7 Uplifting Stories That Will Leave You Feeling Good All Weekend Long

This week, ordinary Americans stepped up to photograph a stranger's wedding, feed families in need and help a young gardener. Get ready to feel good with their uplifting stories!

By Mike Vulpo Jul 31, 2020 7:00 PMTags
Watch: Senior Refuses to Let Quarantine Ruin Her Graduation--Feel Good Friday

No act of kindness—no matter how small—is ever wasted! 

You've made it to the start of a brand-new weekend meaning it's time to mark Feel Good Friday with some inspiring stories across the country.

In this week's Acts of Kindness series, however, we're expanding the goodness to Vancouver, where Ryan Reynolds helped one young girl find her missing teddy bear. This isn't just any bear, however. Mara Soriano's stuffed animal features her late mom's voice with a special message any child deserves to hear.

Back in California—a state that is viewed as a hot spot for the Coronavirus pandemic—one chef is doing his part to help families who may need a tasty meal during tough financial times.

And you can't end the week without applauding Barbie and Mattel for introducing a new collection of dolls that could just inspire young girls all around the world to dream big. 

17 Newlywed Couples Who Wouldn't Let Quarantine Ruin Their Dream Wedding

Keep on scrolling below to see more heartfelt stories that will help start your weekend on the right foot. 

Pass It On

Lowe's employee Shannon Ingram went viral for all the right reasons after putting the spotlight on a 13-year-old who has his own yard mowing business.

"He usually gets his mowers at yard sales, but they don't last very long," she wrote on Facebook. "He mowed seven yards yesterday and his mower died. So, he went to help level a yard for a pool, working until 11:00pm. Needless to say, when he came in to buy a mower, we were going to sell him this one for what he had saved. But, we couldn't miss the chance to participate in his success, so we gave it to him. All I asked, is for him to remember us and come work on our team, when he's old enough. What a great young man."

Model Ready

Ellie Goldstein, a teen model with down syndrome, was recently featured in Gucci Beauty's "Unconventional Beauty" campaign, which supports emerging talents and "promotes the theme of unconventional and non-stereotypical beauty."

The 21-year-old told British Vogue, "It feels so amazing and fabulous to be part of the Gucci Beauty campaign. I feel so proud of myself, especially to have been chosen for this. When I look at the images, I feel happy with myself, and all the likes and comments on social media across the world have been overwhelming."

Pay It Forward

Earlier this month, Chef Andrew Gruel made a generous offer to the Southern California community. "With the recent closure of many businesses, finances will be tight. I'm happy to provide free pizzas/lunch/dinner etc at my new spot Big Parm in Tustin to help," he shared on July 13. "Just message me." 

Today, that promise continues for those looking for a tasty meal. "My offer to feed families in need for free at Big Parm still stands until this is all over. If anyone has lost a job or is struggling, they can come by, bring the family," he told E! News. "We will take care of it, just message me [on Twitter or Instagram] ahead of time."

Lost Then Found

After Mara Soriano's mom died last year, the Vancouver resident faced another hurdle. A teddy bear with her mom's voice inside saying, "I love you, I'm proud of you, I'll always be with you" went missing. Fortunately, one famous actor was ready to help. 

"Vancouver: $5,000 to anyone who returns this bear to Mara," Ryan Reynolds shared on social media. "Zero questions asked. I think we all need this bear to come home." 

Spoiler alert: The teddy bear has been found and reunited with Mara! "THANK YOU RYAN!" Mara shared on Twitter. "This wouldn't have been possible without your signal boost!" 

Heroes Behind Bars

Inmates Terry Loveless, Walter Whitehead and Mitchell Smalls are being called heroes after the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office in Georgia spotlighted their quick thinking behind bars. 

"We are deeply appreciative to these three inmates for the courage, determination and kindness they displayed when they came to the rescue of our deputy who recently suffered a medical emergency while supervising a jail housing unit," the police shared on Facebook. "The inmates noticed our deputy appeared to be feeling poorly as he conducted his security procedures in the housing unit. Although they were locked in their cells, they kept an eye on him as he returned to his seat at the deputy desk, where he lost consciousness and fell onto the concrete floor, splitting his head open."

The post continued, "The inmates whose rooms were close enough to see what was happening began pounding on their doors. Soon the entire unit was thundering with noise as many inmates pounded on the doors shouting for our deputy who lay unconscious and heavily bleeding on the floor. Our deputy later stated that while he did not realize he'd been unconscious, he became aware of what sounded like pounding drums and could hear inmates shouting his name over and over. He immediately thought an inmate needed help and somehow managed to rise to his feet and press the control panel to open cell doors."

The three inmates rushed out of their rooms to render aid. They also sought help with the use of the deputy's desk phone and his radio. Their efforts were successful and help arrived almost immediately. The deputy survived the harrowing incident and is recovering at home.

"While there are many stereotypes about both law enforcement officers and incarcerated people, this story beautifully illustrates that everyone is capable of greatness," Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office public information officer Deputy Shannon Volkodav shared with E! News. "Deputy Hobbs earned the respect of these inmates and they were determined to reach him when he needed help. It's a great reminder that heroes can wear very different uniforms." 

Rock the Vote

With the 2020 election approaching, Barbie announced the Campaign Team that is set to expose girls to public leadership roles and pique their interest in shaping the future. 

The brand has also teamed up with She Should Run, a non-partisan non-profit that provides guidance and support to women considering a run for office. 

"With less than a third of elected leaders in the U.S. being women, and Black women being even less represented in these positions, we designed the Barbie Campaign Team with a diverse set of dolls to show all girls they can raise their voices," said Lisa McKnight, SVP and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel. "Our goal is to remove barriers to leadership by giving girls the tools to imagine and play out their future roles."

Kodak Moment

When Nevona Friedman was riding her bike on the Brooklyn Bridge, she couldn't help but notice a couple getting married at sunset. After taking a photo of the nuptials, she headed to Twitter in hopes of sending the images to the newlyweds. 

Fortunately, she learned the couple was Karolina Kovalenko and Stephan Ponova and they were more than grateful for the pictures. "We are very happy that she found us," Karolina shared with NBC New York after admitting a photographer wasn't hired for the ceremony. 

For the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic and for tips on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please visit The Center for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov. To plan your vaccine, head to NBC's Plan Your Vaccine site at PlanYourVaccine.com.