At the end of a hard week, Alison and Tod attempt to lift people’s spirits with a “joy bomb” of positive stories. First, a Florida student’s graduation speech brilliantly gets around the “Don’t Say Gay” law. Later, TikTok has a new dad who cares, and Mr. Rogers gets his own holiday in Pennsylvania.
Plus, cheers to stepmoms and a new mother shares the surprises that come with having a baby.
In a flurry of heavy headlines that constantly inundate our feeds, acts of good connect us back to our faith in humanity. Witnessing just one person go out of their way to make the world a better place is a powerful healing salve against apathy. It reminds us all of what we are collectively capable of creating. This is the philosophy that Upworthy wholeheartedly believes in, hence why we’re always sharing uplifting stories of people giving kindness, generosity and support to their fellow humans.
That’s also why we’re partnering with P&G, the maker of some of our favorite household products like Tide, Always and Pampers, to bring you the 2023 Acts of Good Awards, and celebrate the individuals who are giving back and strengthening their communities.
Think of it like the Oscars of kindness. Half as formal but twice as feel-good.
Besides providing the world with brands we know and trust, P&G is a company doing good acts, whether it’s supporting hygiene education, helping struggling communities gain access to basic necessities or delivering essentials for families impacted by disasters.
Here are just a few of the ways P&G's Acts of Good make meaningful impact:
Serving over 90,000 families affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program.
Closing America’s smile gap by providing oral care, products and education to millions with Crest and Oral-B.
Between May 12 - June 4, 2023, in partnership with P&G, Upworthy will be accepting nominations that shine a light on individuals who go above and beyond to help others in their community through their own #ActsOfGood. Be it the superstar volunteer or the person who rallies the neighborhood to support the local food bank. Odds are you probably know someone who is a perfect candidate. You might even be one yourself!
Based off a simple criteria—elevated effort, unique impact and how those actions reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to strengthen communities and inspire positivity and inclusion—three winners will be selected to receive a $1,000 donation to the non-profit organization of their choice.
Plus their good work will be celebrated on Upworthy’s social media. We know that #ActsOfGood are their own reward, but it’s even better when that kindness gets amplified.
Care to submit yourself or someone you know? Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the form for a chance to win and do even more good.
Eighteen year old Samantha Frye has traded college life for entrepreneurship, and she has no regrets.
Frye began working at Rosalie's Restaurant in Strasburg, Ohio at 16 as a dishwasher, working up the ranks as a kitchen prep, server, then line cook. All while working a second job, sometimes third job.
After graduating high school, Frye started college at Ohio State with plans of studying business or environmental engineering. But when she came back to work a shift at Rosalie’s for winter break, an opportunity arose—the owners had planned to sell the restaurant.
"I was thinking that maybe [buying] was something I wanted to do," she told News 5 Cleveland. "I had savings because I was saving for college, so I had quite a bit of money saved away. And I was like, I could possibly do this."
Frye acted on that gut feeling, and used her college funds to buy Rosalie’s. Now she spends every day at her new business, either in the kitchen, on the floor or in the office meeting with sales reps.
This Ohio diner is under new ownership: an 18-year-old who started out as a dishwasher and is carrying on a legacy of the past. https://t.co/7VShD0O6n0
Though Fyre's mother, Brandi Beitzel, confessed to USA Today that she wasn’t initially “on board” with her daughter abandoning college plans, over time she became very “proud” of her for forging her own path, and applauded her “drive and ambition.”
That sentiment is echoed both by Rosalie’s regulars and staff, who are amazing at the young woman’s drive and confidence.
“I just really think she's a great example of a young lady that is following her dreams and doing what she loves,” said Leanna Gardner, an employee.
It’s no secret that there are significantly less students attending college—down by about a million since the start of the pandemic. And while there are no doubt potential long term collective consequences to that, with exorbitantly high student loan rates, it’s easy to see why young adults would avoid massive debt for careers that don’t require a college degree.
And as Frye is proving by example—not going to college is certainly not a death sentence for one’s future. There are many ways to plant seeds for success. Honestly, college or no college, no matter which path is taken, there will likely be more uncertainty than there are guarantees. Perhaps the best bet then is trust those pings of intuition.
"You don't need college to make a decent living, and I think that's what a lot of people think nowadays," Frye attests. "Follow your instinct, honestly. If it feels right, just do it."
If you’ve always lived in a world with social media, it can be tough to truly understand how it affects your life. One of the best ways to grasp its impact is to take a break to see what life is like without being tethered to your phone and distracted by a constant stream of notifications.
Knowing when to disconnect is becoming increasingly important as younger people are becoming aware of the adverse effects screen time can have on their eyes. According to Eyesafe Nielsen, adults are now spending 13-plus hours a day on their digital devices, a 35% increase from 2019.1. Many of us now spend more time staring at screens on a given day than we do sleeping which can impact our eye health.
Normally, you blink around 15 times per minute, however, focusing your eyes on computer screens or other digital displays have been shown to reduce your blink rate by up to 60%.2 Reduced blinking can destabilize your eyes’ tear film, causing dry, tired eyes and blurred vision.3
ACUVUEhas been encouraging people to take time off social media and use their newfound time to see their vision, whether that's becoming a makeup influencer, focusing on athletics or embracing their unique talents.
Upworthy caught up with influencer, YouTube star and contact lens wearer Amber Alexander to talk about how she balances her social media use. Recently, she took a social media break while visiting her sister.
“I was able to slow down time and take in each moment,” she told Upworthy. “Being on social media 24/7 always puts me in a very overwhelmed and anxious state of mind, so it was so refreshing to put my phone down and see life from a clearer perspective. Every moment felt more meaningful.”
“As soon as I put my phone away, I was able to really connect with my family and cherish our time together. I saw how my peace of mind improved when I took a break from social media,” she continued.
Alexander understands how social media can have a huge effect on her self-esteem and productivity.
“Scrolling through social media often leads people to compare their own lives, achievements, and physical appearance to people they see online,” she told Upworthy. “It is unrealistic and discouraging to see so many attractive, successful people online 24/7. Also, being on social media takes up so much time from our day that could be used socializing with real people, going outside, and working towards meaningful goals.”
ACUVUE is challenging young people to take social media breaks to pursue their purposes, visions, missions, and dreams through its Where Vision Meets Sight campaign. But the campaign from ACUVUE is about a lot more than just personal development. They’d like you to inspire others by sharing what you’ve done during your social media break by using #MyVisionMySight.
Since May 10, 2023, Beyoncé’s "Renaissance" tour has been in full swing. And with a performer known for her show-stopping dance routines, you can bet that many loyal fans have picked up a move or two and plan to bust them out during a concert.
But one fan with some seriously next-level dance skills seems to be on par with Queen Bey herself. People are so enamored with his choreography that they are calling for him to become an actual tour performer.
A viral video shows the mysterious dancer unofficially warming up the crowd at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland, before Beyoncé was set to arrive, bringing audiences to life with his enthusiastic strutting, spinning and sashaying across the stage.
After receiving thousands of views, the video eventually made its way to Frankie Duncan, our previously unnamed dancer. Duncan immediately reposted the video to his account, writing in the caption: "The fact that I have become Beyoncé's unofficial warm up at her concert has me GAGGED!"
Other videos capturing the dance from different angles began pouring in from other concertgoers, who unanimously hailed Duncan’s impromptu number as “phenomenal” and declared his talents should be in the actual show.
“SERVED. ATE & LEFT NO CRUMBS,” one person commented.
“*starts a petition for Beyoncé to hire him*” wrote another.
Duncan’s viral dance moves eventually scored him an interview with Edinburgh News, where he shared that dancing to pop music was a passion ignited by his sister Trisha when they were both just kids and learning “Britney moves” together.
After Trisha passed away in 2019, Duncan fell “out of touch” with dancing—a relatable scenario for many, to be sure. But he had recently been getting back into the hobby as a form of “therapy.”
While “buzzing” in anticipation for Beyoncé, Duncan had a “spur of the moment” idea to bust a move. What began as a “wee boogie” quickly escalated into something much bigger after the crowd started cheering. After that, Duncan just “went for it.”
“I had an instant rush of adrenaline and it was like a fire in my feet that went from the souls of my feet all the way, and I just went into ‘Frankie entertainer mode’” he recalled.
And now, after having danced his heart out to an artist Trisha was a “huge fan” of and becoming widely recognized for it, Duncan describes the surreal moment as something out of a “fairytale.”
“I know that if [Trisha] was here right now then she would be so proud, so the last few days have made me emotional that my name is just alongside Beyoncé!” he said. We are also very proud of you, Frankie. Keep spreading joy!
Carpenter was a contestant on the very first season of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” shot in America. Hosted by the late Regis Philbin, the quiz show featured three "lifeline" options to help them with difficult questions, the most popular being able to “Phone-a-Friend.”
Carpenter had impressively not used a single lifeline for any of his questions. That is, until question 15. The million-dollar question, to be exact.
Philbin asked which U.S. President had appeared on the TV series "Laugh-In." The four options were Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.
That’s when Carpenter chose to call his father.
As soon as his dad answered the phone, Carpenter, all smiles, said:
“I don’t really need your help. I just wanted to let you know that I’m gonna win the million dollars."
Looking back, you can see the exact moment Carpenter realizes he’s won the whole damn thing—and it’s before the answers were even shown. He would go on to (correctly) choose Nixon, becoming the first ever top-prize winner in the entire “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” franchise worldwide.
And even now, a little over two decades later, it’s still such a boss move. Game shows might not have the same widespread appeal that they once did, but it's iconic moments like Carpenter’s phone call that still make them so fun to watch today.
Scenes from "The Lion King," "Toy Story 3" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas"
When we talk about beautiful images from the history of cinema, people often bring up the groundbreaking cinematography in Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane,” the spectacle of David Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia” or the majesty of Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon.” But unfortunately, animated films are often overlooked in the conversation.
A YouTube creator named Sugar decided to give animated films their due, so they edited together what they consider to be the “Some of the Most Beautiful Shots in Animation History” and set them perfectly to Chopin's "Fantaisie Impromptu, Op. 66."
Chopin’s piece was composed in 1834 but only became known after the composer died in 1849.
The clips in the video are all breathtaking, but they take on a greater significance because of how Sugar synced them up to the music. The classical music mixed with the fantastical animated images makes it feel like Walt Disney’s 1940 classic, “Fantasia.”
Sugar clearly has excellent taste and a broad knowledge of animation because the compilation contains clips from mainstream films such as “Kung Fu Panda,” “Mulan” and "Ratatouille,” but it also includes shots from lesser-known films such as “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind,” "Neon Genesis Evangelion" and “Millennium Actress.”
The piece is a lovely celebration of animation and a great introduction to animated moves that people may want to learn about. Sugar provided a list of the clips they used so people could find the movies they hadn’t seen and give them a look.
Some crafty parents really get a kick out of going all out to decorate their kid’s room. During the toddler years, this might be much easier. Some fluffy clouds painted here, a creative stuffed animal display there, throw a cutesy cartoon painting on the wall and call it a day.
But when that kid gets older and starts developing their own distinct personality, well, that’s another kettle of fish. Now you have outside input based on your child’s new tastes, never knowing if those tastes will last a few years or a few weeks. And often, it’s a complete departure from what was previously established.
Case in point: this mom who turned her daughter’s whimsical pink bedroom into an all-black goth girl fantasy in honor of the 6-year-old’s newfound obsession with Wednesday Addams.
In a video posted to her TikTok, Nicola Marie shares that the room makeover is a surprise. She is then seen turning the walls, bedspread, dresser, rug and curtains delightfully gloomy, all while the Wednesday Addams version of Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black” plays. Nice touch.
Marie was also really clever by incorporating dark purple hues and bold black-and-white patterns, staying true to the theme while adding some dynamic touches. Plus, you gotta love the three silhouette-y pictures showing Jenna Ortega as Wednesday doing her iconic dance right above the bed.
Marie revealed that this entire project cost $1,200 (yowza), but judging by her daughter’s elated reaction to the surprise, it seems well worth it.
And she wasn’t the only one in love with the design. Several adults—proudly still in their emo phase—wanted it for themselves. And even more applauded Marie for supporting what brings her daughter joy.
“Love when parents support their children’s interests,” the top comment read.
As for how Marie feels about the possible impermanence of her daughter’s obsession, she’s made it pretty clear in the comments section that she’s completely down with it. When one person joked, “The child: mom I don’t like Wednesday anymore,” she simply responded “The mom: cool, what’s next?”
Now there’s a mom as fabulous as Morticia herself.
Losing a ring is not an uncommon occurrence. People lose rings all the time, but there's a particular fear that comes with losing the precious item down the drain, mostly because you're likely to never see it again. Especially if it gets flushed down a toilet, which is why one woman had written off the anniversary ring she lost down the commode more than a decade ago.
Mary Strand received a beautiful, unique diamond ring for her 33rd wedding anniversary from her husband, Dave, according to NBC affiliate KARE 11. The ring slipped off of her finger 13 years ago when she was in her bathroom, and by the time she realized what had happened, it was too late.
“It was swirling around. I truly dove for it, and it went down the drain,” she told KARE 11.
Surely, the woman was frantic trying to rescue the ring before it took up residence with the fish, but Strand had no luck grabbing the ring before it swirled out of sight.
Hope was not immediately lost though. In a wacky coincidence, Strand's husband owns a drain and sewer company. The woman knew she had someone at her disposal who knew a thing or two about drains and would have the ring out in a jiffy. Dave did everything he could, according to KARE 11, including removing the entire toilet and searching the sewer line with a camera, but the couple had no luck recovering the ring.
"I was thinking, 'He'll never buy me another ring,' that's what I was thinking," Mary laughed while telling the outlet. "I felt really bad, because it was a gift."
\u201cRecently, we found a ring at one of our regional wastewater treatment plants. This is a rare occurrence, and we want to return the ring to its owner! Please contact us if you lost a wedding ring down the drain: MCES-Inquiries@metc.state.mn.us or 651-602-1269.\u201d
— Metropolitan Council (@Metropolitan Council)
Years went by with Mary assuming the ring had been lost forever until the Metropolitan Council posted on social media that a diamond ring was found at one of their waste treatment plants. Turns out, while workers were cleaning out the gunk from a machine, they spotted something sparkly that happened to be a diamond ring. The story about the found ring began circulating, which caused hundreds of people to inquire about it, but the Metropolitan Council wasn't letting the ring go without proof.
They compared the ring to photos that were submitted, but it was Strand's ring that looked like a match. According to KARE 11, two separate jewelers examined the ring and confirmed its likelihood to be a match for the photo of Mary's ring before it was eventually returned.
What a wild ride of coincidence that reunited a long-lost ring with its rightful owner. Hopefully, the ring has been properly sized—and sanitized—and there will be no more mishaps around drains that lead to another incredible tale of happenstance. Maybe, for their next anniversary, Dave will buy something that's easily tethered so it doesn't meet the same fate as the ring.
You can watch Mary be reunited with her ring at the Metropolitan Council below.