amount without taking up any precious packing space.

A Ziploc bag full of Ziploc bags and rubber bands

ziploc bags and rubber bands

Ziplocs and rubber bands = no regrets

Annie Reneau

My family recently traveled to Europe, and on our way out the door, I grabbed a handful of Ziplocs and rubber bands, just in case. I've traveled enough to know I always want a Ziploc for something, and the rubber bands were just a whim because they were within eyesight and they weigh almost nothing.

We ended up using every single Ziploc and rubber band I grabbed during our travels. They're useful for so many things. Opened a packet of nuts or chips and want to save what's left? Ziploc or rubber band. Favorite beaded necklace broke and you need a place to keep the beads together so you can fix it when you get home? Ziploc. Your travel lotion lid suddenly leaks after never leaking before? Ziploc. Want to keep track of whose glass is whose in the place your rented? Rubber bands. Bought a fragile souvenir? Wrap it up in a piece of clothing and put a rubber band around it. So many uses.

Universal adapters and extra long charging cables or an extension cord for devices

woman on couch with extra long charger attached to her phone

Having an extra long phone charger makes a big difference.

Amazon

Along with a universal adapter (a must if traveling internationally—take two in case you lose one), it's a good idea to pack an extra-long charging cord for your devices in case electrical outlets are located in inconvenient places. An extension cord works too, but takes up a bit more space and weight in your luggage.

A waterproof bag (aka dry bag) that can be used for multiple purposes

waterproof dry bag

A dry bag can be used for far more than just water adventures.

Amazon

Not only does a waterproof dry bag handy keeping your stuff protected during water adventures, but it's also how you can keep the wet swimsuit you inevitably end up with from touching the rest of your luggage. It can do double duty as a laundry bag and you can even use it as a makeshift washing machine for a few small items you want to wash—just toss in part of a laundry detergent sheet, some water and your clothes, and shake. (These come in a variety of sizes, so decide which size you'll need.)

Laundry detergent sheets

Insogreen laundry detergent sheets

Laundry detergent sheets make travel washing so much easier.

Amazon

At some point in your travels, someone in your party is going to need to wash something, and it's super helpful to have your own detergent on hand. These laundry detergent sheets look like paper, take up practically no room and weight almost nothing, plus no liquid messes to worry about. Just toss a few into a Ziploc bag and you're good to go.

A clothesline—but not just any clothesline

two travel clotheslines

Hang your swimsuit and handwashed laundry up to dry.

Amazon

Theoretically, you could use any kind of string or cord for a clothesline, but these braided ones are ideal for travel for a few reasons. One, the suction cups make it easy to use in a shower. Two, the clips make it easy to use wrapped around poles or trees. Three, the braided cords eliminate the need for clothes pins because you can just tuck a bit of fabric in between the cords to hang things.

A small container of over-the-counter medications and electrolyte/hydration packets

liquid i.v.

It's easy to get dehydrated when traveling and it's not always easy to find OTC medications.

Amazon

Even if you're not someone who usually takes pain reliever or needs extra hydration, traveling can do weird things to your body, especially when you're visiting another country where everything is unfamiliar. Plus, a lot of over-the-counter medications we're used to may not be easy to find elsewhere, and you definitely don't want to be trying to figure out how to find antidiarrheal medicine when you desperately need it. As for electrolytes, people swear by powdered hydration packets like Liquid I.V. for getting over jet lag quicker, but they're also good to carry especially in places that are hotter than you're used to, where it's easy to get dehydrated.

Thin, compact, reusable grocery sacks

reusable grocery sacks

Thin sacks that pack tightly always come in handy.

Amazon

Specifically, ones like these BeeGreen sacks that fold down super tiny, taking up almost no packing space, come in super handy for shopping, laundry, beach, souvenirs and more.

Leave the extra sweater at home

What do people regret bringing? Too many clothes, across the board.

Sometimes it's a matter of being overly prepared, thinking you might need a sweater while you're in Indonesia, only to be met with the reality that it's always a million degrees and a thousand percent humidity there. Sometimes it's a matter of thinking you need more shoes than you do or that it will be harder to wash things than it is. Sometimes it's realizing that you want to buy the cheap, beautiful clothing you find at your destination but don't have room in your luggage to bring them home.

But pretty much everyone who said they regretting bringing anything said clothes. So pack light on the clothing, heed the "must haves" above, and you'll be golden wherever you end up traveling.

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.

Education

12 books that people say are life-changing reads

Some books have the power to change how we see ourselves, the world, and each other.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Books are powerful.

As a participant in the Amazon Associates affiliate program, Upworthy may earn proceeds from items purchased that are linked to this article, at no additional cost to you.


Out of all human inventions, books might just be the greatest. That may be a bold statement in the face of computers, the internet and the international space station, but none of those things would be possible without books. The written recording of human knowledge has allowed our advancements in learning to be passed on through generations, not to mention the capturing of human creativity in the form of longform storytelling.

Books have the power to change our lives on a fundamental level, shift our thinking, influence our beliefs, put us in touch with our feelings and help us understand ourselves and one another better.

That's why we asked Upworthy's audience to share a book that changed their life. Thousands of responses later, we have a list of inspiring reads that rose to the top.


Unsurprisingly, the most common responses were religious scriptures—the Bible, the Quran, the Book of Mormon, etc. Beyond those, here are the most common books, both fiction and non-fiction, that people considered life-changing.

1. "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist book cover

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Amazon

"From the very first page, Coelho's storytelling prowess weaves a tapestry of adventure, wisdom, and self-discovery that is unparalleled. The protagonist's quest for his personal legend resonated deeply with me, prompting introspection into my own aspirations and purpose. The narrative, while seemingly a simple tale, unravels layers of universal truths and timeless wisdom that are applicable to every reader's journey." – Matt Brown

"Such greatness. Coelho tells the story with simplicity and elegance, and it is beautiful. The Alchemist is rhetorical kind of book that stays with you, and demands some time to unfold in your mind. Loved it!" – J. Green

Find "The Alchemist" on Amazon.

2. "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements book cover

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Amazon

"This book literally changed my outlook on so many things. I’ve read it at least three times completely through. It helps deal with anxiety and helps you reframe and analyze your thoughts which may be troubling you. The writing style is great and I’ve already read other books by the same author. Would highly recommend purchasing this if you want to rethink your assumptions about yourself or other people." – Freddy

"By far the best book I’ve read. The simplicity in composition and detail is amazing. Would recommend everyone have a read. This book is truly a masterpiece." – Joshua

Find "The Four Agreements" on Amazon.

3. "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird book cover

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Amazon

"I remember reading the book many years ago and being moved by it especially being from the North and not as familiar with racism. I wondered why some schools were banning it so decided to revisit. I had forgotten the details but it is still an important book and reminds us that the fight against all prejudice is never finished and its current resurgence is cause for concern. This book should be required reading at a pretty young age. We can’t change what we don’t understand. If you have children read it with them and teach them well." – Maria

"I can’t imagine, for the life of me, why this book has been banned. It is the most moral and righteous book I’ve ever read. It represents a time in our history when racism was endemic to the white population except for one compassionate lawyer. Told from his children’s point of view with an unforgettable narrator, the story of a small southern town comes alive." – Peggy

Find "To Kill a Mockingbird" on Amazon.

4. "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now book cover

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Amazon

"This has become a true icon in the book of books on understanding how the mind works and how we become trapped in it. A must read." – Bill C.

"This book helped me through the toughest time in my life. It was an easy read, but ultimately, it helped me open my mind to many things and see things from multiple perspectives. My life coach recommended this book, and I'm happy that she did. It truly did save my life." – Coach J.

Find "The Power of Now" on Amazon.

5. "The Midnight Library" by Matt Haig

The Midnight Library book cover

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Amazon

"I did not expect to enjoy this book so much. I very much admire the writer's prowess in creating a beautiful and inspiring story out of a depressing premise and what I admire even more is the perspective he has given me about life." – Ashish S.

"'The Midnight Library' by Matt Haig is nothing short of a literary masterpiece that effortlessly weaves together the threads of life, regret, and the boundless possibilities that lie in our choices. This No.1 Sunday Times bestseller and worldwide phenomenon is a soul-stirring exploration of the human experience that lingers in the reader's mind long after the final page." – George L.

Find "The Midnight Library" on Amazon.

6. "Atomic Habits" by James Clear

Atomic Habits book cover

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Amazon

"Atomic Habits by James Clear isn't just a book; it's a roadmap to personal excellence. Deserving a resounding 5 out of 5 stars, this masterpiece has profoundly impacted my approach to habit formation and personal development." – Ahamed

"Whether you're looking to break free from destructive habits, achieve ambitious goals, or simply lead a more fulfilling life, this book is a must-read. Clear's insights have the power to ignite change and propel you towards the best version of yourself." – SC

Find "Atomic Habits" on Amazon.

7. "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie book cover

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Amazon

"I wish I had read this book earlier. It teaches to love those in your life with everything you have. We never know when life will take them away. Our parents will continue to age. Our friends will drift away. We will end up driving away the ones we say 'I love you' to. It’s not too late to tell them how much you love them. It’s not too late to show them how much you love them. If you share your love before it’s too late, you won’t live your life with regret." – P.M.

"Mitch Albom is my favorite author. Tuesdays with Morrie did not disappoint. Please please read this book. It is heartwarming, inspirational and will make you do an introspection that will change your priorities. I promise." – A.C.

Find "Tuesdays with Morrie" on Amazon.

8. "Untamed" by Glennon Doyle

Untamed book cover

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Amazon

"By page 16, I’d already sobbed, laughed, sobbed, reconsidered who I am, how I live my life, and what I’m doing next, and cried again. So much fire lit. This is a masterpiece. Thank the universe (and Glennon) it published now. Lord knows we need this now. It is already one of my top favorite books ever, and I read a lot. Like, a LOT." – Anna S.

""Untamed" is a powerful and empowering memoir that delves deep into themes of self-discovery, authenticity, and breaking free from societal expectations. Doyle's writing is raw, honest, and deeply relatable. From the moment I started reading, I felt a connection to her journey and the struggles she navigates. One of the standout qualities of this book is Doyle's ability to articulate complex emotions and thoughts in a way that resonates with readers. Her insights into the expectations placed on women, the constraints of traditional roles, and the journey to reclaiming one's true self are both enlightening and inspiring." – Frank C.

Find "Untamed" on Amazon.

9. "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl

Man's Search for Meaning book cover

Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl

Amazon

"Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl is a poignant exploration of resilience under the most testing conditions. As a Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist, Frankl intertwines his concentration camp experiences with his psychological expertise. Central to the book is the idea of logotherapy, which posits that finding meaning in life is the primary human drive. Frankl's narrative transcends its historical context, offering timeless insights into human endurance and the quest for purpose. The book is especially impactful for those facing personal adversities, as it highlights the power of choice and perspective in shaping one's destiny." – Neal W.

"This little one hundred page book is perhaps the most meaningful and profound that you can ever read. Disturbing, yet full of 'tragic optimism,' this book will change the way you think about life, happiness, and meaning." – Paige T.

Find "Man's Search for Meaning" on Amazon.

10. "The Untethered Soul" by Michael Singer

The Untethered Soul book cover

The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer

Amazon

"Michael A. Singer's "The Untethered Soul" is a literary masterpiece that has left an indelible mark on my journey of self-discovery. I stumbled upon this gem through a TikTok video recommendation, and I am profoundly grateful that I did." – Matt B.

"This book encapsulates every spiritual book I’ve read into a concise oneness! Everyone would benefit in some way by reading this book. Period." – Joe S.

Find "The Untethered Soul" on Amazon.

11. "The Giver" by Lois Lowry

The Giver book cover

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Amazon

"Brought this book since my daughter had to read it for school and I always like to know what are they are teaching her. I am going to be honest very surprise that they are giving this kind of story to a 8th grader since the story is very intense, surprising, sad but at the same time beautiful and teach the real meaning of love and sacrifice. That live in an idealistic world does not work and it's never better than having love in your live." – Marla

"The way Lois slowly introduces us into her idyllic and yet cruel world is simply amazing. The end of the book has left me completely moved and flabbergasted." – Nathan S.

Find "The Giver" on Amazon.

12. "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture book cover

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Amazon

"I’ve read this book twice now. Once at 18 and now again at 33! Both time it hits deep. Fantastic read!" – A.C.

"Professor Randy Pausch was diagnosed with terminal cancer. In response, Pausch wrote and delivered one last lecture--a self-help guide on living life with purpose and meaning. But his lecture wasn't really for his students or for the world, although it's been a massive bestseller. It was for his children.

One of my favorite books of all-time, with one of my favorite lines of all time. 'If I could only give three words of advice, they'd be, 'Tell the truth.' If I got three more, they'd be, 'All the time.' --Randy Pausch" – Phil W.

Find "The Last Lecture" on Amazon.

If you enjoy inspiring reads, our upcoming book, "Upworthy—GOOD PEOPLE: Stories From the Best of Humanity" features 101 stories of human decency and is now available for pre-order! Learn more here.

Good people book cover

GOOD PEOPLE: Stories From the Best of Humanity

books.disney.com

This article originally appeared on 2.19.24

Why Your Next Mattress Should Be Latex, Not Memory Foam

The 100% organic mattress is made from sustainable materials and you can try it risk-free for 100 nights.

Do you ever feel like you’re on an eternal quest for good sleep? Have you tried everything from sleep masks and white noise machines to weighted blankets and herbal supplements? If so, it’s probably time to reconsider the most obvious element of good sleep: your mattress. Of course, when it comes to mattresses, for years memory foam has been the top choice for comfort. But today consumers want something that is more sustainable and healthy. And for that reason, more and more are turning to the Peace Lily Latex Mattress, a game-changer in the world of sleep. This 100% organic marvel doesn’t just deliver superior comfort; it does so without using any of the toxic chemicals that are bad for your health and the planet. Want to hear more about how you can get a better night’s sleep and help the planet at the same time? Then let’s talk about why you should choose latex over memory foam.

The Problem with Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses, while cozy at first cuddle, come with a long list of not-so-cozy problems. Ever wake up in the middle of the night feeling like you're sleeping on a radiator? That's heat retention for you, a notorious trait of memory foam that turns your bed into a sauna. Do you often find yourself waking up with the morning sniffles or headaches that just won't quit? You may assume that this is natural, but it’s often a silent signal of off-gassing—the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the synthetic materials memory foam beds are famous for.

But it's not just about uncomfortable nights or mysterious sniffles. The environmental toll of these synthetic materials is hefty, contributing to our planet's growing pile of non-biodegradable waste. As we become more aware of our ecological footprint, the choice of mattress becomes more than a personal comfort issue; it's a health and environmental decision. Switching from memory foam to a more sustainable option like natural latex isn't just good for your sleep; it's a step towards a healthier planet.

The Peace Lily Latex Difference

Latex mattresses are in a league of their own when it comes to combining comfort, durability, and health. Unlike their memory foam counterparts, latex doesn't trap heat. Instead, latex lets you enjoy a cool, serene slumber thanks to its open-cell structure that promotes air circulation. This means you can say goodbye to those sweaty wake-up calls. Plus, the inherent durability of natural latex ensures that your mattress remains supportive and sag-free, offering an unwavering comfort that lasts for decades, not just years.

Of course, while latex is fantastic, not all latex mattresses are created equal. What makes the Peace Lily Latex Mattress stand out is the fact that it is made of 100% sustainable, certified organic, non-toxic materials. We’re talking inner foam layers made from GOLS certified organic latex with sustainably sourced rubber sap; a cover and handles made from high-density organic cotton for a soft, cloud-like feel; and batting made from GOTScertified organic New Zealand wool for plush, breathable luxury.

To top it all off, Peace Lily is embarking on the world’s first regenerative latex program focused on recovering degraded soil using specialized agroforestry practices. With new estimates saying that in 60 years all of the topsoil in the world will disappear, this makes a real difference! Every single element and sourcing process is thoughtfully chosen for its sustainability, lack of off-gassing, and luxury comfort, ensuring you breathe clean air and reduce your carbon footprint while you sleep soundly.

The Greener Option

So what does sustainably sourced latex actually mean? The Peace Lily Latex Mattress is produced by tapping rubber trees in a way that allows them to continue growing, and thus continue absorbing carbon dioxide. In that way, every single mattress becomes part of a larger, greener cycle.

But the environmental benefits of this particular Peace Lily mattress don’t just stop at production. Sleeping on a mattress free from the toxic chemical cocktail found in many non-organic options means you're resting in a cleaner, healthier space every night. The Peace Lily Latex Mattress boasts non-toxic, antimicrobial, and hypoallergenic properties, thanks to its natural latex and organic wool. These materials naturally resist dust mites, mold, and mildew, ensuring a sneeze-free, breathable sleep environment. With prestigious certifications like GOLS, GOTS, OEKO-TEX, and eco-INSTITUT® to back up these claims, you get the assurance that you're sleeping on a mattress that meets the highest standards of environmental and health safety.

Peace Lily, Here for a Good Time and a Long Time

Worried that the Peace Lily Latex Mattress won’t be right for you? Don’t be. For starters, the Peace Lily Latex Mattress is a flippable mattress with two different firmness levels. One side is medium, the other is firm. And if you want something a little softer or firmer you can add a Peace Lily mattress topper for a fully customized sleep. But even if you try all that and you still don’t like the Peace Lily, that’s cool too, because they offer a zero-risk 100-night trial! Sleep on it, dream on it, and if you don't absolutely love it, they’ll take it back and give you a full refund.

The Peace Lily Latex Mattress ships free, arriving at your doorstep compressed in a box, ready to expand into the bed of your dreams, all over the United States. No extra fees, no hidden costs — just pure, unadulterated comfort waiting to unfold in your bedroom. And it all comes with a 25-year limited warranty so you can feel confident investing in your sleep and health. This mattress is built to last and Peace Lily backs that up with this amazing warranty.

Better Sleep, Better Planet

If you’re looking for the perfect night’s sleep, ditch the environmentally disastrous memory foam and go with natural latex instead. The Peace Lily Latex Mattress offers 100% organic materials and customizable firmness levels, plus cooling sleep, unbelievable durability, and antimicrobial benefits, so you get better sleep and a cleaner planet. If you want to improve your sleep, general health, and contribution to the environment - this is the best investment you can make!

Click here to order your Peace Lily Latex Mattress today. From what we’ve found we think you’ve got nothing to lose, and the entire planet has something to gain.

Joy

'90s kid shares the 10 lies that everyone's parent told them

"Don't swallow that gum. If you do, it'll take 7 years to come out."

via 90sKid4lyfe/TikTok (used with permission)

90sKidforLife shares 10 lies everyone's parents told in the era.


Children believe everything their parents tell them. So when parents lie to prevent their kids to stop them from doing something dumb, the mistruth can take on a life of its own. The lie can get passed on from generation to generation until it becomes a zombie lie that has a life of its own.

Justin, known as 90sKid4Lyfe on TikTok and Instagram, put together a list of 10 lies that parents told their kids in the ‘90s, and the Gen X kids in the comments thought it was spot on.


“Why was I told EVERY ONE of these?” Brittany, the most popular commenter, wrote. “I heard all of these plus the classic ‘If you keep making that face, it will get stuck like that,’” Amanda added. After just four days of being posted, it has already been seen 250,000 times.

Parents were always lying #90s #90skids #parenting

@90skid4lyfe

Parents were always lying #90s #90skids #parenting

Here are Justin’s 10 lies '90s parents told their kids:

1. "You can't drink coffee. It'll stunt your growth."

2. "If you pee in the pool, it's gonna turn blue."

3. "Chocolate milk comes from brown cows."

4. "If you eat those watermelon seeds, you'll grow a watermelon in your stomach."

5. "Don't swallow that gum. If you do, it'll take 7 years to come out."

6. "I told you we can't drive with the interior light on. ... It's illegal."

7. "Sitting that close to the TV is going to ruin your vision."

8. "If you keep cracking your knuckles, you're gonna get arthritis."

8. "You just ate, you gotta wait 30 minutes before you can swim."

10. "If you get a tattoo, you won't find a job."

Tony Trapani discovers a letter his wife hid from him since 1959.

Tony Trapani and his wife were married for 50 years despite the heartache of being unable to have children. "She wanted children,” Trapani told Fox 17. "She couldn't have any. She tried and tried." Even though they endured the pain of infertility, Tony's love for his wife never wavered and he cherished every moment they spent together.

After his wife passed away when Tony was 81 years old, he undertook the heartbreaking task of sorting out all of her belongings. That’s when he stumbled upon a carefully concealed letter in a filing cabinet hidden for over half a century.

The letter was addressed to Tony and dated March 1959, but this was the first time he had seen it. His wife must have opened it, read it and hid it from him. The letter came from Shirley Childress, a woman Tony had once been close with before his marriage. She reached out, reminiscing about their past and revealing a secret that would change Tony's world forever.


"Dear Tony, I bet you are surprised to hear from me after so many years. I was just thinking about you tonight like so many other nights. But I thought I would write you and find out how you are," the letter reads. "Tony, please don't be angry or surprised to hear this. I have a little boy. He is five-years- old now - grey eyes and beautiful black hair. What I am trying to say Tony is he is your son."

"Please, Tony if you can find it in your heart to forgive me, please come and see him," Shirley wrote in the letter. "Every day he asks me where is his daddy and believe me Tony I can't even answer him anymore. If would be forever grateful to you if you would just see him. ... I'll close now hoping and praying you will answer. P.S. His name is Samuel Duane."

Now, Tony faced the fact that he had a son that would be around 60 years old and he set out to find him. For over a year, Trapani’s sister tried to track down the mysterious Samuel Duane Childress, until she finally contacted his wife, Donna.

Tony and Samuel met in January 2015 and he felt like a new dad. After meeting his father, Samuel said his mother told him she sent the letter, but Tony never responded. "Why my wife didn't tell me," said Trapani. "I don't know. She wanted children. She couldn't have any. She tried and tried."

"I always asked my mom, I said, 'Well what does he look like?'' Samuel said. "She said, 'Well, go look in the mirror."

The two met and caught up on a lifetime of memories with the understanding that they could never change the past. "Just to know him now is so important to me. It's going to fill that void," Samuel said. But just to be sure, Tony took a paternity test to ensure they were father and son.

The test came back negative, revealing that Tony was not the father. The news upset Tony and Samuel, but they still had a unique bond. They shared a relationship with Samuel’s mother and both have been on an incredibly wild ride after Tony found the mysterious letter.

“They're keeping that bond,” Donna said. “That paper doesn't mean anything to him. That bond has been made—and we're going to move on from here.”


This article originally appeared on 2.23.24

Health

Self-defense expert shares 'Ted Bundy rule' to protect women from men who appear harmless

"This is important because dangerous people use this tactic to lure victims into compromising situations."

Ted Bundy in a 1980 Florida Department of Corrections inmate ID photo and Self-checkouts in Lidl discount in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland.

Katie Ring, known on social media as The.Self.Defense.Girl, recently shared a success story on TikTok after a woman followed her “Ted Bundy Rule.” The big takeaway from the story is that even when people appear harmless, it could all be a clever rouse to put you in extreme danger.

Ring is a self-defense instructor, martial artist and former D1 athlete who started her TikTok and Instagram profiles (@the.self.defense.girl) after a man assaulted twenty women in San Francisco and had still not been arrested.

"One self-defense rule I want every woman and child to remember is what I call the Ted Bundy rule,” Ring shared on TikTok. “That is, if a grown man needs help, he's typically going to ask another man and not a woman or a child. So, if a grown man asks you for help, I want you to question why he's asking for your help in particular."


One of RIng’s followers heard her share the rule in the past and put it to good use after someone sketchy asked her for help at 10 p.m. in a grocery store. At the self-check-out, a man on crutches asked her to help him carry his groceries to his truck. She said no to the man because she thought it was "weird" he asked her instead of a male employee.

@the.self.defense.girl

One of the most important self-defense rules if you are a woman or a child, is if a grown man is asking for your help, always question why. Obviously not everyone has bad intentions, but your safety is more important than someone elses feelings! . #selfdefense #safety #safetytips #womensselfdefense #tiptok #tedbundy #fyp #foryou #viral #greenscreen

“Exactly like she said, the guy could have had no bad intentions, but as women and children, we just can't take that risk," Ring said. "This is the exact tactic that Ted Bundy used to lure his victims. He would have a cast or crutches and ask women to help him to his car, where he would proceed to knock them out, kidnap them and unalive them."

Ted Bundy was a serial killer in the mid-’70s who was known for hiding behind his good looks, intelligence and clean-cut image to murder at least 30 women. One of the tactics he used to lure women was to feign injury by using crutches, wearing casts or arm slings and asking women for help taking things to his car.

On one such occasion, after dropping books in front of Georgeann Hawkins at the University of Washington, Bundy convinced her to return them to his car. As she bent over to place the books in his seat, he hit her in the head with a crowbar.

The video was a great reminder for women everywhere to be cautious when a strange man asks them for help, especially when other men are around. Some people may feel uncomfortable saying no to someone asking for help. But the commenters shared why that should be the last of their worries. "The thing is, if he had no bad intentions and is a nice guy, he won't mind you saying no. If he gets angry, he wasn't a good guy," one commenter wrote.

Another commenter suggested if a woman finds herself in that position at a grocery store, they grab an employee to help the person bring the groceries to their car. “Smart move! Ima say, ‘sure thing! Let me grab an employee for ya!’” a commenter wrote.

Ultimately, being safe means being assertive and telling people no. But that’s a lot easier than following their wishes and winding up in extreme danger.

"So remember, your safety is more important than anyone else's feelings,” Ring concluded the video.