Flight attendant shares a tearful message on her last flight before being furloughed

The human cost of the coronavirus pandemic can be measured in many ways. Illness and death top the list, of course, but the mental, emotional, and economic toll must be acknowledged as well. Though the woefully inconsistent and inadequate U.S. response has led to far more suffering than necessary, and although better control of the pandemic would have saved us from a lot of it, some struggles were inevitable.

One industry that was going to be hit hard one way or the other is the airline industry. With people being advised to stay home and avoid close proximity with others, especially in enclosed spaces, airplane travel has been out. And seven months in, the ongoing hit has become unsustainable. As of October 1, 40,000 airline employees have been furloughed.

One flight attendant's heartfelt farewell as she crewed her final flight has been shared by ABC's Sam Sweeney, and phew, it's a doozy. She holds back tears as she explains how American Airlines has been forced to reduce flights, which has resulted in job cuts and how much she has loved working as a flight attendant.


After thanking the passengers and the airline for the opportunity to "see this big world" and to make lifelong friendships—having to take a few breaks to compose herself as she was speaking—she called on everyone to practice kindness and compassion toward one another. It's a heart-wrenching clip that puts a human face on the economic toll the pandemic has taken.

Some efforts have been made to avoid such job losses. Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio attempted to pass a bill in the House to save those jobs—an extension of the Payroll Relief Program from the CARES Act—but it was blocked by the GOP. DeFazio gave an impassioned speech decrying the block.

"Flight attendants, they don't get paid a heck of a lot of money," he said. "Pilots—yeah, they do well. Mechanics, gate agents, tens of thousands of those people have been furloughed as of yesterday. They've lost their jobs, they've lost their healthcare, some of them are going to lose their homes. They don't know how they're going to make ends meet, feed their kids, or do anything else, all because the Republicans in the House of Representatives would not agree, and the Republicans in the Senate will not agree to a larger package that contains these provisions. These are vital provisions, they're time-sensitive, but the larger package would provide relief to tens of millions of Americans—the HEROES package would extend healthcare to people who've lost it, the HEROES package would extend unemployment to people who've lost it, the HEROES package would send out individual checks, the HEROES package would send money to keep small businesses going..."

DeFazio's time ran out and his request for another minute was denied.

"Well I'm sorry, I'm not gonna stop talking. I'm tired of bureaucracy around here—it's time to do real things for the American people!" he shouted. "And this is real. These people's lives are at stake."

The pandemic has been tough on all of us, but when jobs and businesses are hit by forces beyond their control and Americans are losing their livelihoods by the millions, it's time for the government to stop the bleeding any way it can. And when partisan bickering gets in the way of helping the American people, it's time to make our voices heard at the ballot box.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.