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Pop Culture

Kroger's new holiday ad is an unexpected tearjerker

So much emotion packed into just a few seconds.

kroger, kroger commercial. kroger holiday commercial
Kroger/Youtube

Kroger's new commercial has viewers in tears

Look, we know that commercials often take aim at our emotions. But certain commercials transcend clever marketing strategy and become something so much more human.

Apparently, a Kroger holiday ad, titled “Cuisine Exchange,” is one of those commercials.

“Cuisine Exchange” tells the story of a childless couple who choose to become hosts for foreign exchange students.

Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph” plays in the background as their first student arrives— a young girl from Mexico named Valentina. The couple cook Valentina pozole, a Mexican stew, which instantly makes her feel more at home.


During Valentina’s stay, the household enjoys hot cocoa with marshmallows, chili peppers (with plenty of milk nearby in case of emergency) and tamales before she returns to Mexico.

More visits follow, and with them more comfort meals: a Japanese student with soba noodles, another from Denmark with aebleskiver, a classic Christmas treat, and a kid from Italy making panettone, just to name a few.

Photographs pile onto the fridge as the years go by. And now we see the wife, with a few more wrinkles and gray hairs, yearning to see those students once again.

This prompts the husband to surprise her with truly the most thoughtful gift. As they sit by the fire, a Christmas tree twinkling beside them, suddenly there’s a knock at the door. When the wife goes to open it, she is greeted by all the exchange students they’ve ever hosted, and they all share a feast of all their favorite meals.

The ad ends with an undeniably fitting tagline: “Food connects us all.”

Reactions to the ad have been emotional to say the least, but positive nonetheless.

“Not a Kroger ad making me SOB??? I’m going to bed. 😭,” one viewer wrote on X.

“cried over a Kroger ad it’s time to pack it up everybody,” another added.

Meanwhile on Youtube, several folks who had been hosts to exchange students noted how spot on the commercial was.

“This hits home,” one person wrote. “We had seven exchange students between when I was 5 and 19. Two of them stayed for an extra year and one of them even went to a college two hours away. I learned so much about them and their cultures and we always tried to make food from their home.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time Korger unleashed a holiday ad tearjerker. Just last year, the grocery brand had viewers sobbing with its “Magical Cookbook” spot, which wove similar themes of food bringing us back to precious memories.

Sometimes, it doesn’t take much to get us into our feels. Even something as simple as a quick commercial can remind us of how beautiful life really is. And that’s fine—we could all use a good cry now and then.

True

Making new friends as an adult is challenging. While people crave meaningful IRL connections, it can be hard to know where to find them. But thanks to one Facebook Group, meeting your new best friends is easier than ever.

Founded in 2018, NYC Brunch Squad brings together hundreds of people who come as strangers and leave as friends through its in-person events.

“Witnessing the transformative impact our community has on the lives of our members is truly remarkable. We provide the essential support and connections needed to thrive amid the city's chaos,” shares Liza Rubin, the group’s founder.

Despite its name, the group doesn’t just do brunch. They also have book clubs, seasonal parties, and picnics, among other activities.

NYC Brunch Squad curates up to 10 monthly events tailored to the specific interests of its members. Liza handles all the details, taking into account different budgets and event sizes – all people have to do is show up.

“We have members who met at our events and became friends and went on to embark on international journeys to celebrate birthdays together. We have had members get married with bridesmaids by their sides who were women they first connected with at our events. We’ve had members decide to live together and become roommates,” Liza says.

Members also bond over their passion for giving back to their community. The group has hosted many impact-driven events, including a “Picnic with Purpose” to create self-care packages for homeless shelters and recently participated in the #SquadSpreadsJoy challenge. Each day, the 100 members participating receive random acts of kindness to complete. They can also share their stories on the group page to earn extra points. The member with the most points at the end wins a free seat at the group's Friendsgiving event.

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A mother on Reddit is concerned that her future children will have the unfortunate last name of “Butt,” so she asked people on the namenerds forum to help her convince her husband to name their child something different.

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Woman shares the powerful impact of a 'hardcore' gym bro's words of encouragement

Previous experience had her feeling nervous when the man approached her at the gym, but what he said brought her to tears.

Steph shares how a few simple words made all the difference.

Going to the gym can be a daunting prospect for a lot of people. It shouldn't be—the whole point of going to the gym is to exercise, which is something that should universally be applauded—but sometimes it can feel like there's pressure to be at a certain fitness level or have a certain physique before stepping foot in the door.

For people who are heavier, gym culture can be especially intimidating. Unfortunately, not everyone remembers to practice kindness and fatphobia appears to remain a fairly tolerated prejudice. That shouldn't stop people with big bodies from enjoying all that fitness centers have to offer, but all too often, it does.

It hasn't stopped a woman named Steph from working out regularly at her gym, albeit with some trepidation. As she shared in a hugely viral TikTok, she's experienced some unkind behavior at the gym that made her nervous when a man approached her recently. But her description of the encounter ultimately demonstrated how powerful a few positive words can be.

In a video made from her car just after leaving the gym, Steph explained that a "hardcore" gym-goer who is "super tough" and covered in tattoos had came up to talk to her. Her initial response was to be afraid of what he was going to say to her, based on previous experience. She shared in the video how hard it's been to stay steady with her workouts, especially with medications she's on making her body hold onto weight, but she's been working hard to be consistent. She steeled herself for whatever he might say.

She didn't expect it to be this: "I've seen you in here every week, almost every day. I've seen you in here every week—and I'm proud of you." Nor did she expect that such simple words of encouragement could make such a huge impact.

Watch her tell the story:

@steph5468

#gymprogress #workputjourney #keepgoing #healingjourney

People had a lot to say about the interchange and Steph's emotional response to it.

"People do not realize, how one person can change everything," wrote one commenter.

"Girl you are CRUSHING IT," wrote another. "That man you encountered is what real men do. Encourage. Support. Be human! It isn’t hard! ❤️"

"No one knows your story, your struggles. You're doing the dang thing and that takes courage and strength. You. Keep. Going. I'm proud of you too!" shared another.

More and more words of encouragement flooded Steph's comment section, and people on Upworthy's Instagram page weighed in as well.

"I'm a fitness coach and this made me cry 😢 just having someone say they are proud of you can move mountains for so many of us who didn’t/ don’t get the praise growing up," wrote one person.

"Who knows? He may be going through something too and saw a determined, consistent, fellow traveler," wrote another. "You share your Truth so powerfully. You may not know how many people will see this and be encouraged by your honesty. I’m in awe that you show up for YOURSELF every day. And as for the rude and ill-mannered? Well they struggle too—just to be decent kind human beings. Some people have not been shown Empathy and therefore do not know how to use that muscle. You are beautiful, smart, articulate, wise and a woman who knows where she’s headed. Keep walking, head up knowing there are many many more who do empathize, who see you and are on your side❤️"

"It’s amazing to think about how this man’s single act of kindness, spread through you to affect us all in a positive way," shared another. "This made all of our days, and I’m crying tears of joy while I write this. Please thank him from all of us the next time you see him, if you’re comfortable with that. And thank you for sharing! ❤️"

Indeed, thanks to both Steph and the hardcore, tattooed gym bro for being wonderful examples for us all. We never know what a small act of kindness or a few words of encouragement will do to make someone's life significantly better, but it's always worth trying.


This article originally appeared on 9.5.23