The internet is full of heartwarming moments: that kitten having a nightmare whose mum pulls him in for a cuddle, the collection of photos of babies being best buds with dogs, or the little boy with two sisters who finds out he’s about to get a third sisters and promptly throws the biggest hissy fit ever. Priceless. However, these fairly superficial ‘cute’ moments fade away when we consider some of the truly heartwarming moments that social media has provided us with over the years; and no, I’m not referring to the one about the girl who blew her rent on an Uber taxi and then made a killing on Kickstarter. ‘Oh, but the generosity of people’ I hear you say: no, I mean the truly heartwarming - the stories that made you cry on the bus, laugh in mixed company, and warmed the very cockles of your heart.
1. The Internet responds to the London Riots.
The London riots, and the ensuing others around the country, rocked Britain to its core. Never before had we seen such an enormous amount of destruction on our streets, despite the best efforts of the Police to try and protect Londoners and their property. However, the people who, arguably, suffered the most were the small business owners whose businesses were attacked, destroyed, and stolen from. Many of these stories end in large amount of insurance paperwork and a reimbursement, but not for Aaron Bibel, 89-year-old hairdresser, whose shop was ransacked and torn apart by rioters. The poor guy didn’t have insurance and it looked as though his life’s work was reaching an end. Which is when social media stepped in. Campaigners managed to raise £35,000 for Aaron which was enough to repair his business and left him with enough to donate to a local children’s charity too. What a gent.
2. Caine’s Arcade
Caine Monroe is a fairly special kid. Like a lot others, he has to spend his summers at work with his Dad; unlike most others, Caine decided to put his love of arcades to good use and made his own out or cardboard. He didn’t get many customers, in spite of his best efforts, until one day one of his dad’s customers put a video online and made a Facebook group. Along with a flash mob day when Caine’s Arcade had A LOT of visitors. The group now runs a fund, which is put aside for Caine’s education in the future. He is one smart cookie that the world should be keeping an eye on!
3. Stephen Sutton
Very few people in the UK won’t have heard of Stephen Sutton and his heroic charity fundraising from last year. At the age of 15, Stephen was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and it prompted him to draw up a bucket list including (amongst other things) raising £10,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust. As of this time last year, that figure stood at nearer £3 million, a lot of which was raised as a result of his Facebook presence. The nation quietly mourned the heroic teenager who stood up to cancer right up until his dying moments, posting a photo of himself with two thumbs up and a dignified message of goodbye which pushed that total over the top. What an amazing young man he was and what a wonderful world we live in when social media can help us to reach out to make a young man’s dying wish come true.