Inspiring Stories

When Shaq Overheard A Man Struggling To Purchase An Engagement Ring, He Did This

By | Food for thought, generosity, inspiring, Inspiring Celebrities, inspiring celebs, Inspiring Stories, sports, stories, uplifting news

Shaquille O’Neal is a very famous, accomplished, and wealthy man – but he recently showed yet again that what he’s truly rich in is generosity.

A true gem

Recently, the NBA superstar was at an Atlanta-area Zales store, where he actually has his own jewelry collection. That’s when he saw a man about to purchase an engagement ring – and took out his own credit card to pay for it. He told the story to NBA on TNT.

“I seen a guy come in — he was just so shy and he was saying, ‘Hey, how much do I owe to pay off my ring?’”


“And I was like, ‘How much is the ring?’ ” he said, and then stepped in to pay instead of the man at the counter.

Shaq then gave his card to the cashier, and shook the hand of the customer, who seemed kind of shocked at what was happening.

“I always get off 30 minutes before you come in here,” the cashier told Shaq, also excited at what they were witnessing.

An elite philanthropist

Shaq is known for his charitable actions and kindness to others. During the pandemic he bought a fan a computer at Best Buy. He also donated all the proceeds generated from his Super Bowl party in Miami to the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation as well as the families of the helicopter crash victims.

He be a legendary athlete, but he also seems to be a legendary kind of good guy.

Copy the play

Most of us aren’t as wealthy as Shaq, but there are other ways to follow his lead in the generosity department. Resources other than money, like time, expertise, love, and support could all greatly help someone in need. Just stay alert and willing, and you could be reaching Shaq levels of charity in no time.

More inspiring celebrities:

Woman Unceremoniously Dumps Toxic Boyfriend After Constant Body Shaming

By | body positivity, dating, Food for thought, inspiring, Inspiring Stories, relationships, stories, uplifting news

One body-shaming boyfriend learned a hard lesson about respect when he crossed the wrong girl.


23-year-old Shelby Johnson has spent years struggling with her weight. 

Things got so serious that as a teen, she had to be hospitalized after dropping down to a brittle 80 lbs. After that scare she managed to put on weight, along with self-esteem, she tells People.

“I haven’t been self-conscious in years. I was when I was underweight, but when I started getting to my goal weight my entire mindset changed”

– Shelby Johnson

“I felt more confident, more whole even. I knew that I was getting where I wanted to be and strived to be”

A devastating DM

Things were going so well that Johnson would even find a boyfriend who she thought loved and accepted her for who she was. 

That was until one day, when he DM’ed her with a particular complaint.

“It’s not like I haven’t told you you’ve been gaining and needed to lose anyway. You’re definitely getting a beer gut babe.”

– Shelby Johnson’s boyfriend, per her Tweet

In that moment, all of her insecurities returned, she shared.

“His comments did make me self-conscious. I started trying to work out 24/7. A couple friends noticed and expressed concern in my sudden desire to be so fit. ”

As she began to question her own response to her boyfriend’s message, Johnson took to Twitter to ask her friends if she was overreacting for feeling hurt.

Dumping dead weight 

She received more than just a second opinion.

Her tweet went viral, gaining nearly 39,500 likes and 5,200 from people telling her to dump her boyfriend, and that she’s beautiful already.

“He doesn’t deserve you. No need to keep that negativity around. You look great,” said one.

“Girl, dump him and find you someone who loves everything about you,” urged another.

Another commenter recommended an upgrade from her boyfriend.

“Dump him and buy a dog:)”

– @ktmlowe_ on Twitter

Johnson says that the overwhelming reaction “made me realize I wasn’t crazy for being hurt.” In another tweet, she announced that she dumped her boyfriend, joking that in doing so she was “dropping a hefty 180 lbs.”

Know your worth

Johnson says that although her now-ex-boyfriend was “really unhappy” about being dumped so publicly, he’ll use it as “a learning experience to be a better person.”

She just hopes that her painful experience serves as an eye-opener for women with similar experiences.

“Be careful, notice red flags and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and leave something that is no longer making you feel happy”

– Shelby Johnson

When it comes to relationships, compromises are important. It’s part of understanding, accepting and ultimately embracing one another.

However, one thing that’s non-negotiable is mutual respect. As Johnson’s story showed, anyone who disrespects or demeans you doesn’t deserve your time of day, let alone your love.

More uplifting stories:

Dad Gets Shamed For Video Of Daughter With Down Syndrome – Then, An Amazing Thing Happens

By | everyday heroes, Food for thought, heartwarming, Inspiring Stories, stories, uplifting news

One father in England defended his daughter against online trolls and found some famous allies in the process.

Video bombed

Neil Markham of Banbury, Oxfordshire, took his 16-year-old daughter Ella, who has Down Syndrome, to watch a soccer match between Tottenham Spurs and West Ham United one weekend.

Markham tweeted highlights of their fun-filled outing to share with his family.

“My social media life is really about my kids, it’s not really about anything else. My brother lives away and it was a way of keeping him in the loop,” he told the Daily Mail.

The proud pop posted a video of Ella decked out in Spurs gear at the stadium doing what he tells the Mirror she loves most, dancing. 

“She lives for music and dancing, whether it’s at home or in the house or a disco.”

– Neil Markham

“After the game, they had live music and I made sure we went there because she would love it — she was entertaining everybody around.”

Trolls attack

To Markham’s shock and disgust, Twitter trolls emerged and posted abusive and derogatory terms aimed at his daughter.

Markham immediately called them out.

“This girl would wish you nothing but happiness. Why do you need to be like this? Contact me directly rather than hiding”

– Neil Markham

A backlash

Markham’s post was retweeted over 1,600 times and quickly gained over 1.7 million views, with many posters coming to Ella’s defense and calling out her bullies.

“Your daughter is so beautiful! How anyone could ridicule her… let me at ’em!👊🏻 ,” tweeted someone.

Actress Patsy Kensit took notice and took aim at the bullies.

“I support this beautiful girl, this HUMAN BEING, and her brave fabulous father…come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough and then crawl back into your dark and disgusting hole.”

– Patsy Kensit

“Ella you are incredible. Sending love and light to you and your family. love @patsykensit❤❤❤.”

Spurs favorite Micky Hazard had warm words for Ella, and harsh ones for her abusers.

“Hey Neil your daughter is a beautiful young lady and that is such a beautiful photo of you both. Sometimes people are cruel because they don’t see the beauty but the vast majority do.”

Hazard then invited Markham and Ella to an exclusive gala dinner with Spurs favorites, which they accepted.

Positivity always prevails

After what he calls “the worst day of his life,” Markham told the Daily Mail that he has newfound confidence in human kindness.

“I was rock bottom on Saturday night and I feel so much better now and it can only be a positive thing.”

In the end, all Markham wants is something we all do.

“All I really want after tonight is to treat her as a normal person who would smile at you and doesn’t deserve to have fun poked at her.”

– Neil Markham

Finding positivity in your newsfeed or social media can often feel hopeless. There’s so much cruelty and conflict that it’s easy to lose hope — just ask Neil Markham.

However, he’ll also tell you that if you give people a chance, they’ll show you the kind of love and inclusivity that makes us all special, just like Ella.

For more uplifting news:

Woman Abruptly Dumped By Fiancé For Being Overweight Gets Ultimate Revenge

By | exercise, Food for thought, inspiring, Inspiring Stories, Motivation, stories, success stories, uplifting news, weight loss

One woman went from being obese to pursuing her dreams of becoming a beauty queen — and she has a shallow ex to thank for it all.

Couch sulking

Several years ago, life was a drag for Jen Atkin of Grimbsy, North East Lincolnshire. 

A self-confessed “couch potato,” Atkin tells The Sun that she would spend most of the time with her fiancé, sluggish and overeating.

“At weekends, we’d turn into virtual recluses sitting on the sofa in our pajamas eating takeaways.”

However, as her weight ballooned to 240 pounds, her fiancé shocked her by ending the relationship.

To cope with the pain, Atkin increasingly turned to her fridge.

“The day he left I thought my world had ended – I cried for weeks and used food as my comfort”

– Jen Atkin

From couch to crown

Then, one day, Atkin decided to end her pity-party and get to work.

She started walking regularly, going to the gym and being vigilant about what she ate. 

As the pounds dropped, her confidence soared. Atkin quickly gained momentum and over two years, she shed 112 pounds – half of her body weight!

Eventually, she built up the courage and charisma to enter the Miss Great Britain competition, the UK’s longest-running pageant. 

The event consists of several rounds including fashion wear, evening wear, and swimsuit and culminates in a panel interview. 

After finishing the contest as a runner-up, Atkin put her pageant pursuits aside to focus on herself until her name was put forward again.

She ended up winning Britain’s biggest beauty crown over 59 other contestants in the national final in Leicester.

For Atkin, the victory meant far more than a crown.

“Winning Miss Great Britain marks the end of a long and difficult, but also amazing, journey”

– Jen Atkin

There’s beauty in the struggle

Since winning the pageant, Atkin has only picked up the pace.

She launched a country singing career, with her debut single hitting No. 2 in the ReverbNation charts.

She’s also using her status to push for “clearer and easier” labeling on food to warn people if an item is unhealthy, which she says will “make it easier for everyone.”

Atkins now reflects on her difficult journey with gratitude.

“I was devastated but it ended up being the best thing that’s happened to me”

– Jen Atkin

While Atkin had painful experiences, they ultimately revealed what she’s truly capable of and her true worth. She used them to take her life in an amazing direction that even she didn’t know was possible.

Today, you can bet her shallow ex is probably sore from kicking himself.

The next time you feel like giving up, remember that your best is yet to come.

More uplifting news:

After Discovering She Was Abducted as a Baby, She Dedicated Her Life to Missing Kids

By | everyday heroes, Food for thought, Inspiring Stories, motivating, stories, uplifting news

There’s so many stories out there of children being kidnapped, and being in their teens before finding out their roots, if at all.

But imagine if that story went down a different path entirely and a woman was well into her more mature years of adulthood before she discovered who she really was.

That is the sad and heart-stopping to of Monique Smith-Person (not her birth name), who was a victim of child abduction, and didn’t find out until she was well into adulthood that her whole identity, and everything she believed about her life, was a lie.

Smith-Person was abducted as a baby and subjected to abuse by her new “mom.” When she found as an adult that she had been taken and the woman who raised her wasn’t really her mom, she was, and spent the next two decades trying to find out who she really is.

A life stolen

According to Smith-Person, the woman who claimed to be her mother falsified documents to enroll her in school and even gave her fake social security numbers. In fact, Smith-Person didn’t find out it was all a lie until she was an adult and tried to apply for a business license!

 “I’ve been a Jane Doe since 1967,” Smith-Person explained in an interview with WUSA9. “My sister told me the last time she saw me I was 1 years old. One day she saw me, the next day she didn’t and that was over 50 years ago.”

In the years since she discovered the truth about her upbringing, Smith-Person has dedicated herself to raising awareness for missing and abducted children, all while continuing the search for her true family.

It’s like I’ve been living in captivity for over 50 years and now I’m finally free!

She finally discovered where she came from

Monique Smith Person

The reunion took 50 years to happen, but came about as a result of a documentary about Smith-Person’s search for her true identity.

She discovered her given name was Symbolie and, though her real mom passed many years ago, she finally got the chance to meet one of her 6 siblings: her older sister.

“She’s amazing,” said Smith-Person of her emotional reunion with the sister she hadn’t seen for fives decades. “She’s loud, energetic, big smile just like me.”

The family resemblance between the two sisters is immediately evident, but Smith-Person has another “twin” in her family: her late mother.

 “To find out, out of all the children I’m the one who favors my mom,” Smith-Person explained. “To think all these years I’ve been looking for my mother, I’m staring into the mirror at the woman who birthed me!”

Learn from your pain

Just because this one woman found her identity doesn’t mean she is going to stop fight for those who weren’t as lucky. Smith-Person remains an advocate for missing children.

Smith-Person wants her story to stand as a lesson for those seeking their family or answers: never give up hope. It may take decades, but your moment can happen!

And in the mean time, you can do your best to help others who may be going through something you yourself have had to deal with in the past.

More everyday heroes:

How Lily the Barista is Changing Lives by Pouring Happiness

By | everyday heroes, Food for thought, heartwarming, Inspiring Stories, profile, stories

Many of us have fond feelings for the barista at our favorite coffee shop, but how many of us can say that their barista set off a seismic change in their life?

That’s the story Ryan Estis shared about Lily Olsen, a barista works out of a Starbucks in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The unforgettable cup of coffee

Estis, a business growth consultant, encountered Lily at her work and has been so impacted by her that he felt compelled to share his experience with the world.

Estis will never forget a cup of coffee he had when he interacted with Lily in that airport terminal on Christmas Eve, when she took the time to warmly greet him, introduce herself, and ask his name.

Hi, my name’s Lily… What’s your name?

It was more than about making a great cup of coffee or giving service with a smile– Lily took the time to talk to him and ask him about his day, where he was going, and actually showed genuine interest and care in her interactions with him.

Unbeknownst to Lily, Estis’ father had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. When he met Lily, he was heading home to spend a final Christmas with his dad– and he had no clue their conversation would change his perspective on life.

Who is Lily?

For over two decades – and that’s a long time to be at any job! – Lily has worked as a shift supervisor and barista at that airport Starbucks, taking the time to smile and greet every passenger and customer as they pass by.

What is your secret to making such meaningful connections over serving coffee?

Some might see being a barista as merely a stepping-stone to pay the bills before you join the big leagues, but this is the kind of job Lily has wanted her whole life.

“My dad had a store when I was growing up in Indonesia and I loved being able to talk to the customers every day,” she said in an interview with the Minnesota airport’s website.

Lily moved from Indonesia to the United States 25 years ago, and two short years later she found her calling as a barista.

I’m not serving coffee, I’m pouring happiness into people’s lives.

“I love to see all of the people come and go. There’s a lot of energy in the airport and it feels like a community—we’re all family here. There are so many different people from different countries passing through, and I want to hear all their stories about struggles and happiness.”

The impact of the people we overlook

One of the reasons many of us love to travel is we love to hear people’s stories and see how they live. The same experience can happen just by observing other people travel while staying in the same place… especially if that place is an airport coffee shop!

“Making people happy and building connections is my passion in life. I treat them like kings and queens so they come back again to see me. I want to learn their orders and personalize their drinks so they feel special. A smile goes such a long way!” said Olsen.

What we can learn from Lily

It wasn’t just providing great customer service or making delicious drinks– for Lily, her job is also about creating memories and making a connection with people. It’s about choosing to show up every day and make a meaningful impact in the lives of others whenever you get a chance. It’s about pouring happiness.

Lily is someone we can learn from in a big, important way.

As we go about our days, we interact with so many different people just trying to do their jobs, and often something like an airport coffee experience can seem forgettable and unimportant.

But when someone takes the chance to make interaction meaningful, by truly hearing and seeing you– that’s when lives can really change.

More everyday heroes:

After 24 Years of Struggle, This Homeless Man Was Reunited With His Lost Daughters

By | family, Food for thought, heartwarming, Inspiring Stories, news, stories, uplifting news

Sometimes, when it seems everything in life is stacked against us and we are, ultimately, all alone, we can feel hopeless. This is especially true when we do not have family by our side.

A perfect example is this story of a Florida-based homeless man who had not seen his daughters in more than twenty years. But he just had an emotional reunion that involved crossing the country and finding each other again, all because a kind-hearted police officer took the time to help him.

A family separated

Jose Lopez first lost touch with his then-teenage daughters when he separated from his wife and moved to Florida to be with his mother, CBS New York reports.

Lopez described the years without his daughters as “empty… That’s no way for anybody to feel.”

Years later he was able to track his daughters down and reconnected with them over the phone. They maintained contact for a couple years until, after a series of strokes and health setbacks, Lopez wound up homeless and had lost his memory of his daughters’ phone number.

When he was recovered enough to travel, Lopez set off for New Jersey, determined to reunite with his daughters.

He tearfully explained the motivation behind his long journey: “I had to, I wanted to, I needed to.”

From Florida to Jersey

Lopez set off with a little money he had saved up, but ran into trouble when he arrived in New Jersey — he didn’t know how to reach his daughters.

His fortune was reversed by the good will of NJ-based Crisis Outreach Officer Sean Pfeifer. “Mr. Lopez was intent on finding his family, and I wanted to make sure that I was there to help him with doing that,” Pfeifer said.

Pfeifer called everyone who could possibly be a family member until he found Lopez’s daughters. He then treated Lopez to a shave and haircut before the big reunion. 

The big reunion

Kristy and Angela Viviani couldn’t believe their ears when they got the call from Pfeifer, even thinking it had to be a scam. When Pfeifer explained that he’d come upon their father, lost but in search of them, they were overjoyed.

When Kristy and Angela finally reunited with their dad, they had their children in tow. Jose was able to meet his grandchildren for the first time and tears were shed all around as they embraced their grandpa for the very first time.

Some things never fade

“I remembered the eyes,” Kristy Vivani said of the moment they were reunited, while her dad exclaimed “My baby! My Kristy! My ballerina!”

The reunion also meant everything to Pfeifer. “To feel their emotion, behind the camera I was tearing up,” he said.

“I’m thinking I’m in heaven,” Lopez said. “I’ve got my two best girls. I got a good friend.”

The story of Jose Lopez, his daughters, and granddaughters is a powerful reminder of the undying power of familial love — and of the attention and care that every person deserves. Without Pfeifer’s aid, Jose may never have found his daughters again.

More powerful reunion stories:

This Little Girl Couldn’t Walk, So Her Teacher Carried Her on His Back

By | everyday heroes, Food for thought, Inspiring Stories, news, stories, uplifting

People with disabilities are often kept away from adventures, but with a little consideration and compassion, there’s no reason every child can’t experience the beauty and wonder of nature with their friends and classmates.

Ryan Neighbors is a 10-year-old 4th grader based in Kentucky with spina bifida. She uses a wheelchair to get around, but the class field trip was to Falls of the Ohio State Park, a non-wheelchair accessible site, so her teacher and her mom had to get a little creative.

“Normally with field trips like this, when they’re not accessible, we take an educational day and she and I go out and make our own field trip in the city,” her mom Shelly King explained.

This time, she planned on using a specially-designed backpack carrier to carry Ryan, and was talking to Ryan’s teachers about the plan.

He stepped up and agreed to carry the weight

That’s when Jim Freeman, Ryan’s science teacher, reached out and offered to carry Ryan on his back all day.

King wrote about that event on the “Team Ryan” Facebook page and it quickly went viral.

“Mr. Freeman stepped in and was like ‘Oh, I don’t mind carrying her, it’s completely fine,’” King said. “We were all just like ‘What?’ Like, fifty pounds of dead weight is kind of taxing on your body. He just stepped in out of nowhere and offered to do it.”

Because of this selfless act by Mr. Freeman, Ryan got to experience the day much like her classmates did. It’s a valuable lesson for us all about stepping up and doing what we can for those who need lifting up.

It’s also a valuable reminder about accessibility: we must be careful not to exclude people who are different than us and who need to experience things uniquely. It’s vital we find a way for everyone to be involved with the beautiful things in life. That difference is what makes life truly beautiful.

More stories about everyday heroes:

This Nurse Delivered a Baby Boy — Then She Took Him Home

By | Food for thought, heartwarming, inspiring news, Inspiring Stories, love stories, parenting, stories

Claire Mills is a young woman in her twenties who works a difficult and intense but incredibly important job. She makes her living working 12-hour nursing shifts in the neonatal intensive care unit at a Texas hospital.

Being around struggling babies can be emotionally tough, but Mills does it because she cares about each and every one who comes through the NICU. However, one particular baby caught ahold of her heart and the young nurse found she couldn’t let go. 

Everything changed when she met Jackson

Baby Jackson was born 5 weeks early and weighed just 3 pounds and 10 ounces. “It was an instant connection I felt with him,” Mills recalled of the delivery when she spoke to Inside Edition.

Jackson’s birth mother had an emergency cesarean section and he spent the first weeks of his life in the NICU, where Mills took care of him. Mills also became close to the mother, who was not doing well.

Ultimately, mother and baby both grew strong enough to be released, but Mills was devastated to discover that they were discharged on a day she wasn’t at the hospital. Mills reached out to the baby’s social worker and found out that, though Jackson’s mother was out of the hospital, she still needed help: in the form of a new home for her baby.

The mom didn’t have the means to give Jackson the upbringing he deserved, and asked Mills to be the one to give him that upbringing.

Though construction on her new home had just finished and being a single mother wasn’t on her radar, Mills knew what she had to do. But how was she going to pull off being a NICU nurse and a mother, all on her own?

Mills discussed adopting Jackson with her own mom

“She was immediately ecstatic,” Mills recounted, laughing. A leftover crib from one of her siblings was still in the house and her mother quickly offered it for Jackson to sleep in, along with help caring for her future grandson.

And so it was decided that Mills would begin adoption proceedings to make Jackson her son. The idea of trying it out as a foster parent first was suggested, but “I just felt like fostering wasn’t permanent,” Mills said. “Because I didn’t want to give him up.”

Jackson finally came home in June

The new family started a new routine. Mills works four 12-hour shifts each week and Jackson stays with her mother during that time. Mills visits him each day before she heads to the hospital. He comes home with her for the remaining three days of the week.

“He’s so happy,” she said. “He’s so pleasant.” Now 4 months old, Jackson is healthy and already starting solid foods.

Mills feels so rewarded she was able to help this helpless infant who got such a rough start in life. “It’s not normal to see something that’s supposed to be happy turn out to be so bad,” she said. However, it was this circumstance that gave her Jackson.

The new mother’s generosity is a great reminder that anyone’s life can be turned around when they recognize an opportunity to do good — and seize it! In doing so, Mills not only enriched the life of her new son, but also her own. 

More inspiring adoption stories:

Greta Thunberg Stands Up to Her Critics — and Explains Her “Superpower”

By | Food for thought, greta thunberg, inspiring, inspiring news, Inspiring Stories, news, stories

“When haters go after your looks and differences … you know you’re winning.”

This is a powerful statement from a powerful young girl, and just one example of what makes Greta Thunberg so unique and special.

Even at the young age of 15, Greta Thunberg is very well known for her environmental activism, but right now she’s getting attention for her Asperger’s diagnosis, and how she’s responding to the people criticizing her.

Greta’s superpower:

After adults critics said her Asperger’s made her “different,” she instead pointed out how it’s her “superpower.”

Thunberg recently shared on her very active Twitter account that before she started her climate action campaign she had “no energy, no friends and I didn’t speak to anyone. I just sat alone at home, with an eating disorder.”

She confessed she had previously not shared her diagnosis but decided to hide it not because she felt shame, but because “many ignorant people still see it as an ‘illness’, or something negative.”

Her difference is her strength

However, now she’s able to see how her unique situation is also a strength. “Sometimes makes me a bit different from the norm” and she sees being different as a “superpower.”

Those with Asperger’s are often known to be direct and very honest, and this can actually be very useful in interacting with people and building trust. Thunberg believes her vigilant climate crisis work was partly down to viewing the world in stark terms.

Thunberg has dealt with critics in all corners of social media

Australian News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt wrote a column that directly mocked her diagnosis, saying she was  “deeply disturbed”.

Thunberg responded by tweeting that she was “deeply disturbed” by the “hate and conspiracy campaigns” run by climate deniers like Bolt.

We all go through situations where people mock or misunderstand our lives or what we are going through, especially if we are going against he grain. As Greta shows up, standing up for yourself and others like you is the best way to rise above.