This dad knew exactly what to say when his son asked for a mermaid doll for his birthday.

"Now, how do you think a dad feels when his son wants to get this?"

That's the question YouTuber and proud dad Mikki Willis asked viewers, while holding a mermaid doll in a video posted online on Aug. 23, 2015, his son, Azai, trying not to smile in the background.


Some dads wouldn't be cool with their sons playing with Little Mermaid dolls or, you know, playing with dolls at all. But after a few chuckles, both Willis and Azai yell happily, "Yeah!"

Because this is great.

GIFs via Mikki Willis/YouTube.

Willis decided to support his son's decision to get whatever toy he wanted, without letting gender stereotyping get in the way. And — judging by the outpouring of support in the video's comments section — he's not alone in encouraging his son to like what he likes, stereotypes be damned.

The video — which Willis captured after a trip to the toy store for Azai to swap out one of his birthday presents — is gathering steam online. In just about two days, it's already garnered more than 236,000 views.

I'd say that's no coincidence, seeing as it touches on one very hot topic.

Gender stereotyping in toys is one issue making waves right now.

Just this month, retail giant Target announced it was phasing out boy-girl references throughout its stores in sections where "suggesting products by gender is unnecessary," such as toys, kids' bedding, and entertainment.

"There is no 'boy side' or 'girl side' to childhood," Melissa Atkins Wardy, a children's retail expert and business owner, told Upworthy in support of Target's decision. "Why would we tell a kid they can't like cars or pirates or fairies or pink? Go for it, kid."

Willis would agree — why limit what toys his son should and should not enjoy?

Willis explained that he wasn't at all surprised when Azai selected the mermaid toy.

"Many are asking me, 'How did you feel the moment Azai chose that doll?'" he wrote in the video's description. "The honest answer is, it didn't surprise me at all. Azai is equally fascinated by princesses and robots."

Check out the heartwarming video below:

If you've never seen a Maori haka performed, you're missing out.

The Maori are the indigenous peoples of New Zealand, and their language and customs are an integral part of the island nation. One of the most recognizable Maori traditions outside of New Zealand is the haka, a ceremonial dance or challenge usually performed in a group. The haka represents the pride, strength, and unity of a tribe and is characterized by foot-stamping, body slapping, tongue protrusions, and rhythmic chanting.

Haka is performed at weddings as a sign of reverence and respect for the bride and groom and are also frequently seen before sports competitions, such as rugby matches.

Here's an example of a rugby haka:

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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.

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via WFTV

Server Flavaine Carvalho was waiting on her last table of the night at Mrs. Potatohead's, a family restaurant in Orlando, Florida when she noticed something peculiar.

The parents of an 11-year-old boy were ordering food but told her that the child would be having his dinner later that night at home. She glanced at the boy who was wearing a hoodie, glasses, and a face mask and noticed a scratch between his eyes.

A closer look revealed a bruise on his temple.

So Carvalho walked away from the table and wrote a note that said, "Do you need help?" and showed it to the boy from an angle where his parents couldn't see.

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via Good Morning America

Anyone who's an educator knows that teaching is about a lot more than a paycheck. "Teaching is not a job, but a way of life, a lens by which I see the world, and I can't imagine a life that did not include the ups and downs of changing and being changed by other people," Amber Chandler writes in Education Week.

So it's no surprise that Kelly Klein, 54, who's taught at Falcon Heights Elementary in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, for the past 32 years still teaches her kindergarten class even as she is being treated for stage-3 ovarian cancer.

Her class is learning remotely due to the COIVD-19 pandemic, so she is able to continue doing what she loves from her computer at M Health Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming, Minnesota, even while undergoing chemotherapy.

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