Meet the Midwestern dad who asked Trump and Clinton to compliment each other.

It was one of the defining moments of the second 2016 presidential debate, and it almost didn't happen.

At the very end of the second "town hall" debate, after roughly 90 minutes of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump ripping into each other's policies, scandals, and character in front of a small audience, one man stood up to ask the evening's final question.

His name is Karl Becker. He is a father of two from Washington, Missouri. And he had a simple request:


"Would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?"

Trump and Clinton enjoy a rare, friendly moment. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

The candidates laughed warmly. The audience let out an audible "Aww!" And people around the world quickly declared that Karl Becker had "won" the debate.

Little did they know Karl was also prepared to ask a second potential question, one they'd never hear.

"My other question had to do with executive powers," he said. "I guess in retrospect that was pretty lame."

Trump and Clinton face off again in the election's third and final debate on Oct. 19, 2016. So I chatted with Karl about the origin of his now-famous question and what he'll be watching for as the election comes to an end:

Q: Who is Karl Becker?

Karl asks his question. Image via MSNBC/YouTube.

Karl: Who am I? Gosh. I'm a 49-year-old dad in Washington, Missouri. That's a suburb of St. Louis. I have two kids, Darcy and Shane, who just turned 16.

Q: How did you come up with "the question"?

Karl: My son and I volunteer at a little league football association where I live, and I ran it by him that morning. He said, "Oh yeah, that's a pretty good question." My daughter didn't like it. She wanted something that was more directed to Mr. Trump in regards to the "Access Hollywood" hot mic, Billy Bush scenario. But I explained to Darcy, the questions ... had to be questions that could be asked of either candidate.

Q: You've gotten a lot of attention from the media, but like your fellow debate-goer Ken Bone, you don't really seem to care for the attention. What's it like being a minor celebrity?

Karl: Most things don't excite me. It's been interesting. I tried to involve my daughter. She is somewhat focused on the journalism side of her schooling, and I want this to be an opportunity for her to meet folks who may be a help to her as she figures out what she wants to do with her life.
***
But I wasn't looking for the spotlight, and I'm not looking to continue the spotlight. Let [Ken Bone] ride the wave. I'm just taking this as it comes.

Q: I have to ask, have you decided who to vote for yet?

Both candidates seemed delighted by Karl's question. NBC/YouTube

Karl: There seems to be more, for lack of a better word, "crap" coming out on both candidates. And unfortunately, I don't know if I'll make a decision prior to November 8th.

Q: OK, so if you haven't decided, what'll be going through your head when you eventually step inside the voting booth?

Karl: I know their platforms. I can go on websites and read their policies. But what is that going to mean for the bigger picture? How is this going to really affect my kids?
***
It's going to come down to who do I think is more morally and ethically solid? ... Who's going to survive the mud being thrown the best?

Q: Will you be watching the final debate? And if so, what will you be looking for?

Karl: I'm going to watch the debate. I have parent-teacher conferences at my son's high school from 6 to 8 p.m., but then a film crew from St. Louis wants to send a crew to wherever I'm going to be watching. I'm up in the air about that.
***
I would like to believe that there will be more discussion between the two candidates of some worthiness. However, I don't think that's going to happen.

Q: If you could ask the candidates another question tonight, what would it be?

Karl: You stumped me. I honestly don't know. Maybe "Do you think we could speed up the debate and end it sooner?"

In the end, I left the conversation thinking that Karl Becker was a genuinely nice dude.

He even said he doesn't get why anyone would care what he thinks about the candidates.

Trump and Clinton go in for the handshake. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

"There was a person over my shoulder (at the debate). He's a neurosurgeon ... The gentleman sitting to my left, he was a Ph.D. student in neuroscience."

No one interviewed those people, Karl said.

But there's a reason his debate question elicited such a response two weeks ago.

In the midst of one of the nastiest and most shocking presidential elections in recent history, we all yearn for the days when the candidates actually respected one another and where the choice ultimately came down to substantive policy differences — not which candidate you thought was more or less likely to destroy the country.

We care what Karl thinks because he reminds us that after this massive dumpster fire of an election burns out, we'll all need to find a way to coexist with one another again.

The Shane and Darcy Beckers of the world deserve that much.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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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."