Nowadays, lives go by in an instant. Moments are captured in videos and photographs, and then gone forever, never to be returned to again. We learn that life is short, that it's only worth a damn because of its short nature. So we're conditioned to go, to grind, never to stop. We're bred to look out for #1, to get yours and to win. Many of us are stuck living lives based on progress rather than presence. We don't stop to admire the view, and we try to catch up on what we've missed through the 4 inch screens of our cellular phones. When others are hurt, when others need help, it's so damn easy to look the other way and keep going, to forget about it because what's in it for you, right? But the most precious moments are the ones that take us out of ourselves, the times when we go against the law of natural selection and put another's interest and well being, no matter how foolish or stupid it may seem, before our own. The fifteen videos on this list show outlying examples of people trying to be good, and proof that no matter the wars we've fought, the genocides and the atrocities of human history, there is always hope for a better you, a better humanity, and a better tomorrow.
For most of us, the years of our childhoods are spent in front of a television screen, goofing off with our friends, hating school, and getting into trouble. Compassion is a difficult concept for most people, especially in our youth when most of us are often still throwing temper tantrums and always wanting more than what our parents could give us. How many of us can say that we made an effort to be good and to do something good for others when we were just kids ourselves? In this video, published by USA Today, 8-year old Washington youth, Alex Mckelvey and her mother, are featured performing just a few of their 600 acts of kindness they aim to complete before her late grandmother's 61st birthday. Her late grandmother, Linda Mckelvey, was a kind and charitable woman, who inspired them to show the best of themselves and do the best for other people. Alex and her mother wake up at 5 am to volunteer at the food shelter, pay for a stranger's bill during breakfast, give their waitress a $100 tip and tape lottery tickets to gas pumps, all in honour of Linda.
Most of us know Steve Harvey (You Got Served, Think Like a Man, Madea Goes to Jail) as a fun-loving, happy-go-lucky comedian and actor, as well as a very popular host on Family Feud, and on his very own talk show. However, many of us don't know Steve Harvey as a broke, homeless, young man, trying to make it as a comedian in the ruthless world of showbiz. Before his success, Harvey often slept in his car and showered at gas stations or swimming pools when doing gigs for shows that didn't provide a hotel room. Those familiar with Harvey know that when he's on the screen or on stage, you know to expect a few laughs. What people don't expect from Harvey are a few tears, which there were plenty of on Harvey's birthday episode of his talk show in 2013. Producers set up a surprise birthday call for Harvey from Rich Liss and his wife, Becky, who gave Harvey his first contract for a cleaning business Harvey started, as well as an unlimited account in their travel agency to allow Harvey free travel as he tried to get his career started. The phone call brought Harvey to tears instantly, as he told the couple he'd never forgotten all they had done for him and he had been trying to locate them for years. He ends the call by telling Rich that he would send a plane for them to come on the show, and the words "I love you," were spoken numerous times before the call ended.
With the Black Lives Matter movement making waves in America and conquering headlines, it's easy to forget that there are plenty of good, honest officers risking their lives to serve and protect everyday. With media outlets perpetuating the stereotype and fueling the fire, we're bombarded with stories of cops that overstep their authority and abuse their power. We're shown stories of officers shooting innocent people in the back, and using excessive amounts of force. What we're NOT SHOWN are the thousands of officers who are doing their duty and upholding the law, day after day. This video shows Deputy Sheriff Stan Lenic, protecting the first amendment rights of two people handing out information at an airport and filming in an area that they are lawfully allowed to film in. Airport security and officials request that they stop filming and tells them that they are arrested, and Sheriff Lenic refuses, telling airport officials that they are acting in accordance to the law and he has no cause to arrest them or ask that they stop filming. The video was published on The Alex Jones Channel and has been viewed over 3.8 million times.
Quoting a line from Ang Lee's Life of Pi, "When you look into an animal's eyes, you are seeing your own emotions reflected back at you." Although it was a masterful film, I have to disagree with this beautiful line. When I see people risk their lives to save an animal, I see the beauty of the human soul and our potential as a species to grow. We are at a time when gun crime is at an all-time high in the United States, and terrorism is inciting fear in the hearts of millions across the globe, and in such times it's easy to forget that there is good in this world. I believe when we look into the eyes of an animal, we see innocence. We see a being that normally is in need of our help to survive, whether it be feeding the stray cat in your neighbourhood, or helping a family of ducks cross the road. When the news is filled with bloodshed and car bombings, it's easy to forget that there are good people in this world. This video published by Charts Top Ten, shows 10 of the most inspiring dog rescues across the globe, showing that although there are people who spread destruction, there are also people who are willing to lend a helping hand where others wouldn't even bat an eyelid.
In the world of sports, athletes are often taught that "winning is everything", and sometimes fans are just as driven as the players. The most widely viewed sport in the world is soccer, and as many have seen in news reports or videos circling the social media realm, sometimes soccer fans go too far. It has reached the point where soccer fans have become notorious for their obnoxiousness and rudeness, sometimes even going to the point of inciting riots where major police intervention is required. During the UEFA Euro 2016 Championship that took place in France, the final match took place on July 10, 2016, between Portugal and the home team of France. In the end, Portugal came out on top defeating France 1 - 0. As many Portuguese fans around the globe celebrated, French supporters had their hearts broken. In this video, one young adult fan in particular takes the loss very hard and begins to cry. Next to him, a young boy wearing a Portugal jersey stops his cheering and notices the man crying and begins to console him, showing true sportsmanship at an incredibly young age!
ABC's What Would You Do? original program, has achieved phenomenal success and for good reason. The program puts real people in real life situations and tests how people would react to situations and topics that are highly controversial, yet very important to our identity as a society. In this particular segment, an employee at a bakery makes incredibly racist comments and refuses to serve a Muslim woman while bystanders watch. Many are shocked and appalled by the racist comments and leave, refusing to ever enter the store again. However, there are many that also agreed with the man and even went as far as to cheer him on, telling him he's doing the right thing. The video is painful yet important to watch, showing the different types of people and the different views surrounding immigration, particularly middle-eastern immigrants, who have somehow become synonymous with terrorists in some of the more ignorant minds of the world. What's more important to note are the many people that stand up for the woman, showing the love and compassion that people are capable of.
Mr. Jeffrey Wright is the epitome of what every educator should aspire to be. The video was published on Youtube by The New York Times with the description, "Jeffrey Wright uses wacky experiments to teach children about the universe, but it is his own personal story that teaches them the true meaning of life," and that description could not be more accurate. The video begins with students praising him, saying it's impossible to fall asleep when he's leading the class. Primarily teaching physics, one of the most intimidating and often-thought-of-as-boring classes in high school, Wright finds ways to keep students engaged, even going as far to let a student smash a cinder block on his chest with a sledge hammer. When interviewed, Wright says: "Schools have 'em for 6 hours a day and then the kids go home and whatever atmosphere they have around for the other 18 [hours] affects them. Schools can change a lot, but we also have to realize that they go home to a completely different environment." He goes on to say how his students open up to him some telling him that they are being beaten at home, hear gunshots outside their windows, or even that they've run away. What's truly inspiring about Wright is his positive and loving attitude despite his own personal hardships trying to raise a son with Joubert Syndrome. He tells his students about how he was angry with God, cursing him for doing something so horrible to someone who didn't deserve it. He says eventually he realized it didn't matter how things worked, it's why things work that matters. "There's something a lot greater than energy, there's something a lot greater than entropy. It's the fact that what's the greatest thing? Love. That's the WHY we exist."
In another segment of ABC's What Would You Do? strangers are given the opportunity to stand up and defend the rights of a homeless stranger. For those of us living in the lower-middle to upper-middle class, we see people like this everyday: panhandlers on street corners, homeless people sleeping on benches, people waiting outside the convenience store asking if you could spare change after your purchase. Most of the time, most of us look the other way, pretend they're invisible or politely say: "sorry I don't have any change on me". Sometimes that's a lie and sometimes it's the truth, but most of the time we have the opportunity to help, but we don't. Whether it's because we were taught as children to avoid those people, or taught as adults that it's detrimental to society to encourage panhandling, more often than not we do not lend a helping hand. In this scenario, a woman brings a homeless man into a restaurant and puts $20 on the table, telling him to sit down and have a meal. After the woman leaves, the bartender kicks the man out, but also takes his $20. What would you do?
What we often forget when we look at the homeless living on the streets is that they are people too. They aren't all thieves and drug addicts, and even if they are, they usually aren't the painting of evil and neglect that they are brought out to be. Most of the time, people on the streets are those who just had a stroke of bad luck during hard times, and never had any help getting back on their feet. GiveBackFilms published this video in November of 2013, and has accrued over 2.6 million views since. Josh, Kyle and Andrew of GiveBackFilms, walked the streets of Georgia interviewing the homeless. Instead of viewing them as trash, they took the time to stop and listen to their stories of how they ended up on the streets and more importantly the type of people they are. They learned that the people they spoke to didn't start off homeless, they weren't born beggars and they feel the same joy and pain that we all do. Not only did they give these people the care and respect they deserved by listening and sharing their stories, after each interview they handed them $200 cash, making their days and showing the world that we shouldn't be so quick to judge people based on their predicaments.
There are celebrities that refuse to sign autographs. There are celebrities that refuse to talk to their fans in public. There are celebrities that let fame get to their heads and forget they are just a person like anyone else in this world. There are those celebrities, and then there is Florence Welch from Florence and The Machine, who takes the time out of her busy schedule to perform for a cancer patient (Karinya Chen) in an Austin, Texas hospice, who was too sick to attend her show. Not only does she visit her, Welch sits at her bedside singing with Chen, harmonizing with her and her friends who stand in the background singing along, doing the best they can to create the concert atmosphere for their sick friend. Welch encourages everyone in the room to sing along, constantly complimenting Chen on her singing talent, singing whatever song Chen requested. The moment was incredibly powerful, with lyrics from Shake It Out and Dog Days Are Over echoing in the background.
Part of a marketing campaign by Chevrolet, the Chevy True Stories video went viral in 2014 collecting over 3.9 million views to date. The video tells the story of two sons trying and failing to find their father's 1965 Chevy Impala. Their father's story is one that is very common; a new parent in over his head, needing to sell his most valuable possessions to make ends meet for his family. For Herb Younger, that item was his 1965 Chevy Impala that he sold 20 years prior. Now with families of their own, his two sons searched for and tracked the car down, but always seemed to be a few steps behind as the car moved from owner to owner. Growing desperate, the sons considered hiring a private investigator. In a last ditch effort, they tried another random online search and as fate would have it, the search pulled through and their father was in for the biggest surprise of his life.
When we're young we often have few possessions and things to call our own, making what we do have all the more important to us. 9 year-old Bryce of Cleveland, OH, was walking to a friend's house when he had his entire collection of Pokemon cards stolen right out of his hands. Bryce's mother quickly called the police and with the help of other neighbourhood boys, were able to track down the thief who stole Bryce's cards. However, when reclaiming the stolen collection, many of the cards were still missing. Having done his duty, Officer Jimmy Grotenrath could have gone home and called it a day, but feeling Bryce's pain he couldn't leave things as they were. Grotenrath went home and dug through his closet, finding his own personal Pokemon card collection from his youth. Returning to Bryce's house, Grotenrath gave his collection to Bryce, saying "It's a priceless item, but it's better to see someone else smile."
As children, most of us haven't experienced enough of the world to achieve the virtues of compassion and empathy for our fellow human beings. Normally the younger we are, we're more prone to selfishness and to be materialistic, but not for Ian McMillan. Published by ABC News in July of 2011, a young boy (McMillan) is captured on video catching a foul ball in the stands of an Arizona Diamondbacks game. Normally it's catchers keepers, losers weepers, when it comes to foul balls at an MLB game and sometimes you can even see grown adults fighting for them. In a rare moment caught on camera, 12 year old McMillan catches the foul ball, and elated, returns to his seat with his friends. Seconds later, he notices a younger boy crying a few rows ahead of him, crushed that he didn't get the ball. McMillan instantly walks down the aisle and hands the young boy the ball, not thinking anything of it. After the game McMillan was rewarded with a signed bat and has become an inspiration to children and even adults, who aren't used to seeing such kindness.
In May of 2015, ABC's Denver 7 Network published a video of Tanner Brownlee, the son of a police officer who died in the line of duty. Once he learned that his father's retired squad car would be up for auction, he took all his savings and planned to spend it all to buy his late father's car, something of his father's that he could keep forever. The Dodge Charger was valued at $12,500, much more than Brownlee could afford. At the auction, bids quickly shot up and once his limit had come and gone, Brownlee realized he would be unable to buy the car he so badly wanted. Crushed, he heard the final bid go through and saw the keys of his father's car be handed to a stranger, Steve Wells. However, once Brownlee took a second to look up, Wells immediately handed Brownlee the keys saying only: "Tanner, here's your car". The young man was quickly brought to tears, and could say nothing more than words of thanks to a stranger who had just spent tens of thousands of dollars and asked for nothing in return.
Dennis Cee of DENNISCEE TV decided to do a social experiment in May of 2015, dropping his wallet on a busy street corner to see what strangers would do. The first few attempts went smoothly and pleasantly with onlookers quickly shouting to let Dennis know he had dropped his wallet. However, in the last attempt, no one said a thing and they watched to see how long it would take for someone to pick it up. A man with a prosthetic leg eventually picks it up and studies its contents. He then goes into a nearby shopping mall and appears to make several purchases with Dennis' credit card. However, things are not what they seem. What the man does next after leaving the shopping mall will shock and inspire you. The video was published in May of 2015, and has received over 13.2 million views!