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How a frequent flier's viral post saved Christmas for this father and son.

'I would give anything for him. And I never want him to feel a hole in his life where his father should be.'

How a frequent flier's viral post saved Christmas for this father and son.

Quentin Seyssel has only seen his 5-year-old son, Aiden, four times this year.

Aiden and his mom have been living with her parents in California since March 2015, although she and Quentin didn't officially get divorced until this past summer. Being away from his son is hard, especially since Aiden is on the autism spectrum and has only recently begun to communicate with purpose.

Photo by Quentin Seyssel, used with permission.


Due to financial constraints, Quentin lives a humble life in Colorado and sends as much money as he can to his son every month.

The physical distance between them is difficult, especially this year, because it's the first Christmas the two would've spent apart.

The two communicate most frequently via Skype, but it presents challenges, Quentin explains. "Within the last year, [Aiden] has gotten a lot more used to initiating play and will bring you a puppet to use and mimic a conversation with."

That's not something he can do over Skype.

Photo by Quentin Seyssel, used with permission.

Though Quentin tries to ask his son questions and engage with him on their calls, he is often left watching Aiden play quietly.

While Quentin would love to see his son in person, "it is financially difficult," he writes. This year, even though he does have holiday time off work, he cannot afford the round-trip ticket.

In a last-ditch effort, Quentin responded to a post online in which a man named Peter Shankman was offering to use his extra airline miles to help people who needed them to get home for the holidays.

In his job as a marketing consultant, Shankman has racked up a significant number of airline miles. For the past four years, he's been gifting them to people — like Quentin — who can't afford trips to see their loved ones around the holidays.

Photo by Peter Shankman, used with permission.

"I get to travel to talk for a living and get paid for it," explains Shankman in an email. "I don't know how much luckier I could be. How could I possibly live in a world that gives me all of that happiness and not find a way to give back?"

So every year, Shankman sets up a post on image-hosting website Imgur asking users to share their story in the Home for the Holidays category. The people whose stories receive the most upvotes from other users get a ticket home with Shankman's miles.

Shankman traveling with his own daughter. Photo by Peter Shankman, used with permission.

This year, Shankman was joined by generous travelers who donated their own miles to the cause, helping to send 10 people home for the holidays. One is a teacher with a rare eye disease who will get to visit her family after years apart; another is an Air Force pilot with HIV who will be able to go home and make amends with his estranged family.

In response to Quentin's story, several other users stepped in, offering to pay for his flight home to Aiden.

Quentin decided to take one of those offers, so that Shankman could use his miles for someone else in need. "He seemed genuine, kind, and never asked for anything in return," writes Quentin of the user whose offer he accepted. "Only the promise to pay it forward."

Photo by Quentin Seyssel. Used with permission.

Quentin wrestled with feeling worthy of the free trip home and thinking about how many others might be more deserving — but then he thought about Aiden.

Photo by Quentin Seyssel, used with permission.

Quentin knows Aiden needs his father around, especially at this crucial stage of development in his life. He's making plans to move to California so they can spend more time together. Until then, he's been writing letters to Aiden every year on his birthday and plans to give them all to Aiden when he turns 21.

"I would give anything for [Aiden]," Quentin writes. "I never want him to feel a hole in his life where his father should be."

Thanks to the generosity of a stranger on the internet, this year's letter will be filled with some extra joy and humility — "a highlight of memories and hope," he says — and memories of a visit home for the holidays.

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This year, we've all experienced a little more stress and anxiety. This is especially true for youth facing homelessness, like Megan and Lionel. Enter Covenant House, an international organization that helps transform and save the lives of more than a million homeless, runaway, and trafficked young people.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is Delivering Smiles this holiday season by donating essential items and fulfilling AmazonSmile Charity Lists for organizations, like Covenant House, that have been impacted this year more than ever. Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a charity of your choice or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

With vaccine rollouts for the novel coronavirus on the horizon, humanity is getting its first ray of hope for a return to normalcy in 2021. That normalcy, however, will depend on enough people's willingness to get the vaccine to achieve some level of herd immunity. While some people are ready to jump in line immediately for the vaccine, others are reticent to get the shots.

Hesitancy runs the gamut from outright anti-vaxxers to people who trust the time-tested vaccines we already have but are unsure about these new ones. Scientists have tried to educate the public about the development of the new mRNA vaccines and why they feel confident in their safety, but getting that information through the noise of hot takes and misinformation is tricky.

To help increase the public's confidence in taking the vaccine, three former presidents have volunteered to get their shots on camera. President George W. Bush initially reached out to Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx to ask how he could help promote a vaccine once it's approved. Presidents Obama and Bill Clinton have both stated that they will take the vaccine if it is approved and will do so publicly if it will help more people feel comfortable taking it. CNN says it has also reached out to President Jimmy Carter to see if he is on board with the idea as well.

A big part of responsible leadership is setting an example. Though these presidents are no longer in the position of power they once held, they are in a position of influence and have offered to use that influence for the greater good.

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Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

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"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.

Anne Owens and Luke Redito / Wikimedia Commons
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When Madeline Swegle was a little girl growing up in Burke, VA, she loved watching the Blue Angels zip through the sky. Her family went to see the display every time it was in town, and it was her parents' encouragement to pursue her dreams that led her to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017.

Before beginning the intense three-year training required to become a tactical air (TACAIR) pilot, Swegle had never been in an aircraft before; piloting was simply something she was interested in. It turns out she's got a gift for it—and not only is she skilled, she finds the "exhilaration to be unmatched."

"I'm excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet," Swegle said in a statement released by the Navy. "It would've been nice to see someone who looked like me in this role; I never intended to be the first. I hope it's encouraging to other people."

As Swegle's story shows, representation and equality matter. And the responsibility to advance equality for all people - especially Black Americans facing racism - falls on individuals, organizations, businesses, and governmental leadership. This clear need for equality is why P&G established the Take On Race Fund to fight for justice, advance economic opportunity, enable greater access to education and health care, and make our communities more equitable. The funds raised go directly into organizations like NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, YWCA Stand Against Racism and the United Negro College Fund, helping to level the playing field.

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Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down...in the most delightful way.

There are certain songs from kids' movies that most of us can sing along to, but we often don't know how they originated. Now we have a timely insight into one such song—"A Spoonful of Sugar" from "Mary Poppins."

It's common for parents to try all kinds of tricks to get kids to take medications they don't want to take, but the inspiration for "A Spoonful of Sugar" was much more specific. Jeffrey Sherman, the son and nephew of the Sherman Brothers—the musical duo responsible not just for "Mary Poppins," but a host of Disney films including "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," "The Jungle Book," "The Aristocats," as well as the song "It's a Small World After All"—told the story of how "A Spoonful of Sugar" came about on Facebook.

He wrote:

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