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Joe Biden's response to a protester demonstrates the true power of empathy.

He may not know exactly what that protester was feeling, but he tried to understand.

Joe Biden's response to a protester demonstrates the true power of empathy.

While out campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Ohio, Joe Biden was met with every politician's worst nightmare: protesters.

Or, rather, in this case, one very vocal protester. While the vice president was highlighting the differences between the proposed Clinton tax policy and the one put forward by the Trump campaign, he was peppered with shouts from the audience about a very different (but very important issue): U.S. foreign policy.

"My friend died," the protester, who calls himself Reinas, shouted.


"So did my son," responded Biden.

Last year, Joe Biden's son Beau died of brain cancer at the age of 46. A member of the Delaware National Guard, Beau Biden served a tour in Iraq.

"I respect Biden’s son and everything he did. But I was a bit confused as to the relevance to the conversation," Reinas told The Guardian. "I am not against the Obama administration and I respect Joe Biden. After hearing what he said, I think maybe he means well, but it was evident that he hasn’t been briefed on the situation in Syria."

And he has a point. Beau Biden did not die in the war itself. And maybe that makes his retort imperfect. Even so, it gets at a deeper human issue: empathy. Reinas knows what it's like to experience the loss of someone close to him. So does Joe Biden. So do many of us.

Vice President Joe Biden with his son, U.S. Army Capt. Beau Biden at Camp Victory in Baghdad in 2009. Photo by Khalid Mohammed/AFP/Getty Images.

The crowd tried to drown out the interruption with cheers of "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!" but the vice president told Reinas that he would get a chance to speak later.

"Come back after and talk to me about this. OK? You have my permission," said Biden.

And while it seems the two were unable to connect afterward due to scheduling issues, Reinas did get his phone number into the hands of one of Biden's Secret Service agents.

"At first they toyed with the idea of my meeting Biden, but in the end I was told that he didn’t have time for me," he told the Guardian. "So I offered my phone number, so that Joe Biden could contact me. I’m still waiting."

Responding well to criticism can be tricky, especially in the heat of the moment.

Invoking the heartbreaking memory of his dead son — an issue many believe directly led to Biden's decision not to run for president in 2016 — could not have been easy. But in that moment, it was necessary in order to convey that Biden, too, understood loss.

Joe Biden and his son Beau during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Photo by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images.

Perhaps it'd have been easier to let the crowd drown out the protests. Perhaps it'd have been easier to instruct security to remove Reinas from the venue. It's a whole lot harder to open yourself up to your own personal pain and be willing to have a real conversation with a complete stranger, especially one who disagrees with you so vehemently.

Though Reinas and Biden didn't get the chance to have that one-on-one conversation just yet, their exchange stands as an admirable example of how empathy can help bridge the gaps between one another.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 10.23.15


Getting people who don't suffer from anxiety issues to understand them is hard.

People have tried countless metaphors and methods to describe what panic and anxiety is like. But putting it into the context of a living nightmare, haunted house style, is one of the more effective ways I've ever seen it done.

Brenna Twohy delivered the riveting poetic analogy recently in Oakland, starting out by going off about some funny "Goosebumps" plots. It's lovely, funny, sweet, and relatable, and it's totally worth the short time to watch.

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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."