These 11 heartwarming stories from this year will remind you that 2017 wasn’t ALL bad

Let’s face it, 2017 has been a pretty rough news year.

But among the ever-present natural disasters, mass shootings, scandals and political discord that dominated headlines, there were still some stories that heartened the disheartened, uplifted our spirits and gave us hope for humanity.

Some of these inspirational stories went viral and others you might have missed. All of them are worth a read to refresh yourself before 2018.

1. Heroes Of Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey itself was a terrible story, hitting the Houston area hard in August. But the stories of rescues, assistance and kindness that emerged after the flood helped make up for some of the damage. Remember the loud little pig that was rescued from high waters? Or the Houston boy who opened a lemonade stand to help raise money for rescue efforts? There were plenty of diamonds in that rough.

harvey photo
Getty Images | Joe Raedle

2. Royal Weddings And Silly Royal Children

We can usually count on England’s royal family to make us feel a little better about life. When Pippa Middleton got married in May, cameras captured her page boys and flower girls behaving just like all children their age—fidgeting and making faces. It was a cute reminder that even upper-crust youngsters need a royal shushing from time to time.

pippa wedding photo
Getty Images | WPA Pool

And among other happy royal news, Prince Harry popped the question to his girlfriend, American actress Meghan Markle. Their upcoming nuptials are something exciting to anticipate in 2018.

3. Cop Takes Stranded Birthday Boy To McDonald’s

A Green Bay, Wisconsin, police officer, who had his own brush with a kind cop as a kid, returned the favor this year. Officer Darryl Robinson responded to a school’s call about an 8-year-old boy who was left after school without a ride home. To make matters worse, it was the boy’s birthday. Robinson picked the kid up and took him out for a Happy Meal and a ride in his cop car. A small act of kindness that could have a big impact down the road.

4. Homeless Man Helps Stranded Woman, Gets Amazing Gift In Return

After Kate McClure ran out of gas on an isolated stretch of road in Philadelphia, a homeless veteran named Johnny bought her a tank of gas with the little money he had. In return, McClure helped start a GoFundMe account that ended up raising $400,000 toward giving Johnny a home, a truck and a savings account.

Kate McClure, GoFundMe

5. Unlikely Friendship Forms Through Online Game

When Spencer Sleyon, a 22-year-old black man paired up with Rosalind Guttman, an 80-year-old white woman for regular games of “Words with Friends,” the pair created a cross-generational, interstate friendship. They got to meet in person for the first time in December.

6. Deaf Baby Hears Mom’s Voice For First Time

You’re pretty much guaranteed to go mushy over little Charlotte Keane’s reaction to hearing her mom’s voice for the first time after getting hearing aids. Stories don’t come much sweeter than this.

7. Dedicated Husband Uses Sandwich Board To Get Wife Kidney

Wayne Winters, a 74-year-old Utah man, used a sandwich board sign and his own street-side advertising efforts to search for a kidney for his ailing wife, Deanne. Winters’s sign read: “Need Kidney 4 Wife,” and included his phone number. The flip-side of his sign also raised awareness about the lengthy transplant waiting list in Utah. Happily, Deanne recently received a kidney donation.

hospital bed photo
Getty Images | Theo Heimann

8. Free Haircuts For Homeless People

A London hairdresser has been giving free haircuts to homeless people during his off time. Joshua Coombes has been giving as many as seven free haircuts a day! He’s also started a larger #DoSomethingForNothing campaign to increase compassion for the homeless community.

9. 16-year-old Gets Into Harvard, Classmates Go Crazy

How great would it be if every high school student had this level of support from their classmates? Video captured the moment that 16-year-old Ayrton Little from Louisiana found out he’d been accepted to Harvard. Not only was the teen pumped, but all of his fellow students rejoiced along with him in this viral video.

10. Heroes Of The Las Vegas Shooting

So many stories of heroism and support came out of the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1. From monetary donations to volunteer “comfort dogs,” the tales showed people from all backgrounds and parts of the country coming together in a time of great need.

Mass Shooting At Mandalay Bay In Las Vegas
Getty Images | Ethan Miller

11. Bride Donates Canceled Wedding Reception To Needy

After Sarah Cummins called off her wedding just shy of the big day, she faced the nonrefundable cost of a wedding reception. Rather than let all of the food go to waste, Cummins turned the reception into a celebratory meal for homeless families and individuals living in nearby shelters. Turns out the gesture had a long-term impact on Cummins, too. She now regularly volunteers at a homeless shelter.

Ritz Charles

There, now don’t you feel better? We’re looking forward to more stories of hope and inspiration like these in 2018.