Share in the joy of this dad's surprise reunion with his toddler son.
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Delta

Watch Scarlyn and her son Liam's unique story, and scroll down to see how this life-changing trip came to life.

Scarlyn Cabral loves surprises. She just can't keep them to herself.

After spoiling a cousin's surprise baby shower, she's no longer trusted with family secrets.


"They don't tell me about surprises anymore," Scarlyn said with a laugh. "They used to invite me to the party, but now only after it's planned and like one day before."

So when Scarlyn won a trip from a Delta Air Lines contest to the Dominican Republic to see her son's father, Jean, she didn't think she'd be able to keep the good news to herself. Lucky for Jean (and all of us), she pulled it off perfectly.

Scarlyn, Jean, and their son, Liam. Photo courtesy of Scarlyn Cabral, used with permission.

Scarlyn and Jean's story began in an unexpected place, a call center in the Dominican Republic.

Scarlyn was on a long vacation to the Dominican Republic and decided to get a job. She found one at a call center and Jean was her supervisor. Their friendship quickly grew and the two started dating. A few months later, Scarlyn discovered she was pregnant.

Photo by iStock.

When she was six months pregnant, the pair decided Scarlyn should join her family in New York City.

Image via Delta/YouTube.

While opportunities for Scarlyn and her unborn son were much greater in New York, Scarlyn was devastated to leave Jean behind.

"It was really scary, having to come [back to New York] by myself," Scarlyn said. "I felt bad because I wasn't going to have him here for the birth... It was scary."

Their son Liam was born a few months later.

Photo by Scarlyn Cabral, used with permission.

Like many new moms, Scarlyn's priorities have changed since she became a parent

"I don't really think about myself anymore," she said. "Before, I used to make decisions like 'OK, I'm changing my major. I'm going on vacation.'... But after I became a mom, all I think about is Liam. ... What's better for him."

Image via Delta/YouTube.

While her romance with Jean fizzled shortly after Liam was born, Scarlyn made a commitment to continue communication for Liam.

They're a new kind of modern family. Scarlyn and Jean have a strong friendship based on trust and respect.

While Scarlyn is the full-time parent, she doesn't let distance stand in the way of Jean knowing his son. She uses emails, texts, and video calls to stay connected and familiarize Liam, who just turned 1, with his dad and other relatives.

Image via Delta/YouTube.

Though Jean receives photos and calls from Liam often, the distance is not for the fainthearted.

"When you lose something that fills you up completely, everything becomes empty," Jean told Delta. "It's something that sometimes you try to fill with work, keeping busy. But on the contrary, it goes on, you can't fill it up."

Image via Delta/YouTube.

That's why Scarlyn entered Delta's My Next Trip Back contest, for a chance to win a trip to the Dominican Republic.

She hoped to reunite Jean and Liam so they could enjoy some much needed father-son time.

Scarlyn won the contest. And needless to say, she was ecstatic.

I

GIF via Delta/YouTube.

But now came the tricky part — keeping it a surprise.

She told Jean nothing about her big win, but it wasn't easy.

GIF via "Saturday Night Live."

She covered her tracks until the very last minute, even playing a little digital deception on Jean.

"The day before, when I was here in New York, I took a picture of Liam and I in the bed. So I sent him that picture, when I was in the [Dominican Republic]."

The Delta film crew was interviewing Jean at a local park. That's when Scarlyn and Liam made an entrance Jean will not soon forget.

GIF via Delta/YouTube.

"You know when you know something, and you're hiding it, and you think everybody knows," Scarlyn said. "I thought he knew, but he had no idea," Scarlyn said.

"And then we hugged and we cried and everybody cried," she said. "It was so nice. It was awesome."

GIFs via Delta/YouTube.

And thanks to their Skype calls, Liam recognized his dad after just a few minutes. Cue the happy tears!

Scarlyn and Liam recently returned from their trip with many happy memories.

Scarlyn, Liam, and Jean enjoyed several days of fun in the sun, catching up with one another and taking in the sights and sounds of Santo Domingo.

It's a much deserved reward for a family that reflects a new normal of alternative families making life healthy and happy. Because that's what matters.

Image via Delta/YouTube.

Back home in New York, Scarlyn looks back on her recent trip with joy and gratitude. "I'm so glad [Delta] gave me the opportunity to go," she said. "We will not forget it."

GIF via Delta/YouTube.

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.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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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."