His brother was at the Istanbul airport during an attack. Here's what it made him realize about hope.

Three little dots.

Today I prayed for three little dots. Today I begged for three little dots. Today my future depended on three little dots.

Today, while at lunch with coworkers celebrating a birthday, I got a text from my brother: "Something's happening at the airport. I love you guys."


At first I didn’t think twice of it, but then I quickly grabbed my phone.

“What do you mean?” I responded.

I waited for those three little dots to show that he was responding. Nothing.

My heart began to race. I jumped on Twitter and searched "Istanbul." The first tweet that came up read, "Two explosions reported at Istanbul airport."

I went numb.

72 hours earlier, I had dropped off my brother and his girlfriend, Kristine, at the Burbank Airport for the start of a European vacation they’d been looking forward to for months.

Photo by Noah Reich, used with permission.

Kristine had just graduated from nursing school at UCLA, and my brother had just finished the TV show he was working on. The timing could not have been more perfect for this trip, other than that they were embarking on a two-week adventure with no Wi-Fi on the night of the "Game of Thrones" finale.

"We landed in Turkey. Long flight but I slept through most of it. We’re going to stay in the lounge tonight and explore the city tomorrow." — Brother

"You best rest up and watch GoT while you have that Wi-Fi." — Me

A few minutes later, my brother texted my mom and me a photo of a guy sitting in front of his laptop that had a ship on it.

"This dude is watching last week’s episode." — Brother

"Well maybe he’ll go right into yesterday’s episode." — Mom

A couple hours had passed. My phone dinged.

"Well, I took mom’s advice and watched the next episode with him. He’s a Russian dude that didn’t speak a lick of English so he had Russian subtitles on. We didn’t share a language but after each crazy development we shared a universal gasp and tsk tsk tsk type response. Lol" — Brother

On my eighth birthday, my brother and I were robbed at knifepoint for a pair of Air Jordans.

My brother chased after the thief and ended up getting hit by a car that had jumped a light. That feeling of seeing my brother lying in the middle of a busy intersection motionless has haunted me through my entire life. That day, I was robbed of a pair of shoes and my innocence.

Three years later, the Columbine shooting took place. I was 10 years old. My brother and I would walk to school, and he would drop me off at the entrance of my elementary school while he proceeded to his middle school several blocks away. Every day, I’d fear that a scene like Columbine would take place at his school. Each day at 3:30 p.m., a wave of relief would overtake me when he arrived to pick me up.

That anxiety that was planted decades ago has been watered time and time again from 9/11 to the police shootings earlier this month.

Through my life, I have had to give credence to the quiet whisper that arises from my guts asking whether it’s safe to go to a movie theater, a concert, or a restaurant.

In the past few months, there have been shootings at two places I consider home — my alma mater (UCLA) and a gay club. When it comes to not feeling safe, I have enough fuel to keep me going for the rest of my life ... and that was before today.

As I waited to hear back from my brother, I frantically paced back and forth down Ventura Boulevard.

I thought of the frantic text messages that Mina Justice received from her son Eddie on the night of the Pulse nightclub shooting. I thought of the fear that was going through my brother and Kristine at the airport hearing active gunshots and the windows of the lounge being shattered by an explosion.

I thought of the phone call that I was going to have to make to my mom informing her of everything. I thought of that 8-year-old boy standing in the middle of the intersection years ago having to imagine what life was going to be like without his best friend.

And then, there they were: three little dots.

"We heard gunshots and an explosion. We’re in someone’s room at the hotel hiding. I’ll keep you posted as best I can." — Brother

My brother and Kristine escaped from the airport lounge they were hiding in by crawling from cover to cover over shattered glass. They made their way to an adjoining hotel where they knocked on doors until someone opened one. It was a couple from Spain who were there celebrating their honeymoon. After several hours, they were evacuated from the airport crossing over more shattered glass, dried blood, and the sound of sirens wailing.

I’m thankful that my brother and Kristine are OK, but my heart breaks for the hundreds of families who were not as lucky today. It terrifies me to have to imagine what it was like at that terminal, and it sends shivers down my spine knowing how lucky Adam and Kristine were.

I’m sick and tired of being afraid.

I don’t want to live in a world where I question my safety at each turn and the intentions of those around me. I don’t want to live in a world of Brexit and Donald Trump, where fear is a motivating factor for how we live our lives.

I want to live in a world where a random Russian guy who doesn’t speak English will scoot over and let you sit next to him to watch the "Game of Thrones" finale. I want to live in a world where a couple from Spain on their honeymoon will open their door for you amidst a terrorist attack and provide you with shelter.

Despite everything that’s occurred today, that is the world that I believe we live in.

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Having lived in small towns and large cities in the Pacific Northwest, Southwest, and Midwest, and after spending a year traveling around the U.S. with my family, I've seen first-hand that Americans have much more in common than not. I've also gotten to experience some of the cultural differences, subtle and not-so-subtle, real and not-so-real, that exist in various parts of the country.

Some of those differences are being discussed in a viral thread on Twitter. Self-described "West coaster" Jordan Green kicked it off with an observation about East coasters being kind and West coasters being nice, which then prompted people to share their own social experiences in various regions around the country.

Green wrote:

"When I describe East Coast vs West Coast culture to my friends I often say 'The East Coast is kind but not nice, the West Coast is nice but not kind,' and East Coasters immediately get it. West Coasters get mad.

Niceness is saying 'I'm so sorry you're cold,' while kindness may be 'Ugh, you've said that five times, here's a sweater!' Kindness is addressing the need, regardless of tone.

I'm a West Coaster through and through—born and raised in San Francisco, moved to Portland for college, and now live in Seattle. We're nice, but we're not kind. We'll listen to your rant politely, smile, and then never speak to you again. We hit mute in real life. ALOT.

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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.