5 Incredible Stories We Guarantee Will Brighten Your Day
The news cycle is like a pustule filled with humanity's awfulness, just waiting to burst all over your mac and cheese the next time you open Facebook at the dinner table. That's why, every once in a while, it's refreshing to read a story where somebody beats the odds, defies fate, and manages to put one over on the cosmos for a longshot win -- and it's not a billionaire racist.
A Young Gymnast Idolizes An Olympic Gold Medalist, Finds Out She's Her Long-Lost Sister
The Magnificent Seven were a team of all-female athletes in the 1996 Summer Olympics. Among them was Dominique Moceanu, who, at just 14 years old, was the youngest member of the gold-medal-winning gymnastics team. Like most young girls in the '90s, Jennifer Bricker was inspired by Moceanu's highly publicized success. Unlike most young girls in the '90s, Bricker decided to actually do something with that inspiration: She trained and excelled in gymnastics, becoming the Illinois high school tumbling champion before competing in the AAU Junior Olympics. Today she's an accomplished acrobat and dancer, and has even performed with Britney Spears.
Did we mention that Jennifer Bricker was born without legs?
But can still kick your ass.
That's already some Grade A, free-range, organic schmaltz right there -- but we're not done yet: Bricker was put up for adoption by her Romanian immigrant parents, soon after birth. Moceanu was also born to Romanian immigrants, and this shared heritage was part of why Bricker felt such an innate connection to the famous gymnast. When she was 16, feeling she was mature enough to handle the knowledge, Bricker asked her adoptive mother for information regarding her biological parents. That's when she found out that her Romanian immigrant parents and Dominique Moceanu's Romanian immigrant parents were, in fact, the very same Romanian immigrants. The woman she had idolized her entire life was actually her biological sister.
A few letters and a whole lot of "you're messing with me, right?" later, the two were well on their way to making up for lost time, lost parents, lost limbs, and found ... love.
Well, you come up with a better tagline for the inevitable TV movie ...
Pediatrician Saves Baby's Life, Baby Returns The Favor (30 Years Later)
When Chris Trokey was born prematurely, he weighed a measly 3.2 pounds. His pediatrician was Dr. Michael Shannon, who stayed with Trokey around the clock until his health was stable. Trokey survived, and Shannon presumably went outside to flip off the Grim Reaper for a little bit.
Thirty years later, Dr. Shannon was driving down Orange County's Pacific Coast Highway when a semi T-boned him and pinned his SUV beneath the truck. Just as his vehicle burst into flames -- as we all knew it would, by the rules of dramatic tension -- a paramedic yanked him from the wreckage in the nick of time.
"Wait, let's give it another 10 seconds for dramatic timing ... This is going to look so cool."
That paramedic was, of course, the very same Chris Trokey whom Dr. Shannon had saved 30 years prior. Sometimes karma is a little hungover when it shows up for work, and just plays things out literally. While Shannon came through the ordeal a few toes poorer, he did survive, and he now proudly serves as the pediatrician to Trokey's young son. Whom he will no doubt save one day, and who, in turn, will save him -- and that's how Highlanders are born.
We're not sure how the whole decapitation thing comes into play, but that's not our business.
A Dog Is Reunited With His Owners The Day Before He's Scheduled To Be Put Down ... 10 Years After Going Missing
When Sion Cox received a phone call informing him that his lost dog had been found, he wasn't happy or relived -- he was just plain confused. A quick glance at his mom's living room revealed that both of their dogs were very much at home, and going about their important doggy business, which probably involved some combination of tongues and buttholes.
"Hold all my calls. This meeting is going to take longer than I thought."
The caller informed Cox that the dog in question was named Chance, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier that had gone missing from Cox's home in Wales ... 10 years before.
But Chance randomly reappearing a full decade later isn't even the craziest part of this story: When Chance was found, he was down to just one day on his population control countdown. That's doggie euthanasia, if you didn't already decipher the doublespeak. When Cox went to snatch his decade-lost dog from the precipice of doom, Chance perked up as if he'd seen them just yesterday. Finally, a 'one day from retirement' story with a happy ending.
"Sorry about this, but you took the trash outside to the garbage can and I assumed you were never coming back and panicked."
A Widower Accidentally Loses A Memento From His Late Wife, Finds It At A Subway Five Years Later
In 2009, septuagenarian Peter Bilello and his wife Grace did something even more adorable than old people dancing: They each signed a $1 bill, and kept those bills in their respective wallets as a constant reminder of their love for one another. One year later, tragedy struck: Peter, being a man, accidentally spent his Grace dollar while out shopping. True, the frozen burrito was probably delicious, but was it worth a symbol of undying love?
Well, it's still better than pawning his wedding ring for a bottle of MD 20/20.
Then genuine tragedy struck, when Grace succumbed to cancer.
In 2015, Peter took his granddaughter to lunch at Subway. After sending her to the counter with 10 bucks to pay for their sandwiches, she returned with more than just questionable meats and a future case of intestinal discomfort -- she returned with $3 in change. When he counted it out (slowly and methodically, as is the way of all grandpas) Peter couldn't believe his eyes.
And it managed to avoid getting 500 "Where's George" stamps on it.
Five years after he'd accidentally spent it, and Peter was reunited with the same dollar that bore his late wife's signature. He burst into tears and vowed right then and there never to part with it again, no matter how tempting a burrito he might be faced with.
A Married Couple Who First Met As Teenagers Find Themselves Together In A Childhood Photo
During a 1980 trip to Walt Disney World when Donna Voutsinas was just five years old, she and her brothers posed for a snapshot on Main Street, USA. Now, pay special attention to the stroller in the background of her pic:
But not to the man behind the curtain.
Fast forward to a grown and newly engaged Donna. Just one week before their wedding, she and fiance Alex were looking through old photographs to put together a wedding video, when he came across the aforementioned Disney World snapshot. His mouth dropped. How creepy was the old Mr. Smee costume? Kids used to be cool with that?!
Oh, also: That guy pushing the stroller was his dad. Not only that, but the wee one inside the stroller was none other than Alex himself.
And the stroller behind that? Future Olympic gold medal gymnast Dominique Moceanu. 
Fourteen years before they even met -- Alex was born in Canada, Donna in Florida -- the couple had randomly appeared in the same Disney World vacation photo. Odds of that happening to anyone, let alone two people who grew up so very far apart? Perhaps one in six million.
Now, married for more than 10 years, Alex and Donna enjoy recreating the snapshot with their own three sons.
... whose own future spouses are not in this photo, unless Mr. Smee ... no, no we shall not speak of it.
Vicki Veritas once thought she was Dominique Moceanu too, until she sprained her wrist attempting what was remembered as "the ugliest cartwheel of all time." Follow Vicki on Twitter. Dibyajyoti Lahiri would like to reiterate that he absolutely did not cry while researching for this article, especially not at the story of Peter Bilello and his lost-and-found dollar. Follow him on Twitter here.
For more ways life has always been this way, check out 6 True Stories That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity and 22 Inspiring Acts of Kindness That No One Ever Talks About.
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