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The fortune cookie note that helped her heal after a friend was murdered.

'I wanted so much to hold him, to tell him that I love him.'

Amanda will never forget what she was doing at 4:59 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 7, 2011.

Gabe, her best friend and boss, had just given her the following day off from work.

"I was delighted to not have to work on a Saturday," she explained. "So I said, 'Wow this must be my lucky day.' And he said, 'Yes it is.'"


The following morning, Amanda got a phone call.

She learned there'd been a shooting at the event Gabe had been working — the same work event she'd been given off.

Amanda did what many best friends would have done...

...and tragically arrived at her worst nightmare.

Beyond the yellow tape, she could see Gabe's body lying on the pavement covered in a white butcher's cloth from the nearby supermarket, which someone had placed on him.

"I wanted so much to hold him, to tell him that I love him, that he means the world to me," she recalls in a video for Upworthy. "And I couldn’t."

That was the day Amanda lost Gabe. Most of the world, however, remembers it as the day Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot in Arizona.

Gabe, a staffer for Giffords, was one of the six people murdered in the parking lot of a local grocery store at the "Congress on Your Corner" event on Jan. 8, 2011. Giffords was one of 13 others injured by gunfire.

Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, place flowers at a memorial for the shooting victims. Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images.

Mentions of Gabe's death and the others who died that day were repeated time and time again, as media outlets covered the tragedy in-depth for months. But most of the nearly 12,000 murders from guns each year across America get far less attention.

As the rest of the country read headlines surrounding the tragedy near Tucson, Amanda focused on moving forward with her life.

She decided to visit the place where Gabe had been shot to make peace with his death. There, standing amongst the flowers, heartfelt notes, and teddy bears honoring those who lost their lives, Amanda saw an inspiring message from a very unlikely source.

"My head was immediately drawn down between my cowboy boots, where I saw this tiny, rectangular piece of paper," she says. "And I picked it up and it was a fortune from a fortune cookie. And it said, 'You are often unaware of the effect you have on others.'"

To Amanda, it felt like a sign — like Gabe was sending her an important message she should know:

"It felt like a communication with Gabe, that I took to mean, 'Amanda, I had no idea I impacted so many people and I was so loved. And Amanda, you have no idea how you impact and affect people, and how loved you are.' ... All of us are often unaware of the affect we have on others, and it shouldn’t take tragedy for us to let one another know that ... to say 'thank you,' and 'I love you.'"

It's a powerful reminder for any of us, wherever we are in our lives, regardless of what we're dealing with: No matter who you are, you have an impact, you are loved, and the world is a better place because you are in it.

Watch Amanda tell her story in this Upworthy Original video:

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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