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.)

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less
Wikiimages by Pixabay, Dr. Jacqueline Antonovich/Twitter

The 1776 Report isn't just bad, it's historically bad, in every way possible.

When journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones published her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project for The New York Times, some backlash was inevitable. Instead of telling the story of America's creation through the eyes of the colonial architects of our system of government, Hannah-Jones retold it through the eyes of the enslaved Africans who were forced to help build the nation without reaping the benefits of democracy. Though a couple of historical inaccuracies have had to be clarified and corrected, the 1619 Project is groundbreaking, in that it helps give voice to a history that has long been overlooked and underrepresented in our education system.

The 1776 Report, in turn, is a blaring call to return to the whitewashed curriculums that silence that voice.

In September of last year, President Trump blasted the 1619 Project, which he called "toxic propaganda" and "ideological poison" that "will destroy our country." He subsequently created a commission to tell the story of America's founding the way he wanted it told—in the form of a "patriotic education" with all of the dog whistles that that phrase entails.

Mission accomplished, sort of.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.