Lynn Johnson first discovered the legendary turtle hat after a painful slog through Purgatory in 1996.

Purgatory Resort in Colorado, that is, where Johnson was skiing with friends and ended up tearing his ACL on the slopes.

But on that fateful night, as he hobbled his way to dinner, he saw the green, shell-patterned flatcap shining like a beacon in the gift shop. So of course he plopped it on his head right then and there.


The turtle hat goes to the beach. All photos provided by Lynn Johnson and used with permission.

The hat soon became his trademark accessory. He wore it on vacations and on his days off. He found it bestowed him with an almost magical sense of delight.

It didn't take long for Johnson to notice the remarkable ways his turtle hat could disarm any situation and immediately put people at ease. "When I’m out without it [the hat] I can notice the difference. It’s a good prop, like a smile, and you already cross that 'Oh, we’re friendly' line," he said.

A turtle hat with its turtle-turtle friend. (I'm not sure if they can tell the difference?)

But the more he wore the hat with cheerful powers, the more it wore out.

Within five years, his beloved turtle hat had started to fray; its once-bright-green shell now faded to a dullish brown. He had the lining changed, but after the tags still fell off, he realized he'd never be able to find its creator. Still, he refused to throw it away.

"My daughters, now grown and married, hardly remember a time I did not have the turtle hat," he said on Kickstarter. "For them it is rich with memories of relaxed days when Dad let his hair down."

After 16 years, Johnson did find another turtle hat waiting for him in an online vintage store — but soon that one too succumbed to the pressures of weather and wear.

Lynn Johnson pouring champagne at his daughter's wedding — while, of course, wearing his turtle hat.

After two decades of turtle-hatted-happiness, the future was looking bleak and hatless for Lynn Johnson — until a brilliant plan broke through the shell of his mind.

After reaching out to some friends in the clothing industry, Johnson realized he could use the pattern from his existing hat to have a new one custom-made! ... The only problem was that he needed a minimum order of $5,000.

Even for him, that's a whole lot of turtle hats.

So on Aug. 26, 2016, Johnson launched a Kickstarter campaign to sell his turtle hats — and in less than a week, he passed his goal. "I want to share the fun of a hat which has given my family laughter and joy for 20 years," he said. "It is a self help course in chilling out."

The original turtle hat, disassembled and turned into a pattern for the new production line.

Of course, a great power like the turtle hat also comes with great responsibility, and Johnson makes it clear that ownership is a commitment.

"You cannot take yourself too seriously with a turtle on your head," he explained in his official campaign disclaimer. "If you are easily offended or do not have a good sense of humor, please do not get a hat for yourself, get it for someone you want to give a hard time and have a good laugh with!"

And, yes, he even expanded on these rules by stipulating the Terms and Conditions of wearing a turtle hat on his website, such as "You must slow down when wearing this hat... Turtles never run over anyone."

Lynn Johnson blends into the woods when he goes out walking in his turtle hat.

Yes, the turtle hat is a little corny. But it's Johnson's genuine sincerity that makes his story so endearing.

It's hard enough to watch the turtle hat campaign video without feeling a big, goofy smile alight across your face. So imagine the positive effect it would have to see a turtle hat in real life. Thanks to Johnson, that kind of wholesome happiness is spreading. Slow and steady might win the race — but sometimes silliness makes it worth running in the first place.

You can check out Johnson's charming campaign video below and buy your own turtle hat as well, if you still need some help coming out of your shell.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

It's hard not to lose hope. It would be easy to let the fuming rage consume every bit of joy and calm and light that we so desperately want and need. But we have to find a balance.

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