He walked 17 miles a day to work until a stranger gave him a ride and changed his life forever
via KOCO News 5

A story out of Moore, Oklahoma shows the power of what can happen when people look out for strangers in their communities and take action.

Michael Lynn was running some errands on June 15 on a hot Oklahoma day when he noticed a shirtless young man walking down the side of a service road. Sensing that the man needed some assistance he pulled up beside him and asked if he needed a ride.

The young man, Donte Franklin, 20, replied, "Yes, sir!"


Donte was doing his daily, eight-mile walk to the Buffalo Wild Wings on the other side of town where he works as a chef. After his shift, he does the same long, eight-mile walk back home. To make it to work on time, Donte has to leave the house three hours before his shift starts.

He walks an average of five and a half hours a day to and from work.

And yet, "I haven't missed a shift at all," Donte told Fox News, adding that he's never been late.

Fundraiser started for Oklahoma man who walks 17 miles for work www.youtube.com


"I'm like man he's walking a long way," Michael said.

Donte got into the car and they had a nice chat about Donte's life on the way to the Buffalo Wild Wings. When the two arrived, Donte pulled a clean Buffalo Wild Wings shirt out of his backpack and was ready to get cookin'.

Michael found out that Donte didn't have any cash to get a bite to eat so he gave him $20.

He was so impressed by Donte's work ethic that he shared a post about him on Facebook that went viral.

"I'm thinking this young man is truly on a mission to survive!" Michael wrote. "During the trip over there he told me a lot about himself because I asked ... I just want to wish him well ... may God bless him and I hope his days get better for him!"

The post inspired Michael to start a GoFundMe page to raise some money for Donte to get a car. In just five days, the fundraiser has raised over $27,000.

"I can really help my family with this," said Donte, "It's just a really good blessing."

But before Donte buys a new car, he needs to get his driver's license. To help him out while he waits, a local bicycle club has given him a bike that he can ride to work every day.

When asked where he gets his strength, Donte told Fox News that his mother is his greatest inspiration. Unfortunately, she passed away when he was a teenager.

"She passed away when I was 16-years-old. She had Hepatitis C. After she passed away it's just been hard for me," he explained.

via Michael Lynn / Facebook

The story highlights what can happen when one stranger offers help to another. "If it can make just one person go help someone else that's all that matters," Michael said.

Now, the chance encounter has resulted in a beautiful friendship. "I think we need to keep each other," Michael said, hugging Donte. "I love this guy like my own."

Donte is studying to be a welder and in addition to getting a car, hopes to use the GoFundme money to help his family.

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.

True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."