This son sent his mom a life-size cutout of himself. She got the last laugh.

Dalton Ross wanted to make sure his family didn't miss him too badly while he was studying abroad in London.

To help them cope, the 22-year-old Tennessee native did what any selfless college student would do: He sent his mom a life-size cutout of himself.


All photos courtesy of Dalton Ross, used with permission.

"I thought maybe they'd put it in the living room corner until I got back to remember I exist," he explained about the cutout, which came with a short note: "You're welcome."

But like any clever mom, Susan Talley couldn't just stash this amazing piece of work away when it arrived about two months ago.

No, no — she had better plans in mind.


Talley decided the cardboard version of her son could be a great companion "while the real one is in Europe." So she brought him along with her to events, like basketball games ...


Can you spot cardboard Dalton in the stands?

... trips to the doctor's office ...

... and sub sandwich runs.

Fake Dalton celebrated Valentine's Day with a fellow inanimate object.

He enjoyed playing with a furry, four-legged friend in the sunshine.


And he appreciated a good bedtime story, just like the rest of us.


The photos of fake Dalton are spreading like wildfire.

Without showing her son the photos first, Talley went ahead and uploaded them to Facebook. And after Dalton shared them on Imgur — explaining his mom "seems to be entertaining herself" while he's gone — the story sent the Internet into a buzzy frenzy.

"The attention is crazy," Ross told Upworthy, noting the story has gained so much traction that a restaurant featured in one of the photos, O'Charley's, sent the family a gift card.

"I hope my mom's holding up all right," he said. "It's awesome though."

Fake Dalton has been to the batting cages ...

... taken in some city nightlife ...

... and celebrated Easter with his family.

Although the viral reaction to the photos has been a bit nuts, Ross isn't all that surprised his mom was up for a good laugh.


"Oh yeah, my mom is very funny," he explained to Upworthy. And it's a good thing, too: Laughter can be a great tool in improving the quality of family dynamics and boosting a loved one's emotional health. (A student studying abroad should especially keep that in mind, considering being away from loved ones and familiarity can be tough.)

"We're a big family of jokesters."

Bravo, mom, for setting the bar very high ahead of April Fools' Day.

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.