They only knew each other online. They finally met in real life, and it was amazing.

Goodness, have our views on the internet changed!

When I first got dial-up, I was 14, it was 1998, and AOL was all about taking over the world (if not with connectivity then at least with the 700 CDs they sent to your house each month). My parents had two rules: Don't tie up the phone lines (broken immediately), and never meet someone from online that you don't already know.

Years later, as an adult with a cable modem, their advice seems pretty dated. In fact, society's gone from never meeting strangers online to doing all our dating on Tinder and asking people we've never known to give us rides from one place to another. Our only requirements? That they be nearby and have at least a 4.7 driver rating. (This is only for adults, though! Don't let your kids meet strangers from Minecraft!)


Friendships have changed as well.

For years, everyone debated whether the people you talk to online — in chat, in games, on Skype — were actual friends or just people behind a computer screen. Now, some of our best pals are those we know from online, proving that humans can connect across states, countries, and oceans.

Want more (very adorable) proof? Here's a video of two lifelong friends who are meeting in person for the first time.

This story, which started on Reddit and has now gone viral nearly everywhere, goes something like this: Reddit user Core330 (Corey Walker) and his best friend live hours and hours away from each other. So they Skype. And since they both have daughters, they've introduced the kids — Kylie and Jalyssa — via internet as well. The result? A four-year friendship that's been screen-only.

Then something amazing happened. After years of trying to make a real-life meeting happen, Walker and Jalyssa drove down to meet Kylie for her birthday. The twist? Neither Jalyssa nor Kylie knew it was happening. What followed was an adorable surprise that — well, just have some tissues handy.

Look what happened:

I found this online. This is great! 😂🤣😂🤣

A post shared by Corey Walker (@core330) on

Just kidding: Here's the real, heart-warming video. Note how it starts with the most important question: "Are you real?" (Always ask that! You never know when it's just a lizard person trying to fool you into a state of false security!)

TAG YOUR BESTIES I’m sharing a special moment today: My daughter @kyliemyricks and her best friend @princesslyssw have spoken everyday for the last 3-4 years on FaceTime (thank you @apple) and never met in person. (Their dad’s are childhood friends and hooked it up) so this week, for @kyliemyricks’s birthday @core330 drove 7 hours to us to make sure they met 🙀. It was a total surprise to both of them. Earlier, Kylie fell off her bike and hurt her knee real bad (why she’s limping) so this really cheered her up, one of the best birthday surprises ever!!! 💖😫✌🏽I’m so happy right now, I shed another tear lol. I’m so happy for my babies. I uploaded a vlog of the moments before and after the surprise. Me and @stalley we’re so suspicious LOL. You can watch it on the link in my bio. 💖 #apple #facetime #blackgirlmagic #shotoniphone #imnotcryingyourecrying

A post shared by @ aieshaarab on

You ever see a hug that long? Here's the full video if you're looking to turn your day from lackluster to "so full of joy, I gotta take off early and go sit in a park and contemplate life or something."

Kylie and Jalyssa got to spend the night together, and it appears that their friendship has only grown stronger. They found (nice, friendly, platonic) love in an online place, and it seems like the recipe for a lifelong friendship. They even wore matching pajamas!

Never underestimate the power of friendship.

Of course, the internet loves Kylie and Jalyssa. They've made it onto "Today" and both regular folks and luminaries have been loving it (Marc. A Cherry said it was the best thing any of us would see today). One Reddit user even talked about how they'd been questioning how hard their life had been before they saw the video. Watching two little girls have their dreams come true, though? It made it all worth it. "I needed this," the user wrote. Didn't we all?

In the spirit of this adorable video, maybe take a second to reach out to a friend you haven't talked to in a while today. Or call up someone who you love. After all, if there's anything these best friends should inspire, it's a reminder to tell the people in your life how wonderful and important they are. Now if you'll excuse me, I have something in my eye. (It's tears, OK? It's tears.)

True

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."

Canva

Dr. David McPhee offers advice for talking to someone living in a different time in their head.

Few things are more difficult than watching a loved one's grip on reality slipping away. Dementia can be brutal for families and caregivers, and knowing how to handle the various stages can be tricky to figure out.

The Alzheimer's Association offers tips for communicating in the early, middle and late stages of the disease, as dementia manifests differently as the disease progresses. The Family Caregiver Alliance also offers advice for talking to someone with various forms and phases of dementia. Some communication tips deal with confusion, agitation and other challenging behaviors that can come along with losing one's memory, and those tips are incredibly important. But what about when the person is seemingly living in a different time, immersed in their memories of the past, unaware of what has happened since then?

Psychologist David McPhee shared some advice with a person on Quora who asked, "How do I answer my dad with dementia when he talks about his mom and dad being alive? Do I go along with it or tell him they have passed away?"

McPhee wrote:

Keep Reading Show less
True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!