4 Stories That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity

Billy Joel, hot dogs & Kate Winslet’s soapy Oscar

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Every day, the news gives you a million reasons to not trust the humans around you. Today — just once — I’d like to give you four why you should.

I hope these stories will restore some of your faith in humanity.

1. The Real Fans

You’re at your high school reunion. Out of nowhere, someone goes, “Whooooaaaaa-oh-oh-ohhhh,” and all you have to say is: “For the longest time!

The great Billy Joel doesn’t just make for catchy tunes and nostalgic inside jokes, after 50 years in the business, he’s also still dedicated to his true fans.

In a 2014 interview with Billboard, he explained why you’ll never see snobby rich people in the front row at his concerts:

I’d look down and see rich people sitting there, I call ’em “gold chainers.” Sitting there puffing on a cigar, “entertain me, piano man.” I kinda got sick of that, who the hell are these people, where are the real fans? It turns out the real fans were always in the back of the room in the worst seats. We now hold those tickets, and I send my road crew out to the back of the room when the audience comes in and they get people from the worst seats and bring ’em in to the front rows. This way you’ve got people in the front row that are really happy to be there, real fans.

It’s a one in a thousand chance, but if you ever go see Billy Joel, maybe someone will approach you: “Would you like to sit in the front?” Some people have told their stories of how this happened to them online:

I could not believe it. I was on the very back row in Earls Court, England. Me and my friend were asked very kindly if we would like to sit in the front row of Billy’s concert. How lucky were we! Amazing, will never forget it.

Show business is a tough business, but there are still people who do it for more than just the money — and those people will always find the real fans.

2. The Hot Dog Stand That Was Good Enough

One summer, 13-year-old Jaequan Faulkner decided to start a hot dog stand. Outside his house in Minnesota, he sold hot dogs for $2 and sodas for $1.

But where there’s a party, there’s a pooper, and so someone called the health authorities, trying to shut him down. Instead of going through the motions, however, the Minneapolis Health Department decided to help Jaequan.

They showed him how to handle the food properly, how to meet hygiene standards, and even paid the $87 fee for his short-term food permit. Eventually, Jaequan and his uncle were interviewed for CNBC.

Jaequan said: “My auntie always told me, ‘Can’t nobody stop you but you.’ If you say ‘I can’t do that,’ well, then you just set yourself up for failure.” His uncle marveled at the young man’s drive: “It just took off. He never gave up and he kept pushing forward, pulling me along with him.”

He confirmed they were now selling 100–150 hot dogs per day, all of which inspired Jaequan to want to start a restaurant and continue making food for others in the school holidays.

We all want our kids to become responsible, strong, self-sustaining adults — but if we don’t let them learn this when they are young, how are they supposed to know when they get older?

If someone does something you don’t understand, ask yourself: “How much might this help them grow?” If the answer could be, “A lot,” let them continue. Support them if you can, but at the very least, try to not stand in their way — even if it’s a little inconvenient for you.

“It’s not easy working for a 13-year-old,” Jaequan’s uncle joked in the interview — but it was a price he was happy to pay to see his nephew grow up.

3. The Couch Chat That Changed Everything

It was a normal night for DJ Pryor. He was just sitting on the couch, watching TV, having yet another fake conversation with his infant son. This time, however, his wife, Shanieke, was filming. The video went viral.

Little Kingston’s “responses” are just too well-timed. You can almost see their telepathic, father-son connection, and it’s marvelous. Some 100 million people thought so too, and, as a result, the duo scored an advertising campaign with Denny’s.

NBC invited the comedian and his son on their TODAY show, and he couldn’t have been more humble about it: “We’re gonna go live our normal life. I want my son to live normal. When he gets old enough and decides this is what he wants to do, we’ll do it. Just have fun, just live life.”

In 1982, 43% of fathers had never once changed a diaper. In 2000, this number was only 3%. Men still have a long way to go when it comes to equal parenting, but millennial dads already spend three times as much time with their kids as their fathers did with them.

Stories like DJs show that, overall, we’re taking two steps forward for every one we might take back — and that, sometimes, it’s nice to just sit on the couch and have a chat with your son, whether it’ll make you famous or not.

4. Kate Winslet’s Soapy Oscar

When Snoop Dogg was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2018, the last 30 seconds of his 4-minute acceptance speech were the hilarious but inspiring pep talk we should all give ourselves every day:

“I want to thank me. I want to thank me for believing in me. I want to thank me for doing all this hard work. I want to thank me for having no days off. I want to thank me for never quitting. I want to thank me for always being a giver and trying to give more than I receive. I want to thank me for trying to do more right than wrong. I want to thank me for just being me at all times.”

Deep down, don’t we all think we deserve a speech like this? Don’t we all want a speech like this? Well, if you’re ever lucky enough to be invited to Kate Winslet’s house, you’ll have the chance of a lifetime to do so.

After she won the Oscar for Best Actress for The Reader, Kate wondered where best to put it. Answer: The bathroom! Why? In a 2015 interview with the WSJ, she explained:

The whole point is for everybody to pick it up and go, ‘I’d like to thank my son and my dad’ — and you can always tell when someone has, because they’re in there a little bit longer after they flushed. They’ll come out looking slightly pink-cheeked. It’s hysterical.

Kate can only stand to watch her own movies once after they’re finished, but she is proud of her accomplishments. Few people can call an Oscar among them, but everyone has something to celebrate. The golden statue in her bathroom is a reminder: There’s always an opportunity to thank yourself and others without feeling self-conscious about it.


I believe in positivity. I believe in uplifting others. We must not lose faith in each other, for without faith there can be no trust — and without trust, there can be no community.

The news help us be informed, knowledgeable citizens. But they also twist our perception: The more 0.1%-chance events we see on TV each day, the more we’ll believe they’re likely to happen to us, even if that’s not the case.

The world isn’t out to get you. A lot of people are nice, helpful, and agreeable. Just like you, they’re trying to do their best. Sometimes, all we need to remember this is a good story. I hope the ones I shared did that for you today.

And tomorrow? Tomorrow, you’ll find a new one. A new reason to believe.

-Nik

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