40 Random Facts So Heartwarming You Can't Help But Smile
We could all use a little bit of happy today.
It's easy these days to feel down. Whether it's sitting in traffic, forgetting one of your many passwords, or an annoying coworker, we all tend to focus on the negative. But if we stop to think about it, the world is full of simple pleasures, good people, and amazing animals that should bring some good into our lives. Here are a handful of heartwarming, happy facts that will help you feel a little better about the world.
Goldfish can tell the difference between classical composers.
Goldfish are often thought of as simple-minded creatures because of their incredibly short memory spans. But not only are they intelligent, apparently they're creatures of absolute class as well.
In a study in Tokyo, Japan, scientists trained goldfish to bite a bead if they heard classical composers Johann Sebastian Bach or Igor Stravinsky. Then, they trained them to only bite when they heard one of the musicians. They found the goldfish were able to correctly distinguish between the two composers. Pretty impressive, huh?
The first Friday in October is World Smile Day.
Harvey Ball was a commercial artist who was well-known for the smiley face he created in 1963 that became a symbol for cheer, kindness, and goodwill. But when it was plastered throughout the commercial marketplace, Ball became concerned that the significance of his creation was losing its meaning.
To bring back the significance of the smiley face, Ball created World Smile Day in 1999. When he died two years later, his hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts created the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation, which sponsors the holiday year after year.
A newly-adopted dog saved his owners' lives.
Talk about paying it forward. In 2014, a Michigan family adopted a Husky mix named Hunter, who was just three months old at the time. Two weeks after welcoming him into their home, a burner had been left on in the kitchen and was slowly leaking gas for six hours. After the family had gone to sleep, Hunter whined until his new mom woke up. Not understanding what was going on, she let him outside, but Hunter just sat by the stove, continuing to whine. Finally, she realized what was wrong and turned off the gas.
"He saved our lives," Hunter's dad said at the time. "Anything could have happened that night."
Expressing gratitude makes you feel happier.
Research has found that when a person talks about how appreciative they are, they feel happy as well. In fact, compliments don't just make the person on the receiving end feel good—that also ricochets to the person giving the compliment. So what are you waiting for? Start saying nice things about people!
A woman launched a campaign to find the rightful owner of a lost stuffed animal.
When a woman found a teddy bear on the train in London, she knew it must've belonged to a child who missed it terribly. To try and track down the owner, she tweeted: "Found this well loved little dude on an East Coast train at Kings Cross—let's find the owner, Twitter!" Thanks to the power of social media, the post soon went viral and eventually, the father of the girl who had lost the stuffed animal saw it.
He posted on Facebook: "Wow, the power of the internet and kind folk—that's my daughter Phoebe's bear—she has been in tears all weekend and I have just shown her the picture and she is over the moon. Thank you all so much!"
A NYPD officer went viral for buying boots for a barefoot homeless man.
In November 2012, NYPD Officer Lawrence DePrimo spotted a homeless man in Times Square, walking without shoes. He walked into a Sketchers nearby, told the salesperson he was buying shoes for a homeless man, and the manager gave DePrimo his employee discount (proof that paying it forward is real).
A tourist from Arizona took a photo of the generous act and shared it on Facebook, where it soon earned hundreds of thousands of likes. DePrimo told The New York Times he has kept the receipt for the shoes in his vest since then "to remind [him] that sometimes people have it worse."
Vending machines in Istanbul allow you to feed stray dogs while saving the environment.
Istanbul has over 15,000 stray dogs roaming the streets, but they don't have it so "ruff" anymore. People strolling the streets have the option to feed and provide water for stray dogs with one of Pugedon's Smart Recycling Boxes. The cost? One plastic bottle. Pugedon created these machines so that people could help their furry neighbors and save the environment. What could be better?
The youngest genius in the world is two years old.
Mensa is probably the most exclusive fraternity in the world. It only accepts those with IQs among the top two percent of the world. Mensa usually doesn't test anyone under the age of 10, but in 2009, they made an exception for Elise Tan-Roberts, who was only two! Turned out, Tan-Roberts has an IQ of 156 points, which is only four points shy of Albert Einstein's IQ. Her score beats James Franco's, George H. W. Bush's, Cindy Crawford's, and Hillary Clinton's, according to this list.
Cuddling wards off depression.
Sometimes all you need is a good, tight embrace. According to a 2012 study, when you snuggle with someone, your brain releases oxytocin, which is known as the "love" or "feel good" hormone. It's also released when you hug, kiss, and have sex. These activities also lower your cortisol levels, which is the hormone associated with stress.
While there isn't one cure for depression, cuddling up to a loved one or pet is definitely one way to tackle the blues. And if you're looking for more ways to fight depression, here are 20 Expert-Backed Ways to Improve Your Mental Health Every Day.
There is a magical country that studies your happiness.
Bhutan, a country in Southeast Asia, sits in the middle of the mountains and has a population of about 800,000 people. It is the last-standing Buddhist kingdom in the world, but it also accepts other cultures. Bhutan is also the only country that measures its population's happiness levels, which it calls Gross National Happiness (or GNH).
The fourth king of Bhutan, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, established the idea in 1972 when he said, "Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross Domestic Product." In the latest report from 2015, Bhutan's GNH increased from the last measurement in 2010. According to the study, 91.2 percent of people said they were happy, and 43.4 percent said they were deeply happy. Let's all move to Bhutan, shall we?
Penguins mate for life.
Thanks to the 2005 documentary March of the Penguins, the world learned that these creatures mate for life. Females sit patiently as males scour nearby ice for smooth pebbles. They present it to the female they wish to mate with as a romantic gesture. It is the male penguin's way of proposing to the female penguin of his dreams. Who needs roses and chocolates?
The voice actors behind Mickey and Minnie Mouse got married in real life.
Wayne Allwine had been the voice of Mickey Mouse since 1977. Nearly 10 years later, Russi Taylor became the voice of Minnie Mouse in 1986. Allwine and Taylor were both married to other people when they first started working together, but eventually, those relationships dissolved and theirs started to grow. "We just started hanging out as pals, and the next thing you know, we were an item," Taylor told Variety. "Someone once said to us, 'What's wrong with you guys? Are you attached at the hip?' I said, 'No, we're attached at the heart.'" Oh boy, is right! The two were married in 1991 and stayed together until Allwine's death in 2009.
Enemy soldiers in WWI ceased fire to sing Christmas Carols together.
In the midst of a bloody war, countries from both sides of WWI refused to issue a cease fire for the holidays. But on Christmas Eve, British and German troops sang carols across the line to each other. By Christmas morning, with no official cease fire in place, German soldiers emerged from the trenches without guns.
Realizing it wasn't a trap, Allied soldiers met them on the battlefield to shake hands and share plum pudding and cigarettes. The great Christmas Truce of 1914 is proof the holidays truly are magical.
Queen Elizabeth II crashed a wedding.
John and Frances Canning stared in shock at their 2012 wedding as Queen Elizabeth II herself popped by. When they booked their venue a year earlier, the Cannings learned the Queen would be in the function room next door for a lunch. As a joke, they sent a wedding invitation to Buckingham Palace, but were not surprised when Her Royal Highness replied, politely declining the offer. But after their ceremony, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip stopped by to congratulate the couple. Not exactly proper etiquette, but still a pleasant surprise! "We never dreamt we would be able to meet her," Frances told The Daily Mail.
A tornado survivor was reunited with her dog on live TV.
Following the devastating 2013 tornado in Oklahoma City, an elderly woman was telling a CBS News reporter about losing her dog in the disaster. As she stood in front of the pile of rubble that was once her home and described her loss, a little nose popped up out of the debris. Just watch the video and bring the tissues!
Otters hold hands when they sleep.
Like wolves, otters are pack animals—they are born knowing that in order to survive, they must stick together. As a survival instinct, they hold hands while they sleep so they don't drift away with the ocean currents. It is absolutely the cutest thing we've ever seen, and you have to see it in action. Otters survive, thrive, and kick cute into overdrive.
Cats bring you "presents" to help you survive.
Cat owners know the shock of seeing their feline friends drop a small dead animal at their feet. But do you know why cats leave these "presents"? It's because they think you're basically a large cat who isn't good at hunting and they want to help you. To your cat, it's a way of showing trust, love, and respect. To you, it is a way to practice suppressing your gag reflex. But at least there's a heartwarming reason behind it.
Your scent helps your dog feel safe.
Dog owners might know the horror of coming home and seeing piles of clothes strewn about while a clearly guilty dog hides in the corner. When their owners leave, many dogs experience separation anxiety and tearing up the house is proof. Smelling your scent instantly makes them feel safer, so they're on the hunt to feel closer to you. It doesn't make the mess worthwhile, but it sure is adorable.
Retired engineers volunteered to clean up the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
In a remarkably selfless act, 200 Japanese retirees all over the age of 60 offered to help manage the cleanup after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster so that younger people would not have to risk exposure to the radiation. "I probably have 13 to 15 years left to live," one 72-year-old engineer told the BBC. "Even if I were exposed to radiation, cancer could take 20 or 30 years or longer to develop. Therefore us older ones have less chance of getting cancer."
There is a Corgi-like cat breed and it may kill you with cuteness.
The Munchkin cat may be the cutest breed of cat you've ever seen. As a result of a genetic mutation, Munchkin cats have very short legs, but the typical length cat body. This breed has existed for over a century, but they became more prominent in the last 30 years. That's because a woman in Louisiana rescued a pregnant cat in 1983 and half of her litter was born with this adorable genetic mutation. Then, she started to breed them and Munchkin cats now warm the hearts of millions.
Marvel created a superhero to help a hearing-impaired child.
Christine D'Allesandro was at a loss when her hearing-impaired son, Anthony, didn't want to wear his hearing aids in 2012. His argument? "Superheroes don't wear them."
D'Allesandro emailed Marvel for help and in response, they drew a new Avenger named "Blue Ear," which is what the young boy called his blue plastic hearing aids. Eventually, Marvel put together a full Blue Ear comic to help hearing-impaired children around the world. "We're hoping to spread the word that cochlear implants and hearing aids are nothing to be afraid of or make fun of," said Marvel executive Bill Rosemann. "In fact, they're similar to Iron Man's armor: incredible technology that helps people."
A British train museum hired a six year-old as its "Director of Fun."
When the National Railway Museum in York, England put out a job posting for a new director in 2009, the hiring managers never expected to receive a response from a six year old. Sam Pointon sent in his application, citing his knowledge and love for trains as proof he was fit for the job. Impressed by his application and his sheer enthusiasm for trains, they offered him an interview. Pointon crushed it, so they appointed him the museum's official "Director of Fun." You can see the most adorable employee at work here.
Bats give birth upside down and catch their babies in their wings.
There's a common misconception that bats are harmful, disease-ridden villains. But these mammals are actually helpful, loving creatures who protect the environment and save us from harmful insects. One extra adorable fact about bats is that they give birth to their babies upside down and catch them in their wings in a loving embrace. When they leave their cave, they can relocate their pup out of hundreds of bats, just by its smell and the sound of its cry. Mama always knows best.
A hotel in Japan offered crying rooms for those who needed to let it all out.
Crying in public is not socially acceptable in Japan. So, in 2015, the now-closed Mitsui Garden Hotel Yotsuya in Tokyo had a promotion for women to rent a crying room for about $83 per night. The rooms were filled with high-end tissues and make-up remover for the post-cry clean-up. They also offered a host of tear-jerker movies to get the tears going. Though a lovely gesture, it was a bit sexist in nature: The deal was only available to women.
Looking at cute animals can improve your focus.
A study in Japan found that looking at cute pictures of puppies and kittens helped improve concentration. The researchers had their subjects—who were all college students—play a game similar to Operation. After one round, they showed half the students pictures of puppies and kittens and the other half pictures of adult dogs and cats. The first group performed better on the next round, going at a slower and more careful pace. So next time your boss catches you looking at adorable animals on Instagram, assure them you're just getting focused for the rest of the day.
Volvo gave up their seat belt patent for free to save lives.
Before Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin created the modern seatbelt in 1959, cars were equipped with a waist belt that sometimes was more harmful in crashes than wearing no restraint at all. Volvo executives felt that Bohlin's three-point seatbelt invention was too important to keep from others and opened up the patent for all car manufacturers to use. As a result, Bohlin is credited with saving millions of lives.
One man has donated over 420,000 percent of his net worth to charities.
For decades, the mysterious "James Bond of philanthropy" donated over 420,000 percent of his net worth to charitable causes. It wasn't until recently that the legendarily generous man revealed himself to be Chuck Feeney, who pioneered the concept of duty-free shopping. Thanks to his donations, he's helped stopped guerilla warfare in Ireland, created public health in Vietnam, and provided treatment for AIDs in Africa. In return, he's lived a simpler life than what he could've afforded: At 87, he lives in a rented apartment, doesn't own a car or house, and always flies economy class. See? There are still good people out there.
A woman gave away kiddie pools to save overheated dogs.
During 2013's sweltering summer in Urbanna, Virginia, a woman put 11 kiddie pools on her front yard with a sign saying: "If your dog has to be outside…please take a pool to help keep them cool." After the picture gained traction on Reddit, people started donating money to help her buy more pools for the town's canine companions.
The woman, Megan Brockman, told a local CBS news affiliate that she was motivated by the deaths of two dogs in a nearby town due to heat stroke. "It brings tears to our eyes," Brockman said. "I really just did it to help anybody who might not be able to afford something like this."
A widow did a random act of kindness for each day her husband battled cancer.
Chad Wogernese was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma on his second wedding anniversary. Though he fought hard, Wogernese lost his battle with cancer after 318 days. As a result, his wife, Colleen, turned her grief into good. She set out to perform 318 random acts of kindness in his memory in one day.
She started by giving gift bags to the medical professionals who helped her husband. Soon, she was giving lottery tickets, candy, and hand-knit caps to complete strangers. "He was just so giving," Colleen told CBS. "I want my children to know how giving he was and this was the best way to show them."
Cows have best friends.
Like those adorable otters, cows are herd animals, and work best when they rely on each other. Research from Northampton University actually suggests that cows have social groups with a very complex dynamic. They have best friends, and will get upset if they're separated from them for too long. It really puts them in a bad mooooood. (We're sorry. We couldn't help it.)
An animal shelter helps kids learn to read to cats.
In 2014, the Animal Rescue League of Berks County, Pennsylvania started the Books Buddies program, where young kids read to rescue cats. "It doesn't matter to [the cats] what the book is about, how well the child is reading to them or anything like that," a program coordinator told a local ABC affiliate. "They just love the one-on-one contact that the kids provide." And it had a big impact on the kids too. Seven-year-old Colby Procyk, for example, was reading below his second grade level before Books Buddies. After participating in the program, that changed. "I've seen a big growth in his reading ability and his confidence," his teacher told ABC.
Rats and mice are ticklish.
In a scientific study, researchers found that, when tickled, a mice or rat's voice would vibrate in a similar frequency to the way other mammals' do when they're laughing. Watch this video to see the cuteness in action. Some of them even literally jump for joy!
An abandoned dog became a seeing-eye companion for a blind dog.
Young golden retriever Tanner was born blind and suffered from epileptic seizures. But he had an owner who loved and cared for him. When his owner died in 2012, he was turned over to an animal hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Blair, a black mutt, wound up at the same hospital after being shot and abandoned. She suffered from severe anxiety as a result of her trauma. The pair became close and helped each other overcome their respective disabilities: Tanner had less seizures and Blair's anxiety subsided. But wait, it gets better. Then, Tanner and Blair were adopted into their forever home together! Sorry for the river of tears you're probably crying right now.
One of the first professional female baseball players struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
At just 17 years old, pitcher Jackie Mitchell signed a contract with the Chattanooga Lookouts, a minor league team in the 1930s. She made the deal a week before the Lookouts' scheduled exhibition game against the Yankees. As Babe Ruth stepped up to the plate, Mitchell prepared to throw her famous "sinker." After Ruth struggled to make contact with the ball twice, he demanded the umpire check the ball. It looked good to the ump, but so did the next pitch from Mitchell. Ruth swung and missed again, and threw the bat off the field in disgust. Then, Mitchell struck out Lou Gehrig. Alas, Mitchell's career was short-lived. It's rumored an embarrassed baseball commissioner canceled her contract the next day. That part of the story is not so heart-warming, unfortunately. But Jackie Mitchell still made history.
A bloodhound accidentally joined, finished, and won a half-marathon.
Ludivine, a bloodhound from Alabama became an internet sensation in 2016. Her owners let her out to pee when she heard the starting shot for a half-marathon taking place in her neighborhood. She sped away from home, joined the race, and followed the runners, staying right on their "tails" the whole time. After veering off to sniff around and take a dip in nearby waters, she ran past the finish line. Ludivine won the women's category, placing seventh overall. Way to go, girl!
Dolphins have "names" for each other.
Dolphins have whistles that are so unique, they use them to find each other. These incredible mammals will mimic the whistle of their pals to find them in large pods. According to a recent study, a dolphin will even recognize that a friend is using their signature whistle and repeat it back as if asking, "You rang?"
A retired soldier adopted his retired K9 partner.
After retired Air Force Sergeant David Simpson learned that the German shepherd he'd served alongside of in Iraq was retiring, too, Simpson booked a flight across the Atlantic to adopt the dog and bring him back home to Florida with him. When Simpson arrived, the dog immediately recognized his old combat mate and was overjoyed to see him. Aren't dog-owner reunion videos just the best?
Squirrels are environmentally conscious.
There's a chance squirrels are doing more than you to save the planet. Because they hoard nuts and then plant them in multiple areas, we have squirrels to thank for the regeneration of decimated hardwood forests. Their scattering of nuts often makes it difficult for them to remember every stash they hide—and those nuts that go unreclaimed grow into millions of beautiful walnut, oak, and hickory trees each year. Thanks, squirrel friends!
J.K. Rowling created a Harry Potter character in honor of a fan who died of leukemia.
Natalie MacDonald is the only character in the Harry Potter series who is named after a real person. Natalie was a real nine-year-old girl who loved the Harry Potter series.
A family friend reached out to Rowling's publisher to explain how much the series meant to Natalie, who suffered from leukemia. Rowling wrote Natalie an email in response, but it reached the MacDonald family a day after Natalie died.
In her honor, Rowling decided she would write Natalie into Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. She was sorted into Gryffindor: "Where dwell the brave at heart. Their daring, nerve, and chivalry set Gryffindors apart." Rowling didn't tell the MacDonald family she had made such a gesture. Natalie's mom found out by reading the book during a visit with Rowling in the U.K.
The first hot air balloon passengers were a duck, sheep, and a rooster.
In September of 1782, science-savvy brothers Joseph-Michael and Jacques-Ètienne Montgolfier discovered that a fabric bag rises under hot air. A year later, the Montgolfiers did their first public demonstration, filling a balloon with heated air by burning straw and wool under the opening at the bottom of the bag. Soon after, they traveled to Paris and Versailles, where they repeated the experiment with a larger balloon and, for the first time, with passengers: a sheep, a rooster, and a duck. The three animals inside the Montgolfiers' balloon floated for about eight minutes and landed safely about two miles away from where they took flight. What cute pioneers. And for more fun facts, check out 50 Amazing Facts We Learned in 2018.
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