10 things that made Upworthy smile this week

It’s been a particularly rough week on our little rock here, hasn’t it? I won’t rehash the tragic headlines, but phew. There’s just a lot right now.

Finding joy can be a challenge in such times, but it’s a vital element of being a healthy, functioning human. Sometimes that means looking for the helpers, sometimes it means seeing the bright lights in the darkness, and sometimes it means indulging in cute animal videos because even good news stories take energy to process.

We’ve got a full mix of it all right here for you:

1. More than 100,000 people rallied to raise more than $5 million in 24 hours to rescue Afghans on the Taliban’s kill list.

In an incredible show of humanity and solidarity with the Afghan people, donations from around the world poured in for a rescue mission headed up by former special operations veterans to get targets of the Taliban flown out of Afghanistan this week. Instagram meme maker Tommy Marcus (aka “Quentin Quarantino”) launched the vetted GoFundMe to pay the cost of at least one plane—$225,000—to rescue Afghan human rights workers, translators, and their families. It only took 38 minutes to reach that goal, and 24 hours to raise 20 times that much. Read the story here.

2. Teen who spends hours a day dribbling a basketball got a surprise from his neighbors.

He was afraid people might be bothered by the sound of his basketball practice, but it turns out they just wanted to encourage him in his talents. A group of neighbors pooled together to buy him a new basketball hoop for his driveway. He hopes to play in the NBA someday. Watch:

3. This Argentinian musician is literally a one-man band and it’s just mesmerizing to watch.

Santiago Moreno doesn’t just play classical flamenco guitar, which is difficult all on its own. He also plays an entire range of percussion while playing said guitar, and all we’re left saying is “WOW!” and “HOW?!?!” (Give him til 1:40 to get set up. It’s worth it, I promise.) Yay for human creativity and skill.

You can also see more of him performing here.

4. This grandmother’s reaction to getting some surprise slippers and new clothes is just so wholesome.

People recognize pure gratitude and love when we see it, and this is definitely both. Grandma “GB” is overwhelmed, y’all. But the best part is when she puts on a new outfit and in response to her grandson’s “Dang,” she immediately says, “I know.” Get it, GB. (You can follow GB and her grandson’s adventures on TikTok.)

5. A man built a garden in Harlem 10 years ago, which blossomed into a whole urban farming initiative for children and youth.

Humans of New York shared Tony Hillery’s story, and it’s touching people’s hearts widely. It’s a beautifully uplifting tale of transformation—of an abandoned garden, a community of children, and “Mr. Tony” himself. So many gems of wisdom in this. Read the story here.

6. A Polish Olympian auctioned her silver medal to pay for a baby’s surgery, and the company that won the auction insisted that she keep it.

Just five days after winning silver in the javelin throw at the Tokyo Olympics, 25-year-old Maria Andrejczyk put her hard-earned medal up for auction. She’d learned of a crowdfunding effort for an infant’s surgery in her home country of Poland and wanted to help. The supermarket chain that won the auction refused to accept the medal from her, and just donated the money instead. Goodness all around. Read the story here.

7. On a totally light and silly note, check out what happens when you add googly eyes to cut bell peppers.

Why oh why is this so delightful? Try to swipe through these pictures and not smile. It’s simply not possible. Definitely try this at home.

8. A deer brought her babies to meet her best friend, who happens to be a Golden Retriever, and holy moly the cuteness is too much.

Those of you with ovaries might want to prepare them for what you’re about to witness because mine nearly exploded watching this video. Sorry, not sorry. Buttons + G-Bro = BFF.

Golden Retriever And Deer Have Been Best Friends For 11 Years


9. Speaking of unbearable cuteness, this is literally the cutest thing I’ve ever seen and heard.

The “heard” part is vital here. Sound up for this. “Mine only best fwiend.” It’s absolutely too much and I can’t get enough.

10. Blind woman gets an uplifting surprise from a restaurant whose staff went above and beyond to wish her a happy birthday.

It’s always fun when a restaurant gives a patron a special birthday treat, but when TikTok user Natalie Te Paa realized the staff had created a Happy Birthday message for her in braille, her reaction was priceless. “So take heart,” she wrote, “despite how broken the world is right now…true kindness still exists.”

There you have it. Despite the brokenness that is so visible in our world right now, we can always find bright spots that lift our hearts, bring a smile to our faces, and restore our faith in humanity. We just have to look for them.

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