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17 heartwarming stories from 2017 that will restore your faith in humanity

This proves the year hasn't been all bad

17 heartwarming stories from 2017 that will restore your faith in humanity
07 December 2017

It’s easy to get bogged down in the avalanche of bad news - especially in 2017. But we know it’s important to remember that things aren’t all doom and gloom. In fact, quite a few heart-warming and inspirational stories have emerged this year.

Who can forget the TV reporter who helped to rescue a man from drowning in his truck during Hurricane Harvey? Or Ariana Grande’s One Love Manchester concert which, despite an absolutely tragic context, managed to raise millions for the victims and families of the Manchester Arena bombing? 

Here’s our round-up of some of the best feel-good tales from 2017…

1. The 22-year-old rapper who flew to Florida to meet his 86-year-old Words With Friends buddy 

Harlem rapper Spencer, who goes by High Class Filth, struck up an unlikely friendship with 86-year-old Roz after they met online playing Words With Friends. After more than 300 games, the pair finally met in Florida. Now they’re friends for life!      

2. The gran with Alzheimer’s who lights up when she plays with her favourite puppy 

Richard Dawson, 28, posted pictures of his 95-year-old gran Winifred Lowe beaming with joy when she plays with her favourite puppy – a nine-month-old dachshund called Orla. Winifred suffers from Alzheimer’s but is totally transformed when Richard brings Orla to play.

Richard, a digital marketer from Worthing, told FEMAIL: “When Orla visits, it completely changes her mood; she’s smiling and laughing and can play with her for hours.”

3. The proud daughter who shared her dad’s incredible story of recovery after attempting suicide 

Ellie Wilkie, from Edinburgh, posted an image on Twitter to praise her dad’s resilience in his struggle with mental illness. Her dad Brian Wilkie had attempted suicide after his son Jordan took his own life in 2014. “The space in my dad’s head became dark. He no longer saw a point to life without Jordan,” Ellie told the BBC. But since then he’s made a fantastic recovery and now helps others as a recovery support worker. 

4. The Hurricane Harvey TV reporter who saved a man from drowning in his truck

Houston reporter Brandi Smith was reporting on flooding at the height of Hurricane Harvey when, along with cameraman Mario Sandoval, she spotted a truck driver trapped under 10 feet of water. Miraculously, they were able to flag down a passing sheriff’s rescue boat who picked up the driver - Robert Roberson – and took him to safety. 

5. The ‘pure class’ young Huddersfield fan who sent £5 to Aaron Mooy for ‘playing well’ 

Nine-year-old Adam Bhana found a £5 note at Huddersfield Town’s victory over Manchester United in October. After being told by his dad that he couldn’t keep it because it wasn’t his, he decided to send it back to the club and asked in a handwritten letter that it be given to man of the match Aaron Mooy – although at first he wanted to give the money to manager David Wagner to put towards the transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid. The honest youngster eventually got to meet his hero and was presented with signed football boots and a signed football. 

6. The groom who jumped into a pond in his tux to rescue a child during his wedding shoot 

Newlyweds Clayton and Brittany Cook were posing for some wedding snaps after their ceremony in Ontario, Canada, in September when they noticed a boy struggling to swim in the park’s pond. Clayton quickly jumped into the water and pulled out the young lad. “Now it’s hitting us more that if we weren’t in the right place at the right time, things may have gone differently and perhaps even tragically,” Brittany told the Huffington Post

7. The grandma who knitted a rainbow jumper for her daughter who came out as a bisexual 

Earlier this year, tumblr user ‘sunatjexd’ posted an amazing pic of her gran proudly holding a rainbow jumper she’d knitted for her after she recently came out as bisexual. We love you, grandmothers of the world! 

8. When April the Giraffe FINALLY gave birth! 

April the Giraffe, who became a worldwide media sensation, gave birth to a boy in April after a very, very long wait. At one point, more than 14 million were watching a live stream of her enclosure. 

9. This six-year-old boy who couldn’t stop dancing and ringing the bell to celebrate the end of his chemotherapy treatment

Jimmy Spagnolo was filmed doing a very cute dance and ringing the ‘congratulations’ bell at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh after completing a year-long chemotherapy treatment programme. Doctors discovered Jimmy had an inoperable brain tumour when he was just four months’ old, but it has now shrunk and medics are hopeful he’ll be able to live his life with it. 

10. Ariana Grande’s emotional One Love Manchester concert

After the devastating terror attack that took the lives of 22 people at her concert in May, pop superstar Ariana Grande quickly organised a benefit concert to raise money for the victims and their families. With performances from Justin Bieber, Stevie Wonder, Katy Perry and many, many more, this was a truly inspirational broadcast to watch. 

11. The girl who received flowers every year from her dad who died from cancer five years ago

Bailey Sellers, from Knoxville, shared on Twitter how she had received flowers every year on her birthday from her dad who died from cancer five years ago. Her father had pre-paid for a floral delivery since his death when she was just 16. This year’s message said: “I will still be with you with every milestone, just look around and there I will be.”

12. The ‘survivalist’ Chihuahua who ate his dead owner to stay alive

The legs of a true survivor (Tyfanee Fortuna/Facebook)

While this story might at first sound like a bone-chilling horror film premise, we’ve decided to include the tale of the plucky Chihuahua Rumpelstiltskin because it captures something about the spirit or 2017: despite the overwhelming storms of shit, we will survive.

Back in October, the pup’s new owner Tyfanee Fortuna explained how the rescue dog had to take extreme measures to survive after his old owner died. Stuck in the house with no food, he eventually gnawed on his owner’s corpse to keep himself alive, before ultimately being saved.

13. The homeless man who gave his last $20 to a woman stranded on the side of the road – and the internet responded by donating $390,000 for him to rebuild his life

When homeless veteran Johnny Bobbit saw Kate McClure stranded and afraid on the side of the road after her car ran out of gas, he immediately told her to get back in her vehicle and lock the doors. A short while later, he returned with a canister full of petrol that he bought for her with his last $20. Amazed and grateful, Kate returned the next day to bring him clothes and food. And after sharing her story online, generous people on the internet donated more than $390,000 for Johnny to buy a home and rebuild his life. 

14. When the NFL’s Richard Sherman surprised a young fan in hospital after she lost her ‘Shermie’ doll

When Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman found out that a four-year-old fan named Ellie lost her ‘Shermie’ doll (a doll made in his likeness) he decided to pay her a visit in hospital. Ellie, who was born premature and has always suffered from medical issues, couldn’t believe it when she laid eyes on her hero – and even beat him in a race through the hospital corridors. 

15. The hairdresser who refused to shave off a depressed teen’s matted hair - and instead gave her an uplifting makeover 

Hairdresser Kayley Olsson, from Iowa, shared some dramatic pictures on her Facebook page of a teenage customer who asked her to cut off all her hair after she stopped brushing it because she was struggling with severe depression.

Instead, Kayley worked tirelessly for two days to spruce up the teen’s tresses. She wrote: “We finally made this beautiful girl smile and feel like she IS worth something.” 

16. When the internet tracked down a woman who stepped in to pay for a man who couldn’t afford a plane ticket for his daughter 

In March, plane passenger Kevin Leslie overheard a father checking in for a flight with his two-year-old daughter. But when it came time to inspect his daughter’s ticket, the man was confused thinking she could fly for free. And after a staff member explained she was old enough to require a ticket the father panicked, not knowing how he’d get the money together to pay. Meanwhile, an anonymous woman stepped forward to say she’d like to pay for the flight. The man thanked her and asked for her name to pay her back but she just kept saying: “Don’t worry about it.”

But after some serious internet sleuthing, the kind woman was revealed to be Debbie Bolton, global chief sales officer for US cleaning firm Norwex. Take a bow Debbie!

17. The little girl who mistook a bride for the princess from her favourite book 

This is the beautiful moment a little girl walking with her mum stumbled upon a bride having some wedding photos taken and mistook her for the princess from her favourite book. Photographer Stephanie Cristalli caught the charming scene on camera as bride Shandace Lerma, from Washington DC, posed for photos with the awed youngster. 

(Image: Hatt Photography / Tyfanee Fortuna/ High Class Filth)