+
Joy

People raised $100K for landscaper whose work truck was stolen and wrecked in a car chase

It's a bizarre story that ultimately shows the best humanity has to offer.

car theft, stolen truck

The Benitez family business relied heavily on their white truck.

It feels pretty safe to say that having a car stolen is universally traumatic. The invaded privacy, potential loss of irreplaceable items (everything from expensive equipment to silly trinkets that might hold immense sentimental value), and financial strain are enough to be devastating for anyone. And for those whose livelihoods depend on their vehicle, this stress is exponentially greater. The fact that people choose to inflict this kind of damage upon others is enough to make one lose faith in the human race.

However, despite humanity’s potential to commit truly awful acts, it always holds an equal amount of potential to help each other in times of need.

For landscaper Andres Benitez, paying the bills and putting food on the table relied heavily on the family’s work truck, along with the tools used for their business inside. According to NBC Los Angeles, it was something that the Benitez family saved up for years to afford. Then, on Nov. 9, it was stolen and used in a chaotic two-hour police pursuit from Orange to L.A. County in California.

The car thief broke into the Benitez home, stole the keys, then sped away—driving the wrong way on narrow two-lane roads, running red lights and crashing into multiple cars. By the time the illegal driver was arrested, the family’s work truck was heavily damaged.

To make matters worse, even though the truck was insured, it was now considered evidence and would possibly not be returned for a very long time—if at all.

Benitez might have been initially heartbroken, but he would soon be surprised that in his darkest hour, he would be met with compassion. He shared in an Instagram post that within only an hour of the incident unfolding, people showed up with trucks and tools to share, and were even offering volunteer work.

Benitez would later set up a GoFundMe page, initially only to raise enough money to replace the lost landscaping tools. But as of Nov. 15, the page has raised more than $100,000, allowing the family to get a new truck and continue earning a living.

As Benitez shared in a subsequent Instagram post, the whole thing was a “tragedy turned into a blessing,” one he plans to pay forward by getting in touch with and helping another victim in the incident who similarly used his van for work.

The young landscaper might describe the episode as a “life changing experience,” but fortunately, in this case it’s an uplifting use of the term.

“[It’s] truly heartwarming and unbelievable… [it] puts a big smile on my face knowing there’s people out there who truly care about helping me and my family get back on our feet…it’s just insane and still feels very unreal. I really am truly thankful and appreciate every single one of you for helping us out,” he said.

While it’s true that car theft is a serious issue (and one that has increased at an alarming rate over the past couple of years) it’s still a comfort to know that no matter the statistic, the world is full of people willing to step in and help. When egregious acts are seemingly plentiful, it becomes crucial to look at what right things are happening.

This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

His aunt died on Thanksgiving and his 'rap' about how the family handled it is hilarious

The 95-year-old's 'bold, creative decision' to die on Thanksgiving when the whole family was at her house led to this chaotic masterpiece.

A viral video tells a wild, oddly hilarious tale of a guy's aunt dying on Thanksgiving.

A loved one dying on a holiday isn't normally something to laugh about, but there are exceptions to every rule. This video is one of them.

TikTok user Darien (@dairy.n) shared a story about his family's Thanksgiving Day that is so gloriously bizarre and delightfully real, it's hard not to laugh, despite the fact that it's about his aunt dying. The fact that he tells the tale in the style of a "One thing about me" rap is extra hilarious, and judging by the comments of some of the 6.7 million people who've watched it, it's struck people's funny bones.

Dark humor? A little bit. But his aunt was 95 and she died of natural causes, which helps the hilarity feel not quite so inappropriate. She also apparently had a fabulous sense of humor that she used to cope with her own difficulties throughout her life, so the video is more like a fitting tribute than a what-the-heck storytelling.

Keep ReadingShow less
Gen Ishihara/Facebook

"AI art isn't cute."

Odds are you’ve probably seen those Lensa AI avatars floating around social media. You know, the app that turns even the most basic of selfies into fantasy art masterpieces? I wouldn’t be surprised if you have your own series of images filling up your photo bank right now. Who wouldn’t want to see themselves looking like a badass video game character or magical fairy alien?

While getting these images might seem like a bit of innocent, inexpensive fun, many are unaware that it comes at a heavy price to real digital artists whose work has been copied to make it happen. A now-viral Facebook and Instagram post, made by a couple of digital illustrators, explains how.

Keep ReadingShow less