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Florida mom started a 'Pandemic of Love' that's raised more than $15 million for people in need

Florida mom started a 'Pandemic of Love' that's raised more than $15 million for people in need

On a Sunday evening in late April, community activist and Pandemic of Love founder Shelly Tygielski received a surprising phone call. "It's Joe. I'm with my wife Jill," said a familiar voice on the other end. Shelly threw her hands over her eyes, completely in shock. She thought to herself, "Is Joe Biden really calling me right now? Is this a joke?"

Shelly started the grass roots, nonprofit organization Pandemic of Love on March 14, in her hometown of Lighthouse Point, Florida. She's a meditation teacher and social activist, participating as a precinct captain for Democrats, as well as teaching retreats using trauma-informed healing practices to those affected by gun violence and mass shootings. She also provides gifts and necessities for impoverished schools in Pahokee, Florida supporting the Hope Symphony and partnered with the Water Warrior Project to provide Navajo and Hopi natives with clean water each day.


Before the pandemic hit, Shelly conversed with the 15,000 members of her meditation practice, discussing the coronavirus crisis. She realized that many people around her area live paycheck to paycheck. It wasn't feasible for them to stock up on goods if they had no money. She put together a mutual aid concept for Pandemic of Love, reflecting on the main principle of mindfulness and care she preaches each day. She figured if individuals have essential needs like food, rent, transportation costs, etc. and people who have the privilege to fulfill them, a concept she's successfully done before, she could create something within her community to help people.

In less than 24 hours, her childhood friend from San Francisco saw her Instagram post about the new organization she created and wanted to replicate it. The next day, Shelly had 400 families fill out the get help application and over 500 fill out the give help forms. Shelly proceeded to start matching them one by one, painstakingly looking at each person's needs. Soon after, micro communities formed across the globe (Pandemia de Amor for Latin countries) and over 500 volunteers got involved.

The national volunteer team works all week, 16 hour days, matching donors in their neighborhood with a person in need. It's a tangible way for donors to also directly pay their match. Celebrities like Chelsea Handler and Debra Messing donated and shared Pandemic of Love on their socials and the volume grew further. One donor gave $10,000 to cover medical bills and funeral costs, another gave the same amount to single mothers in South Florida, while the next donated $25,000 to help struggling families. People have forged relationships and have come to know each other beyond the initial transactions. She's raised $13.5 million dollars in the last eight weeks.

When former Vice President Joe Biden called Shelly, she couldn't believe it. "I was dying, I could barely breathe. It was amazing to get that shout out," says Shelly. He called to tell her how proud he was. Biden said, "Thank you for the wonderful things you are doing, you're changing people's lives. When I announced a year ago I was running, I said I was running to restore the soul of America. You are the soul of America."



This week, I joined Shelly and 35 volunteers across the country for a virtual party to celebrate the organization hitting 100,000 matches of donors and recipients. One volunteer, Simone Handler shared about her contribution as a donor. She lives in San Francisco and met Shelly at a conference involving the survivors of the Parkland shooting in Florida last year. Simone matched with Broadway singer named Mauricio Martinez, a four-time cancer survivor suffering from depression, who lost work due to Covid-19 while living in Manhattan. "He didn't really ask for much," says Simone. "I texted him asking what he needed and was struggling with. I told him that I was there for him. He was always so gracious and thanking me every time I helped him out," she says. "I'm happy to be friends with him now and hopefully see his career come back when all this mess is over. It's a joy to know him, see his talent and hear from him every few days."

Mauricio responded by saying that he feels so lucky and grateful. When Simone started helping him out, he couldn't believe it. Most of his family lives in Mexico over 2,000 miles away from his home in New York. "I'm all by myself in this crazy city," he says. "I know firsthand as a cancer survivor how important generosity and kindness are. Simone has definitely brightened up my life and days. It's forced us to be connected and create a bond. Simone is a bond that I will have for life. I will never forget this." His way of giving back was singing a beautiful rendition of "Being Alive" from the musical Company for all of us.

As the celebration continued, Shelly raised her wine glass for a toast. "It takes one act of kindness, one idea—but if no one else latches onto that idea and if nobody else actually jumps on board, or decides to rise up, then it's not a movement. None of this would ever be possible. I'm absolutely grateful because it's a movement of us," she says. "This is a collective— something that can continue long after this pandemic is over and there is a vaccine. This human connection is so important. People need to be seen and heard. It's so beautiful to offer and get in return. I want to create a tsunami of love. Long after the coronavirus is dead, the virus of love can still be alive."






In the wake of the Pandemic of Love milestone, Upworthy spoke with Shelly about how to get involved and her plans moving forward with the charitable acts of kindness.

After a person who needs help fills out the application on your website—do you hear their story and decide if they really need help? How does it work?

If a donor is willing to give a $100 gift card to a super market, then the vetting is very light. We will Google the recipient, see their social media presence and match them by email. No money ever runs through Pandemic of Love. We are not a 501(c)(3). We are a volunteer based organization and none of our volunteers or area leaders ever touch money. We don't need to file anything. It's so simple and that's why it's exportable and why it can continue to grow. The beautiful thing about this is that it's a direct give. The donor will use Venmo, write a check or send e-cards. Say you, as the donor, just sent Sally a Walmart card for $100 so she can buy food for her child. That's where the human connection comes in. Now, I know Sally and I can text her and call her. In two weeks, I can follow up and say, "Are you going okay on food? Do you need anything? How can I help you?" That's the beauty of it. There is that human connection.

What happens if someone needs more than $100? Do they need to provide more substantial proof?

If it's over $250 dollars, and a person needs help with rent or they've been evicted, like some people in Alabama experienced in the early stages of Covid-19, we ask them to send us a letter and phone number of the landlord and our volunteers will call. They have also become advocates, as well. Our volunteers will negotiate with the landlord and then pay them. Every week, I do two trainings on Zoom for our volunteers and I train hundreds of them. We have 540 volunteers, but that's the core leaders of our areas and communities. Beyond that, they have other volunteers who help with vetting and social media. The truth is, I don't even know how many volunteers we have anymore. It's crazy that our network is so vast now. Our affiliate micro communities even have their own Instagram and Facebook accounts too.

Cities, states and other countries are creating micro communities out of Pandemic of Love. How are you training all these volunteers?

In order to start, you click get involved. You send us an email and we ask you about yourself and then we call. A rule of thumb is that you need at least five volunteers that are already recruited. When I first started, a person in Long Island reached out who wanted to start a micro community. Then three weeks later, that person didn't have time anymore. It was a problem. Once you get your volunteers, we train all of them at once. There are also a few steps you need to take. You have to watch a YouTube training video I made, you watch a best practice Zoom call that was recorded and you have to upload things to a master contact sheet and create your socials. Then we create the links that you can edit, give links for sharing and then we put it on our website. It can take three to four days or a couple of weeks to get it together.

Do recipients ever become volunteers?

A lot of people in need are now volunteers. Once you are matched, you are put in our archives, so you can go back and fill out another form if you need more help. But if you come up 37 times in our sheets, we flag them. We try to get back within 24 to 48 hours. Suzie Israel is a recipient and received a few times and now she helps and gives back with her computers skills in Asheville, NC. Volunteers help with social media. I don't know if this organization would exist outside South Florida without it. I don't know if donors or celebrities would have found us. The people in the pandemic of love family are all on a What's App chat group and we chat every day—Now, everywhere I go in the country, I know someone who has helped with this organization.

Have you found people to be deceptive?

Sure, of course. People can be assholes, too. There are days when I think why am I even doing this? Why is this person such a prick? Then you get these amazing stories and you remember why. We weed people out. We aren't investigative reporters or the CIA. At the end of the day, if your quality of life is going to be changed by giving a person $100, then you shouldn't. There have been people who aren't as grateful. There are people that sometimes will have multiple people in their household fill out the forms or use different names. We catch those. People who try to scam the system aren't always the smartest. People send us these crazy stories—there is a woman who wrote something that could have been a sci-fi movie and then we flagged it. We respond kindly. We tell them that we are sorry for their suffering and ask them to provide a picture ID. Of course, we also want to protect our donors. Usually they don't respond or make up some excuse. Or we ask to pay a bill directly and that weeds people out. There are sometimes bad apples in the bunch. This goes back to my Buddhist philosophy, but we have to assume every individual is suffering, and the way they are treating you stems from that place of suffering. We try to do the best we can.

Can a donor help more than one person?

They totally can. When they fill out the form, it indicates if they want to give one time only, more than once, or if they would be interested in being matched with more than one family. You indicate what you want and then we match people. If you've written that you want to give twice, before we match you a second time, we'll ask if you're ready with the next match. Donors sometimes don't follow through and sometimes the needs change or the ability to give changes, which is totally understandable. We saw more of that in the beginning because people were furloughed. But a lot of times donors will give a $100, but then you've talked to the person in need, you bond and you realize that they really need a lot more. Most times the donor ends up giving way more money. For example, we've had so many people send Amazon Prime or Target diapers, wipes, formula and other types of things directly to their home in addition to giving them money.

Why not file Pandemic of Love with the government?

My gut and every fiber in me says no. I'm so not reaching out to the government. The problem is that you have all these fees you have to pay and people don't think you are transparent enough. There are also limitations of who we can help, such as undocumented workers. I feel like if it doesn't help the cause, then, why do it? So, I can get a salary? That sounds absurd to me. Maybe in the future if this continues, proliferates and grows, I would hope there would be somebody who sees the value in it like an organization or an independently wealthy person and ask me, "What's it going to take you to do this full time?" The truth is, who knows. It's a new day and we need a new model. It's not all about helping people financially either. Even though that is very important, a lot of people have the saddest stories and really don't have anybody to turn to. They have no one to ask for help. To be able to feel heard is priceless. To think someone cares enough—who you don't even know—to call, reach out and then write a check or transfer money—it makes people feel good. It's that transaction of getting to know someone that's a game changer.

This must be a ton of work.

I'm not going to lie, I'm extremely exhausted. I've been working over 15 hour days in addition to everything else going on in my life. But I do have a core of volunteers here in Fort Lauderdale— HQ as I call it—and they are amazing, amazing women. Mallory, who is a school teacher, and still teaches every day in Chicago on Zoom, was recently on the morning news talking about us. She works all day then gets on our spreadsheets and starts helping people. She's a hero. All our volunteers are heroes. I do want to say that every volunteer around the world but two are women. Isn't that insane? Not by design. We have one man in Spain and another in El Salvador, but every person who has reached out to help or start a micro community is female. The majority of donors are women too. Not shocking to me, to be honest, because women have such a nurturing quality.

Are you a donor?

I've donated way more than I have or can afford. It's ridiculous at this point. I'm like the saddest sap ever. When people are short on money or it's 11 p.m. at night and I'm going through the sheets and trying to clear out my inbox and a message comes in like "My kids aren't going to be able to eat tomorrow," I'll Venmo that person a $100. I've helped a lot of people. There is a girl in Portland, Oregon who was a college student who has Lupus and every Monday without her even asking, I'll send her money for groceries. One woman is an undocumented worker around Los Angeles and she has three beautiful daughters and I've sent them a ton of stuff from Prime to their house and that helped them tremendously. I've personally given to them, but I've also gotten other donors to give. There is a 16-year-old who found me on Instagram through Debra Messing's posting. Her father died from coronavirus last weekend. She told me that her family couldn't claim his body because they are also undocumented workers and they have no money for cremation or anything. I told her to fill out the form and we found a donor who paid for the cremation and the funeral. People are changing lives every day.

Are there more people who give or more that need help?

We get a ton of people wanting to help from states that seem to be more liberal-minded and a ton of states requesting help that aren't. There is always more people who need. It can be disheartening sometimes to look in your sheets and be like, "I have 500 people who are asking for help and I only have 150 donors, what am I going to do?" The thing is that it ebbs and flows at any given point in time. The ratio across the board, and it doesn't matter what county you are in, what state or what city, for every one donor, we have three people in need. But then we will get a boost, like when Chelsea Handler posts and then we get donors all around the country. Suddenly, we will have no more requests and we have matched everyone. But it's also a double edge sword. You are going to get more people who are requesting help, but then we will also get more micro community leaders and volunteers, which we have in every major city. Getting the word out there is ultimately the most important thing.

I know celebrities like Chelsea Handler and Debra Messing have helped social media-wise. Have any famous people been the donors?

Chelsea and Debra have been donors. Debra, for example, has sent emails to her personal network and recruited a lot of people in the industry like producers, writers, casting directors. She has been such a godsend. Busy Philipps is also the bomb. She has actually been helpful from the very beginning. She also donated money for a flatbed truck to help in our Water Warriors project of supplying water to reservations who have no running water or access to electricity, which is also on our website. I'm friendly with Chelsea and have known her for a couple years. She comes to my meditation retreats. She's so generous and lovely. She's been such a huge help with this. Kristen Bell shared about us in her stories very early on. I'm so grateful.

What story really stands out to you of people helping each other?

There is this New York public school teacher named Shean who was diagnosed during the pandemic with throat cancer. He was randomly partnered up with this woman Beth who is in Hollywood, Florida, so they are worlds apart. She's a Reiki instructor and therapist and has three kids. He is a single dad in the Bronx. His aunt passed away from Covid-19 and his grandma was sick. Well, Beth had thyroid cancer years ago. They talk every day, Facetime and she texts him affirmations every morning. She does therapy sessions with him. She sent him a huge care package with foods that are holistic and perfect for his battle against cancer. He sent me this beautiful, unsolicited email that I received a few days ago. It read: "You saved my life. Pandemic of Love saved my life." I read that email and cried.

What was the most heartfelt connection you've witnessed?

I lost my best friend Helen to ovarian cancer last April. This woman named Susan Patterson who lives in Framingham, MA sent me an email a few weeks ago. She wrote that her organization, Ovations for the Cure, needed money to support women in the late stages of ovarian cancer. She started the organization when her best friend Patty. Then she lost her battle with cancer. After that, all of their events were cancelled from Covid-19, so Susan had no money coming in. She explained that she only had enough money to support these women for the next 30 days. They provide meals for women, clean houses, home care— things insurance doesn't cover that can become stressful. Susan wrote me in desperation because she didn't know what to do. We were able to match $14,000 in two weeks. She is now set for the next 90 days. One of our donors who is a doctor in Miami donated $5,000 and helped a single mom with ovarian cancer and another in her final stages through the organization. Afterward, Susan sent me this heartfelt letter with a bracelet she created when Patty passed away. Teal is the ribbon color for ovarian cancer, so it had a teal heart, a diamond for hope and a charm of a butterfly. I lost it completely when I read the letter. I cried and cried. Before my best friend Helen died, she told me she was going to come back as a butterfly. I never told Susan this. But she explained in the letter that Patty told her that butterflies remind you of people that you love. It was so heartfelt. I can be on the phone with you all week and not be done with these stories.

What is your hope for Pandemic of Love?

Every single day of my life, I want my son who is now 18-years-old, be able to see all this in action. He gets to see a culmination of all these efforts and organizing. We all get to see that one person, one act of kindness, just one act can actually change the world. Nothing is too small. My hope is the concept of mutual aid becomes institutionalized, concreted and supported. I hope it's something we return back to from the nostalgic days—when people actually knew their neighbors, cared, supported and helped each other because that's what we need to be able to survive. I feel like that's going to be a need that we have long after this pandemic ends. If it's not a pandemic, it's a natural disaster. There is always something happening in this really crazy world we are living in. Ultimately, having those structures in place makes it so much easier to get through the hardships that everybody has to face together. I get to go to bed every night feeling good, thinking we all made a dent and made a difference. It's really important. I definitely hope this lasts long after the pandemic.

Have you processed what a difference you've made in this world?

To be honest, in talking to you, I don't realize it. When you are so muddled in it every day matching, putting out fires, answering questions, issues, forging partnerships with tribe members and groups, you don't stop to think about it. One day, I'll be able to sit back and think how cool it is.

Science

A juice company dumped orange peels in a national park. Here's what it looks like now.

12,000 tons of food waste and 21 years later, this forest looks totally different.


In 1997, ecologists Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs approached an orange juice company in Costa Rica with an off-the-wall idea.

In exchange for donating a portion of unspoiled, forested land to the Área de Conservación Guanacaste — a nature preserve in the country's northwest — the park would allow the company to dump its discarded orange peels and pulp, free of charge, in a heavily grazed, largely deforested area nearby.

One year later, one thousand trucks poured into the national park, offloading over 12,000 metric tons of sticky, mealy, orange compost onto the worn-out plot.



The site was left untouched and largely unexamined for over a decade. A sign was placed to ensure future researchers could locate and study it.

16 years later, Janzen dispatched graduate student Timothy Treuer to look for the site where the food waste was dumped.

Treuer initially set out to locate the large placard that marked the plot — and failed.

The first deposit of orange peels in 1996.

Photo by Dan Janzen.

"It's a huge sign, bright yellow lettering. We should have been able to see it," Treuer says. After wandering around for half an hour with no luck, he consulted Janzen, who gave him more detailed instructions on how to find the plot.

When he returned a week later and confirmed he was in the right place, Treuer was floored. Compared to the adjacent barren former pastureland, the site of the food waste deposit was "like night and day."

The site of the orange peel deposit (L) and adjacent pastureland (R).

Photo by Leland Werden.

"It was just hard to believe that the only difference between the two areas was a bunch of orange peels. They look like completely different ecosystems," he explains.

The area was so thick with vegetation he still could not find the sign.

Treuer and a team of researchers from Princeton University studied the site over the course of the following three years.

The results, published in the journal "Restoration Ecology," highlight just how completely the discarded fruit parts assisted the area's turnaround.

The ecologists measured various qualities of the site against an area of former pastureland immediately across the access road used to dump the orange peels two decades prior. Compared to the adjacent plot, which was dominated by a single species of tree, the site of the orange peel deposit featured two dozen species of vegetation, most thriving.

Lab technician Erik Schilling explores the newly overgrown orange peel plot.

Photo by Tim Treuer.

In addition to greater biodiversity, richer soil, and a better-developed canopy, researchers discovered a tayra (a dog-sized weasel) and a giant fig tree three feet in diameter, on the plot.

"You could have had 20 people climbing in that tree at once and it would have supported the weight no problem," says Jon Choi, co-author of the paper, who conducted much of the soil analysis. "That thing was massive."

Recent evidence suggests that secondary tropical forests — those that grow after the original inhabitants are torn down — are essential to helping slow climate change.

In a 2016 study published in Nature, researchers found that such forests absorb and store atmospheric carbon at roughly 11 times the rate of old-growth forests.

Treuer believes better management of discarded produce — like orange peels — could be key to helping these forests regrow.

In many parts of the world, rates of deforestation are increasing dramatically, sapping local soil of much-needed nutrients and, with them, the ability of ecosystems to restore themselves.

Meanwhile, much of the world is awash in nutrient-rich food waste. In the United States, up to half of all produce in the United States is discarded. Most currently ends up in landfills.

The site after a deposit of orange peels in 1998.

Photo by Dan Janzen.

"We don't want companies to go out there will-nilly just dumping their waste all over the place, but if it's scientifically driven and restorationists are involved in addition to companies, this is something I think has really high potential," Treuer says.

The next step, he believes, is to examine whether other ecosystems — dry forests, cloud forests, tropical savannas — react the same way to similar deposits.

Two years after his initial survey, Treuer returned to once again try to locate the sign marking the site.

Since his first scouting mission in 2013, Treuer had visited the plot more than 15 times. Choi had visited more than 50. Neither had spotted the original sign.

In 2015, when Treuer, with the help of the paper's senior author, David Wilcove, and Princeton Professor Rob Pringle, finally found it under a thicket of vines, the scope of the area's transformation became truly clear.

The sign after clearing away the vines.

Photo by Tim Treuer.

"It's a big honking sign," Choi emphasizes.

19 years of waiting with crossed fingers had buried it, thanks to two scientists, a flash of inspiration, and the rind of an unassuming fruit.


This article originally appeared on 08.23.17

A Taco Bell drive-thru.

Natasha Long, a mother in Pennsylvania, is calling Taco Bell Manager Becky Arbaugh her “guardian angel” after she saved her 11-month-old son who stopped breathing. Long was out running some errands with her son when she pulled into a Taco Bell drive-thru in Richboro when she realized that something was wrong.

"I ran out of the car and ran around and opened the car door," Long told ABC affiliate WPVI. "I pulled him out and he turned completely blue and was lifeless. At that point, I just completely blacked out. I didn't know what to do."

Arbaugh, who was busy working the lunch rush, heard Long call out for help. "I heard a scream, and then someone yelled out, 'Call 911, the baby isn’t breathing!'" she told Good Morning America. Arbuagh wasted no time running to Long’s aid while one of her employees dialed 911.

"I threw my headset and ran outside to the baby. The mom was panicked. I told her to give him to me and I performed CPR," Arbaugh recalled. "I was trying to calm her down and comfort her and reassure her that he will be fine."


"The baby finally started to breathe. The ambulance came pretty quickly and then they took over," Arbaugh said. "The EMT said I saved his life."

Pennsylvania Taco Bell manager helps save baby who couldn't breathe

Arbaugh, a mother of 2 boys and 2 girls, was well-versed in how to perform infant CPR and understood the importance of staying calm. "When my kids were little, my daughter had a similar incident, so I knew what she was feeling," she told WPVI. "I knew if I kept her calm and I stayed calm, there was no thought in my mind that the baby wasn't going to breathe again."

Taco Bell’s employees are proud of Arbaugh’s heroic deed. "We are incredibly proud of Becky from the Taco Bell brand’s Richboro, PA, location for her heroic act earlier this week. We are getting in touch to express appreciation for her quick actions and kindness,” the company said in a statement to People.

Since the incident, the women have been in contact with each other and are friends on Facebook. Long has been sharing pictures and videos of her son with Arbaugh to remind her of the precious life she saved. Even though Arbaugh performed the ultimate good deed, saving a baby’s life, she doesn’t consider herself a hero—just another mom looking out for her own.

"I’m just a mom helping a mom. I didn’t do anything different from what anyone else should be doing," Arbaugh told NBC. "I knew how that was, and I heard it, and I felt it instantly and I had to go and help her cause I knew it’s painful. You’re just so helpless as a mom when that happens."

This incredible story out of Pennsylvania is a reminder for every one of the importance of learning CPR. You never know when—just like Arbaugh—you may find yourself in the position to save a life.

To sign up for a class and learn how to perform CPR, visit RedCross.com.




"The baby finally started to breathe. The ambulance came pretty quickly and then they took over," Arbaugh said. "The EMT said I saved his life."

[Video]

Arbaugh, a mother of 2 boys and 2 girls, was well-versed in how to perform infant CPR and understood the importance of staying calm. "When my kids were little, my daughter had a similar incident, so I knew what she was feeling," she told WPVI. "I knew if I kept her calm and I stayed calm, there was no thought in my mind that the baby wasn't going to breathe again."

Taco Bell’s employees are proud of Arbaugh’s heroic deed. "We are incredibly proud of Becky from the Taco Bell brand’s Richboro, PA, location for her heroic act earlier this week. We are getting in touch to express appreciation for her quick actions and kindness,” the company said in a statement to People.

Since the incident, the women have been in contact with each other, becoming friends on Facebook. Long has been sharing pictures and videos of her son with Arbaugh to reminder of the precious life she saved. Even though Arbaugh performed the ultimate good deed, saving a baby’s life, she doesn’t consider herself a hero—just another mom looking out for her own.

"I’m just a mom helping a mom. I didn’t do anything different from what anyone else should be doing," Arbaugh told NBC. "I knew how that was, and I heard it, and I felt it instantly and I had to go and help her cause I knew it’s painful. You’re just so helpless as a mom when that happens."

This incredible story out of Pennsylvania is a reminder for every one of the importance of learning CPR. You never know when—just like Arbaugh—you may find yourself in the position to save a life.

To sign up for a class and learn how to perform CPR, visit RedCross.com.



@geaux75/TikTok

Molly was found tied to a tree by the new owners of the house.

Molly, an adorable, affectionate 10-year-old pit bull, found herself tied to a tree after her owners had abandoned her.

According to The Dodo, Molly had “always been a loyal dog, but, unfortunately, her first family couldn’t reciprocate that same love back,” and so when the house was sold, neither Molly nor the family’s cat was chosen to move with them. While the cat was allowed to free roam outside, all Molly could do was sit and wait. Alone.

Luckily, the young couple that bought the house agreed to take the animals in as part of their closing agreement, and as soon as the papers were signed, they rushed over to check in.

In a TikTok video, April Parker, the new homeowner, walks up to Molly, who is visibly crestfallen with teary eyes. But as soon as Parker begins cooing, “Baby girl…you’re gonna get a new home,” the pitty instantly perks up—all smiles and tail wagging.

“We are going to make her life so good,” Parker wrote in the video’s caption. “She will never be left all alone tied to a tree.”

@geaux75 The people that sold our house to us left behind their 10yr old dog they had since it was a puppy. I was so stressed we wouldnt get the house and something bad would happeb to her. We are going to maje her life so good. She will never be left all alone tied to a tree. 😭😢@roodytoots ♬ Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) [2018 Remaster] - Kate Bush

The video has been seen upwards of 4 million times. Countless people commented on how enraging it was to see a dog treated so carelessly.

“I’ve had my dog since she was 7 weeks old. She just turned 10 a few days ago. I literally cannot imagine doing this,” one person wrote.”

Another added: “The tears in her eyes…she doesn’t understand why they could just leave her, it breaks my heart. People like that shouldn’t be allowed to be pet owners.”

Subsequent videos show Parker freeing Molly from her leash and introducing the sweet pup to her husband, with whom she was instantly smitten. It’s clear that this doggo was both relieved and elated to be taken in by her new family.

Since being rescued, Molly has accompanied her new mom and dad everywhere.

@geaux75 Replying to @ohitscourtney ♬ Lucky Girl - Carlina


“She’s sticking to our side,” Parker wrote. “She won’t stop following us around. It’s so sweet.”

Parker has created an entire TikTok channel documenting her newfound pet’s journey, aptly named “Molly’s New Life,” showing Molly enjoying warm baths, plenty of treats, cuddles…all the finer things in life.

But what Molly seems to enjoy most of all is car rides:

@geaux75 Taking Molly to get a treat! Stay tuned!! #mollysnewlife #goodgollymissmolly ♬ original sound - Mollysnewlife 🐾🐕💗

And in case you’re wondering, the kitty is doing well, too, though it still prefers to stay outdoors.

Molly also has two indoor cat siblings who instantly welcomed her into the family. The video below shows one of them, Joofus, comforting a trembling Molly with kisses during a thunderstorm.

@geaux75 We had a big storm this morning and Molly was having a hard time. Joofus got on the bed and started comforting her. It was the sweetest thing. They got snuggled up and Molly went to sleep. Animals are amazing. #mollysnewlife #petsarefamily ♬ I Won't Let Go - Rascal Flatts

It seems that Molly has gotten the safe, loving home she’s deserved all along.

We know that animal abandonment is fairly common. According to The Zebra, almost 4 million dogs are either given up to shelters or abandoned each year. And still, it’s really hard to fathom how humans can treat such innocent creatures with such blatant disregard when they provide so much pure joy.

Thankfully, there are folks out there like the Parkers who know that taking care of animals like Molly is one of life’s most precious offerings.

Stay up-to-date with the rest of Molly’s journey by following her on TikTok.


This article originally appeared on 5.31.23

Pop Culture

Sports? The Royal Family? Joe Rogan? 15 things people can’t believe adults take seriously.

"Sports. I get it. It's entertainment. But calm down. You aren't on the team."

Should adults take sports or Joe Rogan so seriously?

When we take a look at humanity, there are countless things we take seriously, that may not matter in the grand scheme of things. Many of us also have a soft spot for ideas that aren’t exactly scientific.

No one is perfect, and it's okay for us to take pleasure in being invested in some forms of inconsequential entertainment simply because they are fun. The trouble comes when people waste their lives and resources on ridiculous things that do more harm than good.

The key idea is that no one is immune from taking something seriously that others may think is a waste of time. But, to each their own or vive la différence as the French put it.


A Redditor who goes by the username Hogw33d asked the AskReddit forum, “What is something you can't believe real grownup people take seriously?” Many people responded that they don’t understand how some people can invest so much time and energy into things they deem frivolous.

The list was a great way for some to vent but it also provides a solid skeptics guide to some of the pitfalls we may unwillingly fall into in life.

Here are 15 things people “can’t believe” that “real grownup people take seriously.”

​1. Community theater

"This is niche but community theatre. The DRAMA among grown adults is insane, worse than when I was in high school. Like yall, we are singing and dancing and wearing silly costumes. It’s not that serious." — MediocreVideo1893

2. MLMs (multi-level marketing)

"I just don't understand how people keep falling for it. They always think that there's a difference. It's all the same pyramid scheme y'all." — IsItTurkeyNeckorDick

"I think we should take them way more seriously. They can do massive damage to a person's financial and mental health. We need to stop treating them as a cute thing that naive people get sucked into, and ban them for the scam they are." — Hydro123456

3. Flat Earthers

"I think it actually started as a sort of debating society. Just for people to practice and become better at rhetoric. But, they actually convinced some people and now, this is what we have." — Addicus

"There’s one of those apocryphal quotes that goes along the lines of, 'Any group of people that get their laughs pretending to be idiots is bound to be taken over by actual idiots who think they’ve found good company." — RilohKeen

4. Social media outrage

"Social media in general. Too many people believe every clickbait headline or buy into whatever trend is taking over. Feels like people can't self soothe and need the validation or something, it's just weird." — Cynn13

"'Outrage over Z' 'People slam Y' And it's only like a few people on Twitter or Reddit and they present it as some huge backlash or major issue lol." — Sclubadubdub

"The political news channels do almost nothing other than this. They tell viewers the other party is outraged about something that you never find a real person outraged by and create culture wars that no one is actually fighting." — Herbdontana

5. Reality TV

"It's all fake, too. An acquaintance of mine works at a major studio. Those shows are all scripted and fake." — SpaceMoneky3301967

6. Sports fans

"People take being a fan of a sport (or team) way too seriously, imo. I promise you don't need to riot because 'your team' lost." — AdmirableProgress743

"My husband works himself into such a state over something he can't control and is, imo, of absolutely no consequence to his life. He's toned it down because I told him the screaming and cursing terrorize me and our daughter. But he stews and mutters obscenities." — Complex_Yam_5390

7. Scientology

"Might as well just say every religion. They're all coocoo bonkers." — JenniferC1714

8. Gossip

"Gossip in general. I live in a small town and it is maddening how people here are so serious about it. It's not light fun chatting, it's all SCANDAL and we need to take ACTION. I swear a lot of people's problems would be immediately solved if they just stopped giving a sh*t what everyone else does (to an extent)." — Buffalopantry

9. Facebook

"My mom will literally call me up if I didn't like a recent post of hers. There have been a few times where she asked why I didn't like every photo she just posted. It's maddening. I've also had periods of deactivating my fb only for my mom to guilt me into reactivating it." — Zealousideal_Mix6771

10. Billionaire 'geniuses'

"Elon Musk and other billionaire 'geniuses.' People are pretty freaking gullible." — GladysSchwartz23

"Most average people don’t realize that being incredibly smart doesn’t automatically mean you are good at doing things like running a large company. They tend to assume people at the top must be there based on merit. In reality, there are some massively stupid people running huge companies, and there some brilliant people who are shoveling shit for a living." — Captcha_Trampstamp

11. The royal family

"I have a news app on my phone and no matter how much I tweak my interest to avoid any gossip BS I still get "Breaking News! Some insignificant bullshit about the Royals". It's not news, it's not interesting, stop reporting this utter drivel." — Sclubadubdub

12. Religion

“The creator of the universe impregnated a virgin, only to deliberately kill the child 30 years later, to save people from…himself.” — Opteryx5

"I grew up figuring everyone was just roleplaying and was shocked to learn religion is taken seriously by many people. It was a real eye-opener for someone who grew up in a secular environment." — Kilterboard_addict

13. Vaccine skeptics

"I work in medicine and am starting to get really worried about the vaccine skepticism. It used to be a little more rare, so I would counsel, they spout incorrect information, I tell give a little retort/response, and then move on because time is tight. But now it’s happening so often that I’m working way harder to persuade because I feel a strong obligation to fight all the bullshit info that has obviously taken hold." — KellyNJames

14. Loud exhaust systems on cars

"As someone who lives next to traffic lights and can hear all y'all shi**y music and loud exhausts all day... I approve this message." — Rainbow-Singbird

15. Joe Rogan

"The whole 'I’m just an idiot don’t pay any attention to what I say' schtick doesn’t really work anymore." — FoucaultsPrudendum

"It was great when he had a guest that was in academia, like a physicist or something. I would skip over most of the comedy buddy circle jerks he would host. Then when COVID happened I had to stop entirely. He fully went off the deep end then. Still, he introduced me to Dan Carlin's work, for which I am very grateful." — Xczechir

Lost girl mistakes Mariska Hargitay as a real police officer

There's not much scarier for a parent or child than to temporarily lose sight of each other. Kids do all sorts of things that they may find funny that can give their parents a mini panic attack. Nearly every person has taken their turn hiding in a clothes rack at their local department store as a child, momentarily giving your parent a fright.

But sometimes it's not just a quick break in visual contact. Sometimes parent and child find themselves separated for more than a few seconds while in public. That's when panic sets in as both parties frantically search for the other. One mom and daughter found themselves in this very scary situation while at Anne Loftus Playground in New York City while Mariska Hargitay was filming an episode of Law & Order: SVU.

The little girl spotted Hargitay dressed as her character, Olivia Benson and assumed she was an actual police officer due to her badge. Instead of redirecting the little girl to resume filming, the seasoned actor halted production to try to help.


In an interview with People before the premier of the 25th season of the hit procedural series, Hargitay reveals, “We’ve been on a parallel journey,” she said. “There’s a thing: WWOBD, ‘What would Olivia Benson do?’ The fans would always talk about it, and one day it hit me. I also have those moments where I’ve sort of slipped into her. If there’s a crisis, I just take over and lead like that. Being strong and fearless. It’s sort of this perfect feminist story.”

Turns out that method is true. Fans captured the unscripted scene where the pretend detective helped a real missing little girl find her mom. You can watch the entire thing unfold below in still pictures from fans who watched the selfless moment. According to PIX11 News, Hargitay's selfless act halted production for over 20 minutes, but ultimately the girl was reunited with her mom.