+

Most people probably wouldn't peg their cellphone carrier as being particularly ethical.

Let's start with the fact that their plans and pricing are really confusing ... on purpose.


What is a "convenience fee"? We feel you, bearded Christian Bale.

Not to mention, the horrendous customer service at telecommunication companies is practically legendary. Some of these retailers reportedly don't even treat their own employees well.

So, even though we use our cellphones every day and pay a pretty substantial price for that convenience, it's not always a transaction we feel good about.

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, says it doesn't have to be that way.

Jimmy Wales is chairman of The People's Operator, a new(ish) mobile carrier that gives 10% of your bill to a charity of your choosing.

Jimmy Wales is best known for finding a better way to organize the world's knowledge. Now he's finding a better way to provide cell service. Photo by Nadine Rupp/Getty Images.

Here's how it's supposed to work.

You sign up for The People's Operator (TPO) the same way you would any other mobile company, except once you're enrolled (service is month-to-month) you get to pick a charity to receive 10% of your monthly bill.

TPO has been around in the U.K. for a while, and over there, you can pick any legitimate nonprofit organization. Customers in the states will pick from a list of TPO's current charity partners, including WWF, ASPCA, and the Children's Health Fund.

Not a bad deal for a cost you'd have anyway, but TPO does want something in return. They'll give your money to charity instead of buying ads if you agree to tell your friends to switch to their service.

TPO even hosts an ambitious, if a little redundant, social networking platform to rally support around specific causes.

OK, so it looks suspiciously like Facebook, with a sort of newsfeed-looking main page and trending topics on the side. But what it lacks in novelty it makes up for in purpose.

In a letter on TPO's website from Jimmy Wales himself, he asks users to "Pledge to yourself to move a big part of your digital life here. Make it a real living and breathing community force for good."

Here's the main page of TPO's social networking site. Image from TPO.com

The main draw here, then, is the "causes" pages, where you can interact directly with issues you care about and easily donate money.

Image from TPO.com

The most important question remains, though: Is TPO actually viable as a cellphone carrier?

Because what good is donating a portion of your bill if you don't get a working cellphone in return?

This is what cellphoning should look like. GIF from "Saved by the Bell."

The People's Operator uses Sprint's network, so coverage should be as strong as you're used to. (Smaller carriers like TPO, also known as mobile virtual network operators, essentially sell customers access to the big networks, but with their own brand, pricing, customer support, and marketing.)

TPO's prices also compare favorably to competitors like Straight Talk and Page Plus Wireless, though it's nearly impossible to do an apples-to-apples comparison across carriers. (Remember the whole thing about these plans being purposefully confusing?)

Still, TPO is so new to the U.S. that it's tough to say for sure if the service is all it's cracked up to be.

Whether TPO will really change the cell service game remains to be seen. But kudos to them for trying to do some good in a yucky industry.

On top of the monthly bill proceeds, The People's Operator has also pledged to give 25% of its profits to charity. Unfortunately, TPO has yet to become profitable.

In a lot of ways, The People's Operator still feels a lot like a wobbly-legged start-up with good intentions. To that end, the venture will only be a success in the U.S. if it can attract a big enough customer base to actually make a difference.

Let's hope The People's Operator stays afloat and finally gives us a cellphone carrier worth rooting for.

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.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

Keep ReadingShow less

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

Keep ReadingShow less