These 13 Heartwarming Photos and the Stories Behind Them Will Make You Cry

Make sure to grab the tissues!

butterflies released at wedding

There's nothing like scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and coming across a striking photo that warms your heart. And when the photo's backstory is even more touching, it makes us grateful that the internet exists so we can share in someone else's magical moment and have our faith in humanity restored. These are 13 of the most heartwarming photos we've come across in 2019—the images and stories behind them are sure to make you shed a tear or two.

Snow White comforted this six-year-old boy with autism in a truly magical way.

Courtesy of Lauren Bergner

When Lauren Bergner brought Brody, her six-year-old son with autism, to Disney World, she never expected the treatment he would receive. In the middle of taking photos with Snow White, Brody began to have a breakdown—not uncommon for children with autism—but luckily, Snow White was more than ready to be Brody's princess in shining armor.

"Snow White could tell Brody had special needs," Bergner wrote in a Facebook post. "She took him for a walk and got him time away from the crowd! This is true magic!"

Disney surprised a child who spent his savings to help Hurricane Dorian evacuees.

disney surprises boy with a invitation to disney world, heartwarming photos
YouTube/Disney Parks

Jermaine Bell had spent a year saving up money in the hopes of celebrating his seventh birthday at Walt Disney World in September. But when Hurricane Dorian hit, he took his savings and bought food and water for some of the storm's evacuees in Allendale, South Carolina. And, after his compassionate act made headlines, Mickey Mouse and co. surprised Jermaine at his birthday party to gift him and his family a VIP vacation to Disney World later that month.

"I was just super happy," Jermaine said of the surprise. "I'm really excited because I've wanted to go to Disney for a long time." Which just goes to show, "the more you give, the more you shall receive," the wise seven-year-old said.

This eight-year-old student comforted his classmate with autism on the first day of school.

viral photo of boy comforting classmate with autism
Courtesy of Courtney Moore

The first day of school can be hard for any child, but it can be especially difficult for a child with autism, like Connor Crites. After being dropped off at school, the eight-year-old boy broke down in tears. But as soon as classmate Christian Moore saw what was happening, he went over to Connor and grabbed his hand to comfort him.

"I'm so proud of my son," Christian's mother Courtney Moore posted on Facebook after capturing the heartwarming moment. "It is an honor to raise such a loving, compassionate child!" Since the encounter, both Christian and Connor (and their mothers) have become friends, which only makes this sweet story even better.

This assisted living facility created the most heartwarming "back-to-school" photos.

seniors back-to-school photos
Courtesy of Garden View Assisted Living

During back-to-school season, parents like to take photos of their kids on their first day, holding up signs about their age, their likes, and more. And Garden View Assisted Living in Carroll, Iowa, decided to put their own fun spin on the trend with back-to-school photos of their residents holding up white boards featuring their ages, the year they graduated, and their advice for students today. One resident, Marie, who coyly noted she graduated "many moons ago," wrote that she hopes that kids today "do the best [they] can and have fun doing it." What a sweetheart!

This boyfriend built his partner a wall to display her mugs after her ex shamed her.

a man building a rack for his girlfriend's mugs, heartwarming photos
Ana Stanowick

When Jodi Lyn Stanowick started dating Brad Davis after her divorce, she knew she had found a good one—but when they moved in together, he proved just how good of a partner he is. In a now-viral tweet, Jodi's daughter, Ana Stanowick, shared a photo of Davis as he put up a display shelf for Stanowick's mug collection. While her ex-husband used to criticize her for bringing home so many mugs, Davis built a ceiling-high shelf to display them.

"This picture was actually sent in my family group chat because my mom and her boyfriend just moved in together," the younger Stanowick told Best Life. "I thought it was so cute, so I wanted to post it for my friends to see. …  I thought they would enjoy seeing how happy she is with her boyfriend."

This elderly couple couldn't stop smooching during a photo shoot.

elderly couple
Sujata Setia Photography

London-based photographer Sujata Setia has been traveling around the world taking family photos for the last five years. During her time as a professional photographer, she's noticed that her photo shoots rarely include grandparents—something she now seeks to change by gifting photo shoots to elderly couples.

The couple featured above was the subject of a recent shoot on a beach in Ireland. The weather was less than ideal, but it didn't stop these two love birds from having a wonderful time.

"It was ridiculous weather that day—rain and thunderstorms and the couple were freezing. But, boy, that lady would not stop kissing her husband," Setia told Best Life, even noting that she had to yell at the woman to stop kissing her husband so she could take varied shots. "They were such an amazing couple and so inspiring. One day, they just sold their home and decided to travel the world in a camper van."

These adorable toddler best friends reunited like they hadn't seen each other in months, even though it'd only been two days.

toddlers hugging viral video
Michael Cisneros

When New York City's cutest toddler duo, Maxwell and Finnegan, saw each other on the street after two days apart, they were unable to hide their excitement. Maxwell's father, Michael Cisneros, captured the two on video joyfully charging at one another to hug, looking like it'd been months since they'd seen each other. And after he shared the video on Facebook, the internet was overcome with joy as well.

"When they are away from each other, they are always asking about one another," Cisneros told ABC News. It's just too cute!

A groom released butterflies in honor of his late sister at his wedding and they literally touched everyone.

family releases butterflies to honor late sister at wedding
Jessica Manns

At his wedding, Max Van Gorder wanted to acknowledge his late sister who had passed away in a car accident, so he released butterflies in her honor during the ceremony. However, these butterflies didn't simply fly away; rather, they clung tightly to the family and stayed throughout the entire ceremony, making sure not to miss a single special moment.

"This same butterfly on [Max's father's] finger stayed there the entire ceremony and then flew on to the bride's bouquet. Lydia, the bride, even walked down the aisle with two on her dress," their wedding photographer, Jessica Manns, recalled in a Facebook post. "Then a few hours later during the speeches, another butterfly somehow got inside the barn and landed on Lydia's neck and remained there for all the speeches." This entire endeavor was made all the more special by the fact that Max's late sister's name was Vanessa, which actually means "butterfly."

This couple didn't let a New York City blackout ruin their wedding.

bride and groom plaza hotel wedding new york city blackout
Justin Rosenthal

Craig Silverstein and Amy Rosenthal were in the middle of their wedding ceremony at New York City's Plaza Hotel on July 13th when all the lights suddenly went out, the result of a blackout affecting most of Manhattan. Some may have chosen to call the ceremony off on account of darkness, but not these newlyweds. They carried on, reciting their vows to a sea of guests who held up their smartphones for light. As they took the wedding festivities to a nightclub, the bride's brother managed to capture this magical photo of the couple embracing in front of the darkened hotel.

This deer adorably photobombed this couple's wedding photos.

Courtesy of Laurenda Marie Photography
Courtesy of Laurenda Marie Photography

The bouquet toss tradition took a turn at Morgan and Luke Mackley's wedding at The Felt Estate in Saugatuck, Michigan. During a photo shoot, a deer simply strutted over and took the bride's flowers, ensuring he'd be the next one to walk down the aisle.

"Morgan really wanted the post-ceremony wedding photos to take place in a field near the reception, so we walked over there after dinner," photographer Laurenda Bennett told Best Life. "The deer was grazing in the field, and, as soon as it saw us, it walked right over and stepped over this little white fence and started grabbing individual flowers from the bouquet."

This teen who dressed up in costumes everyday to greet his little brother after school.

noah tingle bus brother
The Bus Brother/Facebook

Noah Tingle, a high school senior from Louisiana, realized he might not get to be around his little brother Max as much once he graduated, so he made it his mission to do something to savor their time together. That's when he decided to start greeting Max at the bus stop after school every day in a new, ridiculous costume.

"He's my best friend," Noah told Best Life of Max. "I wanted to embarrass him and make some memories." From Santa to Godzilla, all of the costumes have been documented on a Facebook page their mother created called The Bus Brother. Noah said he plans to continue the tradition for as long as possible, and strangers have even started to send and donate costumes for him to don.

This teacher penned a letter to the tooth fairy on behalf of her student who accidentally threw her tooth away.

lily loses tooth, mrs. roth pens letter to tooth fairy
Sara Sciulli

When first grader Lily Sciulli lost her tooth at school, she was excited to hand it over to the tooth fairy that night to claim her reward. But when she accidentally threw the tooth out at lunch, she was devastated.

Luckily, her first grade teacher, Laura Roth, was there to save the day, penning a letter to the tooth fairy about the situation on Lily's behalf. "Dear Tooth Fairy," Roth wrote. "I can confirm with full confidence and authority that Lily lost her tooth at school today. … Please take this note as proof of tooth loss. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to teach out to me at any time!"

Lily placed the note under her pillow that night, and she happily awoke to a handwritten response from the tooth fairy and two dollars.

Police granted this woman's dying wish… by arresting her.

josie birds fulfills dying wish of getting arrested

Not many people have a smile on their face when they're escorted away in handcuffs—but for Josie Birds of Manchester, England, getting arrested was a dream come true. "She is 93 years old and her health is failing, and she wanted to be arrested for something before it's too late," Birds' granddaughter, Pam Smith, wrote in a viral tweet.

The Greater Manchester Police Department went out of their way to fulfill Birds' wish with a mock arrest. "She has a heart of gold and thoroughly enjoyed it," Smith added. And for more pictures of grandparents that'll blow you away, check out these 30 Vintage Photos That Show That Our Grandparents Were Actually Really Cool.

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Kali Coleman
Kali is an assistant editor at Best Life. Read more
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