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How a video of a metal puppet hand eventually turned into an idea for accessibility.

This may seem like a story about technology, but it's actually a story about kindness.

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Dignity Health old

This is a cool kid named Ethan.


Image via Upworthy and Dignity Health.

This is his pretty cool hand.

Image via Upworthy and Dignity Health.

And the story behind cool Ethan and his cool hand is one of those stories that makes you say, "I'm really glad to be alive right now because this kind of thing could not have happened at any other point in history."

It's a story about YouTube videos and 3D printers and random Internet connections. But more than that, it's all about how one single act of kindness can lead to another. Which leads to another. Which leads to another.

And before you know it, those kindnesses (along with that technology) can make pretty amazing things happen.

It all started back in 2011.

Check out the video below for the full story, or scroll down to check out the six acts of kindness featured and how it goes beyond just Ethan's story to help hundreds of kids like him.

First act of kindness: Let's make a finger.

A man named Ivan Owen posted a fun video on YouTube of himself wearing a metal puppet hand he had made as a costume. Thousands of miles away, a South African carpenter named Richard who had lost his finger in a woodworking accident saw the video and was intrigued. He reached out to Owen to discuss what he made.

Image via Ivan Owen/YouTube.

The two ended up spending a year collaborating on building a replacement finger.

Second act of kindness: Let's make a hand.

The mother of a 5-year-old boy named Liam heard about their project and asked if they could also try to build a small hand for her son who had been born with no fingers. After a lot of hard work and the idea to use a 3D printer, they ultimately developed the first ever 3D-printed mechanical hand. It was badass, and so was Liam.

Image via MakerBot/YouTube.

Third act of kindness: Let's share what we know.

Here's where it gets even more interesting.

Instead of patenting the design for this new hand (can you imagine how much money they could have made?) in January 2013, Owen generously and unselfishly decided to publish the design files as open-source and public domain so that anyone, anywhere could download the files and use a 3D printer to make the same type of prosthetic.

Fourth act of kindness: Let's connect the dots.

Several months later, a professor named Jon Schull (featured in the video) stumbled upon a video of Liam and his 3D-printed hand and saw that people were leaving comments under it, offering up their own 3D-printing skills to help make more hands.

So Schull came up with bright idea to start a Google+ group and an online map for them to share their locations. That way, people who were seeking prosthetics (namely hands) could find the closest volunteer.

He left a comment on the video and invited people to join him in the Google group and put a "pin" on the map marking their location if (1) they wanted to print hands or (2) they knew where a hand was needed.

Fifth act of kindness: Let's build a community.

Well, it worked. By the end of the first day, there were seven pins. In a few weeks, there were hundreds. And the numbers kept growing and growing.

Image via Upworthy and Dignity Health.

It turns out there weren't just a lot of people in need of prosthetic limbs, but there were a lot of people who were able and willing to make them!

That simple idea grew into what is today known as Enable, a nonprofit organization and community made up of teachers, students, engineers, scientists, doctors, designers, parents, children, artists, philanthropists, coders, and everyone in between creating 3D-printed hands and arms and giving them away to those in need of an upper-limb assistive device ... for free.

Sixth act of kindness: Let's make it free.

That's right. Enable gives away the 3D prosthetics at no cost to the recipient.

Those six kind decisions have now made it possible for hundreds of children to receive prosthetics.

And remember our cool kid Ethan? He was one of them. His mom stumbled upon the community online, reached out, and Enable ultimately helped Ethan get the hand that he now just can't stop showing off.

His story (shown in the video above) isn't just amazing because somehow something positive actually came out of a YouTube comment section. And it wasn't just made possible because of the magic of 3D printing — although that, in and of itself, is pretty awe-inspiring.

It was made possible because of the kindness of the creators in the Enable community whose small devotion of resources and time can make kids like Ethan really, really happy.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Marlon Brando on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1973.

Marlon Brando made one of the biggest Hollywood comebacks in 1972 after playing the iconic role of Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” The venerable actor's career had been on a decline for years after a series of flops and increasingly unruly behavior on set.

Brando was a shoo-in for Best Actor at the 1973 Academy Awards, so the actor decided to use the opportunity to make an important point about Native American representation in Hollywood.

Instead of attending the ceremony, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather, a Yaqui and Apache actress and activist, dressed in traditional clothing, to talk about the injustices faced by Native Americans.

She explained that Brando "very regretfully cannot accept this generous award, the reasons for this being … the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee."

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