Facebook can be a cruel, cruel mistress. It can shove photos of your ex-boyfriend's perfect new girlfriend in your face (also, it's time to unfriend your ex-boyfriend). It can remind you that everyone but you is getting married and having babies. It can suck hours and hours of your time out of your day, because you keep promising yourself that you'll only check out one more profile. And then you break that promise.
But Facebook can also bring great joy to the world. It's a very powerful tool; so powerful, in fact, that it can reunite relatives after years and years of being apart. It can bring comfort and closure to those who lost a loved one. And for every stupid status update we have to see on a daily basis, we get a touching story about a pet who was brought back home it went missing for months on end.
To that end, here are 11 stories about Facebook performing incredible miracles to remind us all that social media can be a wonderful thing. Warning: make sure you have tissues nearby, because you're bound to get emotional reading through them all:
Cheyenne the Missing Dog: On a fourth of July weekend in Texas, Linda Duncan's dog was so frightened by the fireworks that she ran away. When failing to locate the dog after months of searching, she created a Facebook page for the missing pet. The post spread far enough (all the way to Oklahoma City), where Cheyenne was found hiding under a house. After missing for 175 days, Cheyenne was reunited with her owners. Linda Duncan drove from Texas to Oklahoma City to get her dog back, and you can see the emotional reunion here. Our tears started right in the beginning when we saw how excited Cheyenne was to see her owner again.
The Burger King Baby: Katheryn Deprill was abandoned in a Burger King bathroom in Allentown, Pa. when she was only a few hours old, and almost 30 years later, the EMT and mother of three took to Facebook to try and find her birth mother. Three weeks and 30,000 shares of her photo and note later, she got what she needed: answers, her family history and her mom.
"She is better than anything I could've ever imagined," Deprill said of finally reuniting with her mother. "She is so sweet and amazing. I'm so happy. We are definitely going to have a relationship."
A Story of Love and Loss: Kimmy Kirkwood lost the love of her life Will Stacey after he was killed in action in 2012 while serving in the Marines. And when Facebook launched FacebookStories.com to celebrate its 10-year anniversary, Kimmy was able to share her story of love and loss with the world.
Facebook not only gave her a place to talk about her time with Will, but it gave Kimmy a virtual scrapbook of their relationship to help her cope with his death. There are photos, videos and conversations between Will and Kimmy that keep his memory alive, and it's all in one spot.
"I realized how amazing it was to have this reminder of who we were together," she says of telling her story via Facebook. "Our entire relationship was documented, like a digital scrapbook with letters, conversations, photos, and videos...Sometimes when I'm lonely, I go back and read everything he sent to me."
A Ring Returned: Two years ago, Greg Lindsay lost his wedding ring while he was at Ellwood Beach in Santa Barbara, Calif. He considered it lost in the Pacific Ocean forever, but Facebook had other plans.
Jenn Birchim was walking along a beach in Goleta, Calif. earlier this month when she came across a ring in the sand with a very unique inscription: "My love, my life, my lobster."
Intrigued by the inscription (a Friends reference), she posted the photo on her Facebook page in an attempt to find the owner. After 26,000 shares, the photo made its way to Greg's wife, Sarah. She immediately recognized the ring, and four days later Greg got it back.
"[This] totally restored my faith in humanity," he told KEYT News. "I was like, 'wow, there are still honest good people out here like Jenn, to be able to do the right thing.'"
Foiled Robbery: In 2011, three robbers broke into the home of 20-year-old Nitesh Bhakta, who was in his bedroom and on his laptop at the time. When he opened his bedroom door and saw the masked men breaking in, he grabbed his laptop and ran up to the attic to hide.
The robbers tied up his grandmother and his 17-year-old sister while they statred ransacking the house, and Nitesh was able to remained undetected long enough to post as his Facebook status: "HELP, ROBBERS, NO PHONE."
While most of Facebook thought it was a joke, his best friend John Salter took the cry for help seriously and called the police. The robbers heard the sirens and fled the scene before they could cause any serious damage to the home and to Nitesh's family. One was apprehended that evening while the other two were arrested later after a cell phone left at the house was traced back to them.
A Father's Quest for Memories: Remember those "Look Back" videos Facebook gave us on its 10-year-anniversary? It showed all our most important Facebook activity (photos, status updates, etc.) in one video montage. Well, John Berlin from St. Louis wanted to access a certain "Look Back" video, too. Not for himself, but for the son he lost in 2012.
He posted a video message begging the Internet to help him get the montage of his son Jesse after previous attempts to access it failed. Thankfully, the video went viral and it made its way to Facebook, who reached out to John about Jesse's "Look Back."
"It worked I was just contacted by FB by phone and there [sic] going to make a vid just for us. They also said they're going to look at how they can better help families who have lost loved ones. Ty friends and to FB," he posted on his Facebook. You can watch Jesse's "Look Back" video above, which John says "captured him perfectly."
A Stuffed Animal's Journey: In December of 2012, a woman named Lauren Bishop Vranch found a stuffed animal on an East Coast train at Kings Cross. Assuming that the owner of the toy would want it back, she used Twitter and Facebook to reunite them.
And reunite them they did. The stuffed lion belonged to an adorable little girl named Phoebe. Her father spotted the photo on Facebook, and eventually Phoebe got her beloved toy back. The best part of this story is how Lauren documented all the places she took the stuffed animal while she was "babysitting" until it was rightfully returned to Phoebe. Basically, a stuffed animal had a better weekend than most during that trip.
A Life Saved: Deborah Kogan's 4-year-old son got very sick on Mother's Day weekend in 2011, and because she used Facebook to post photos of his condition and to update her family members on hospital visits, she eventually discovered that it wasn't just strep throat that Leo was suffering from. Due to other parents and her cousin (a pediatric cardiologist) keeping an eye on the symptoms via Facebook, they were able to diagnose Leo with a rare condition called Kawasaki disease. Timing is very crucial when it comes to Kawasaki's, and thankfully, Deborah was able to get Leo diagnosed quickly so he could start treatment. Leo is still recovering and there are still many battles he'll have to face while dealing with Kawasaki's, but now Deborah doesn't feel so alone, thanks to Facebook.
Mother and Daughter Reunited: After 44 years apart, Cyndi Lane found her mother, Audrey Gilligan, who had put her up for adoption when Cyndi was just a baby. She started a Facebook group in March of 2013 with all the information and photos she had in an effort to track down her mother, and all it took was two days to bring mom and daughter together.
When Cyndi made the phone call to Audrey to tell her she was her daughter, Audrey said this magical phrase: "Oh, dear, I've been looking for you my whole life."
The Scrapbook: Nani Bertino was only two-years-old when her mother, Stephanie Mejia Villegas, gave her up for adoption. Thankfully, Stephanie made a scrapbook for Nani filled with letters, photos and lists of things she wanted to do with her daughter. For years, that was the only connection Nani had to her biological mother.
But this past March, her scrapbook became important clues in tracking down her mom through Facebook. Eventually, Nani found Stephanie, sent her a Facebook message and the two finally met for the first time.
"It was a scrapbook so that she never felt that we didn't love her," Stephanie told KETV.
The Memory Card: On Christmas day 2013, George Chaplin stumbled upon a digital photo frame he had purchased from a Goodwill store a couple years previously. When he and his wife turned it on, they discovered there were photos already on it because someone had left a memory card in it.
The card was full of photos and videos of a family's cherished memories, so George and his wife spent three hours studying the pictures to find evidence on who the memory card might belong to. Eventually, they had enough clues (the name of a town on a cheerleading uniform, for example) and headed to Facebook to track down the family featured in the photos.
Terry Steele, the original owner of the picture frame, was over the moon to be getting the memory card back, as many of those photos and videos were taken by his late wife, who had died that past April. The frame had been stolen in a burglary, which meant the family feared that the photos were gone forever.
"Her memory is always in our hearts, but her voice was gone and it's a Christmas miracle we got them back," Terry said.
See? Facebook isn't all bad. So do yourself a favor and bookmark this page so that the next time you get annoyed at someone on your feed sharing yet another Instagram of their dinner with the hashtags #foodie and #foodporn, you can always come back here and remember the better aspects of Facebook.