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Joy

NICU nurse adopts 14-year-old patient who delivered triplets alone

“I knew it would be impossible to find a foster home that would take all four of them. No one was going to take a teen mom and her preemie triplets.”

NICU nurse adopts teen with three babies.

Having your first baby is a scary experience. Everything is new—you've quite literally never done this before—not to mention an entire human is going to be removed from your body one way or another. Childbirth, no matter how your baby leaves your body, is not for the weak. But imagine giving birth alone to not just one baby, but three, all at the same time. Then imagine doing that feat at the age of 14.

Shariya Small experienced that scenario in a hospital in Indiana, and her nurse Katrina Mullen took note. Small's babies were premature, born at just 26 weeks, when the average gestation for triplets is 33 weeks, according to ReproductiveFacts.org. Due to their early birth, the babies, Serenitee, Samari and Sarayah, had to stay in the NICU at Community Hospital North in Indianapolis for more than five months, according to Today.com.

During their time in the NICU, Mullen noticed the young mom visited her babies alone, not appearing to have much of a support system. “She’d be there alone for days at a time sitting at her babies’ bedside,” Mullen told Today.com.


The pair got to know each other over the months that the babies were in the hospital, but Small continued to be reluctant to open up about her family life. That changed after she found out that Mullen had her first child at 16 and had given it up for adoption. Their experiences bonded the two moms, and Mullen began helping to care for the babies and Small by giving her advice and showing her how to properly care for the infants.

Eventually, Mullen gave Small her phone number before the babies were discharged from the hospital. It quickly became apparent that Small did not have a support system, as she called Mullen often asking for advice. Out of concern, the nurse went to visit Small an hour away, where she was living with a family member.

The condition of the home was concerning enough, but Mullen became even more worried when she saw how thin Small's son Samari was. It turns out he had to be admitted to the hospital, which prompted a visit from Child Protective Services, who determined that Small and her three infants would need to enter foster care. She gave the social worker Mullen's information and things began to fall into place.

Listen to Small and Mullen explain their unique story below:

This article originally appeared on 4.10.23

Woman learns lesson in kindness after date apologizes.


How you treat people in the service industry is often used as a measure of what kind of person you are. Arguably, the same could be said for how you treat anyone in a customer-facing job, whether it be the sales associate at a department store, the cashier at McDonald's or the janitor in your office building.

While people may think that these jobs are not skilled positions, they do require an immense amount of skill that has to be learned. The skill just isn't as valued by society as a whole, and sadly, that often leads to people treating those in customer-facing jobs poorly. But when a woman recently went on a date with a potential partner, her poor behavior towards the waitstaff caused him to pause.

The story was shared by a woman by the name of Barbara NOT Barb on Twitter with a lengthy thread about her daughter's recent interaction. Though the details were juicy, it quickly became obvious that kindness is the way to go.


Barbara's daughter works as a server at a high-end restaurant in Los Angeles, and she was asked to bring water to a couple's table in someone else's section to help out. But according to the Twitter thread, when her daughter arrived at the table, the woman at the table started berating and insulting her.

Apparently, the couple, who were on their first date, were waiting for their drink orders from the bar. If you've ever worked in a restaurant, you know that servers don't have anything to do with how quickly your food or alcoholic drinks get made. They keep an eye out for the items as they care for other tables, but either this woman didn't realize that or didn't care, because she yelled at the server for how long it was taking for the drinks. The only mistake this particular server made was being kind to a co-worker and offering to drop off glasses of water.

After the server tried unsuccessfully to de-escalate the situation, the woman demanded to speak to the manager. It's not clear if this was the woman's first date ever, but it was her first date with the stunned man at the table. Since people generally attempt to put their best foot forward on a first date, it's not surprising that the man decided to end the date. But before he did that, he gave a lesson in kindness.

Before the manager could reach the table, the likely embarrassed man intercepted him.

"He asked to close out the tab. Explained it was a first date and that the woman's behavior disgusted him. He paid the tab at the bar and then requested my daughter and the original server come talk to him. He apologized profusely for his date's behavior," Barbara wrote. "Needless to say, everyone was floored, in the best way. The woman had somehow been informed that the date was over. She walked out, head down, and was no longer talking down to anyone."

Being kind to others is one of the easiest things to do. Maybe the woman in question was having a bad day—everyone has them—but our bad days probably shouldn't bleed over onto unsuspecting strangers. Hopefully, the servers and the date got a lesson in kindness and standing up for others.


This article originally appeared on 7.20.23

Heroes

Garbage men save couple and their dog from fire while out doing his rounds

"I saw a young woman screaming from the balcony and all I could think was that I needed to get to her as quickly as possible."

Garbage man saves couple and their dog from fire

There's nothing quite as terrifying to imagine as being trapped in a house fire. Most people are taught what to do if they smell smoke or a fire breaks out in their house. In fact, one of the biggest positives for encouraging closed doors in the home is the door helps keep the fire contained outside of the door for a longer period of time. This gives anyone trapped inside the room a chance to climb out of the nearest window or a longer window of rescue if the room has no escape.

One couple found themselves living this nightmare when their apartment caught fire while they were trapped inside with their dog. The situation could've turned into a much greater tragedy had it not been trash day. Tiffany Dupree, her partner Zac(corr) Braden and their dog Skye were stuck in their burning apartment in Tipton, West Midlands in England when a garbage truck drove by and saw the fire.


Steve Whitehouse and Kevin Marriott were the garbage truck workers who spotted the flames coming from the apartment and spotted Dupree screaming on the balcony. Instead of just calling it in, the garbagemen pulled their truck over and got to work rescuing the occupants inside without hesitation.

"I saw a young woman screaming from the balcony and all I could think was that I needed to get to her as quickly as possible, Whitehouse tells BBC Radio.

Upon seeing the woman, Whitehouse jumped out of his truck and scaled a wall in order to get to the balcony, pulling the woman out of harms way within seconds. When Dupree was safe, the garbageman turned his attention to the thick smoke coming from inside the apartment.

"The smoke was getting thicker. I called to anyone else who might be inside and could hear a young man shouting in distress for his dog. I managed to bundle up the dog in a blanket, jumped back down to the ground, and got the owner to throw the dog to me. I then went back up to help him,” Whitehouse explains to BBC Radio.

Keeleigh Seymour|GoFundMe

According to the Daily Mail, firemen believe the fire was started by an e-bike battery exploding while it was charging on the bottom of the stairs. Since the fire originated at the stairwell, it made it impossible for the couple to escape the blaze. Dupree is currently awaiting to be relocated by the council but in the meantime, the couple was only able to escape with the clothes they were wearing and their dog.

"'It was about 8 am when I heard popping and rustling sounds. I thought it was my dog, Skye, but he was asleep in the kitchen. I heard three bangs and as I opened the living room door there was a huge boom," Dupree tells Daily Mail.

Dupree and her partner don't live together, so it's only her things that need to be replaced, so her sister-in-law Keeleigh Seymour created a GoFundMe to help replace clothing and furniture.

Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

We all need reminders of the beauty of humanity.

Looking around at the current state of affairs in the world can quickly lead to feelings of sadness or despair, especially when news media primarily focuses on the worst of humanity.

While we can't pretend that the serious problems we face don't exist, we also need to balance our perspective with reminders that people are more good than not, and that human atrocity is the exception, not the rule. We have countless examples of human beings being wonderful to one another in ways large and small, but those stories rarely make the headlines.

Part of our mission at Upworthy is to show that people are a force for good, and what better way to do that than to share people's stories of kindness, hope and faith in one another?


For all of its pitfalls, social media can be a great place to find those kinds of real-life stories, so we asked our Instagram audience to share a moment that restored their faith in humanity and people generously delivered. Here are some responses that might just restore your faith in humanity as well.

"Stuck in Thailand during the 2006 coup with my wife and our two-year-old in a carrying backpack, airline would not accept credit card to purchase last flight out of the country, ATMs were not working to get cash, after 30 minutes a random Indian man and his family stepped forward and handed us an envelope full of all the cash we needed to purchase two airline tickets from Thailand to Singapore. He did not want or expect a payback (we eventually did)." – joshinsd

"We awoke to a 5.7 earthquake in 2020 in our old historic Victorian home. The earthquake blew out our foundation. Everyone on our street was affected. My husband and I had retired. We ended up rebuilding which took almost two years with Covid and supply chain issues. Two houses down we have a lovely family with two young boys. They came up with an idea on their own to empty out their savings and insisted in giving it to us to help us. While we did not need the money, it was the gesture of sacrificing their hard earned money at such a young age, 8 and 10 that touched us deeply. With young people in our world with hearts such as this, we will see great things happening." – gmholm

"My boy wanted to play with a stick that an older girl had. She was so kind & gave him the stick. He took it, then went back to her, broke it half, & gave her half. I watched it all from the side & held back tears. Look to the children - they will show you pure kindness 🤍" – ripottsy

"I recently took my daycare littles on a library outing. One of my two year olds was looking for a Paw Patrol book. A sweet little girl (about 5 years old) overhead and dug into her book bag and gave it to the two year old. In return he offered her one of his books❤️. Such a simple, yet meaningful, act of such pure sweet innocence!" – richelleamyd

"I was wrangling my kids into their car seats for a trip to the grocery store one day. I put my wallet on the bumper of my car as I was walking from one side of my car so the other trying to get them buckled. I got in my car and left my house, totally forgetting to grab my wallet. I realized my mistake when I got to the grocery store. I retraced my route, but had no luck finding my wallet. It had cash, credit cards, gift cards, and my family’s social security cards. I basically kept all my important things in there (it was a big zip up day planner kind of wallet). I went home and just cried and cried. I was on the computer trying to figure out how to order replacement social security cards when there was a knock on my door. A very sweet man who didn’t speak English very well was standing there with my wallet. I immediately embraced him and said, “oh THANK YOU!” He was a bit taken aback and said, “oh…you sad?” I will forever be grateful that that man took time out of his day to do the honest thing. It would have been so easy for him to either ignore my wallet, or take it. I try to remember him when I see an opportunity to be honest." – julieletner

"My grandma passed, and at her funeral, I was telling a friend of hers how hard it would be to return to her home after her interment. For as long as I could remember, Grandma had waited on the front porch for me whenever I came to visit. Later that afternoon, when we did return to Grandma’s, her friend was standing on the porch waiting, just as Grandma always had. 'I didn’t want you to have to return to an empty porch after laying her to rest,' he kindly explained. His thoughtful gesture makes me tear up whenever I remember it. – lynnecook77

"I had just lost my little sister to suicide. i was in deep grief and had not eaten for a few days. i was craving a burger so i went to The Counter. sat there. cried the entire time and tried to get that burger down. apparently Two men in UPS uniforms were on their lunch break and when i asked for the bill. my server told me that those ups guys bought my lunch. i never even saw them there. it was the first time i didn’t feel completely alone during the darkest days of my grief. 💕" – clarkaosb

"I was 20+, sitting in a church and crying very hard. A very elderly woman came up, sat next to me, said it was going to be ok. She just sat there holding my hand, in silence. I could see her looking at me and well up. A moment full of love, tolerance and empathy for a total stranger. It changed me." – atirufo

"We had pizza delivered once and my 3 year old son wanted to give the delivery guy the tip. He handed it to the guy and he asked if he had a piggy bank and then he gave my son a $1 back to put in his bank ❤️" – kgwhit_

"I was sitting with my friend at Balboa Park and one of the vendors just walked over and handed us each a large slice of watermelon. It was a hot day and it was just so generous and kind." – lorimitchellart

"A man stopped his car in the middle of a very busy intersection, to get out and help a family of geese get across the street. It was a sight that my description does no justice." – christollbertson

"A few years ago I was at the vet’s office with my dog. I overheard a guy telling the vet that he couldn’t afford his dog’s surgery. The vet told him that he was not going to let his dog die and that he would perform the surgery even if he couldn’t pay him back." – norms1111

"I work at a grocery store as a cashier and one time the food stamp card system was down in NYS. People were having issues all day and everybody was getting understandably frustrated. This man was trying to pay but of course it wasn’t working. I asked him if he had another way to pay and he said no. The lady behind him handed him some cash and told him not to worry about it. She bought a week’s worth of his groceries, no big fuss made about it. Almost made me cry on a very tricky day❤️ – paytonncotter

"When we lived in Iran, we would escape to a green city (no fly zone) when the war would get really active. During one of these times, we had to drive over the mountain in the snow and fog (dead of winter) and with my Mum sick with bronchitis. When we got to the other side, my father and uncle decided to rent a hotel so Mum could rest, but we were in a random town and didn’t know what was around. Eventually, around 2.30 am, we came across what looked like a motel and went inside.

"There was one man there. He gave us a dingy, tiny room to share, looked at my Mum a couple of times, then quietly told my father to take her to hospital (this is all relayed by my Mum. I remember bits and pieces only). My uncle and dad decided to take her while my three-year-old sister and I stayed back. Once they got to hospital, doctors pulled my mum aside and asked first if she had been abused or was in danger (because of how sick she was, they thought she might have been drugged or beaten and had internal bleeding), then once she confirmed she was safe, they took her inside and started treating her. While they were there, the man sat with my sister and me and told us to go to sleep. My sister fell asleep straight away, but I couldn’t, so he sat with me and reassured me everything would be okay. He asked about school, what my favourite subject was. Normal talk during scary times.

"I fell asleep at some point, and when I woke up, my father and uncle were bringing Mum back into the room. The motel owner made a pot of hot tea and brought bread, butter, jam and cheese for us to eat. For those who don’t know, most of us could only shop with vouchers and coupons during the war (rations), so this man was literally sharing his food with us during a time when food was scarce to begin with. Around 5.00 the next evening, we went to pay that man, and he put his hand to his heart and said he couldn’t accept our payment. No matter how much my family insisted, this man refused and said he was honoured to have helped us and to please be safe on our way to the green zone. I am an Atheist, but truly believe this man to be an angel on earth. Kindness is a currency you can never forget." – lucid_nomad

If you enjoyed these stories, you'll love Upworthy's upcoming book, "GOOD PEOPLE: Stories from the Best of Humanity," which includes 101 stories of human decency, kindness and compassion. Pre-order now on Amazon.

GOOD PEOPLE book cover

GOOD PEOPLE: Stores From the Best of Humanity

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