Her son came out. She called a gay bar for advice. The delightful convo went viral.

This article originally appeared on 01.26.18


Kara Coley, a bartender at Sipps in Gulfport, Mississippi, got an unusual phone call on the job last week.

Photo courtesy of Kara Coley.

"Good evening," Coley answered. "Thank you for calling Sipps!"

A woman on the other end of the line asked, "Is this a gay bar?"

Sipps welcomes everyone, Coley explained to her, but indeed attracts a mostly LGBTQ crowd.




"Can I ask you a question?" the caller followed up. "Are you gay?"

"Yes, ma'am," Coley said.

Then things got interesting.

"What was the one thing you wanted from your parents when you came out?" the woman continued.

Coley, who's tended bar for about 17 years, was a little caught off guard. In all her years of experience fielding requests and helping others working in the service industry, she'd never received a question like that.

Photo courtesy of Kara Coley.

"My son just came out to me," the woman continued on the other end of the line. "And I don't want to say anything that may mess him up in the head."

Coley thought for a moment. Then she asked the woman if she accepted her son for who he is.

The woman answered "yes."

"You should definitely let him know that you love and accept him!" Coley said. "I think everything will be OK from there!"

The woman thanked Coley for her input and they parted ways.

Later that night, in the early hours of Jan. 19, Coley decided to post the entire interaction to her Facebook page, noting how "random" it all had been.

In the days following, her post went viral, amassing over 1,500 likes and hundreds of shares.

So I got the most random phone call at the bar tonight! 😀Me:Good evening Thankyou for calling Sipps!Lady on phone: Is...
Posted by Kara Coley on Friday, January 19, 2018

The post's comment section soon filled with love and gratitude for Coley's simple but endearing answer.

"My heart is truly touched by this," one Facebook user wrote. "A parent wanting to support correctly, and a beautiful response. This is progress. This is love and acceptance in the rawest form."

"Kara, this old granny lesbian is so grateful for you, and for a parent that thought outside the box to get advice!" another user chimed in. "Keep being you!"

"[The response] has been amazing," Coley writes. She believes her post struck a chord with friends and strangers alike because people are looking for encouraging news: "Every day people wake up and there's so much negativity in the world — people just need a breath of fresh air!"

For parents to an LGBTQ child, it's still vital to understand the facts too, Coley noted: "Educate yourself [on LGBTQ issues] and do a little research."

Ideally, parents should have access to better resources than their local gay bar when it comes to getting help with LGBTQ parenting. At the end of the day, though, the best thing you can do as a parent is make sure your kid understands you're there through thick and thin.

"Just knowing you have someone in your corner takes a little weight off your shoulders," Coley wrote.

Learn more about being a good ally as a parent of an LGBTQ child at PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). If you're a young LGBTQ person who needs help, resources are available at The Trevor Project.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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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.

This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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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."