The Good News Report: from a woman reunited with her childhood hero to a video of Dick Van Dyke singing, the uplifting stories that went viral this week

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Lauren Geall
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Dropping every Sunday, The Good News Report brings you nothing but positive news about wonderful people, to uplift and inspire you. 

There’s no denying that reading the news is rarely a positive or uplifting experience. Whether it’s new reports revealing the devastating impact of the climate crisis or stories of violence, war or terrorism, the headlines have the power to shape the way we see the world around us – studies have shown that consuming just three minutes of negative news in the morning can adversely affect your mood for the rest of the day.

And with breaking news notifications and endless updates appearing on social media, it’s affecting our mental health, too; research has also shown that when we’re exposed to negative news – particularly that which uses emotionally charged language – we’re not only more anxious, but more likely to catastrophise worries in our own lives and make them bigger than they are. 

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That’s why – in a series of worrying trends – more and more of us are choosing to ignore the news or avoid it entirely, due to rising numbers of people experiencing what researchers are calling news fatigue; The Reuters Institute’s 2017 Digital News Report found that 24% of people in the UK avoided the news “sometimes” or “often”, with that number increasing to 38% in the USA.

So what’s the answer? Avoiding the news definitely isn’t one; the news pages may be inundated with stories of violence, division and destruction, but that makes it more important than ever to keep ourselves informed. One thing we can do is make sure that our media diet is a bit more balanced, by consuming positive or good news stories that can help to remind us that there are good people, events and stories emerging all over the world, alongside the more negative stuff. 

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That’s where The Good News Report comes in: every Sunday, The Good News Report will provide you with your daily dose of positivity, featuring five viral uplifting stories to put you in good stead for the week ahead. It’s your little reminder that no matter what the news is telling you, there’s always good to be found.

Twitter helped this woman to track down her childhood hero

The internet proved itself once more this week when it helped a woman to track down a man who had helped her as a child.

Mevan Babbakar, who is now 29 and lives in London, took to Twitter to ask for help in her mission to track down a man who had bought her a bike for her 5th birthday when she was living in a refugee camp in the Netherlands in the 90s.

“Hi internet, this is a longshot BUT I was a refugee for 5 yrs in the 90s and this man, who worked at a refugee camp near Zwolle in the Netherlands, out of the kindness of his own heart bought me a bike,” she wrote. “My five year old heart exploded with joy. I just want to know his name. Help?”

The original tweet, which now has over 9.1k retweets and 24.9k likes, attracted attention from across the internet – and led to someone identifying the man and putting the pair in contact.

Just one day after she posted the tweet asking for help, Babbakar was able to meet her childhood hero. 

Sharing a picture of the pair after they had reunited, Babbakar wrote: “This is Egbert. He’s been helping refugees since the 90s. He was so happy to see me. He was proud that I’d become a strong and brave woman. He said that was his wish for me when I was small. He grows orchids. He has a beautiful family. He said it felt like I’d never left.

“Small actions can have big consequences,” she added. “The kindness that Egbert and his family showed me will stay with me for a lifetime, and it continues to shape me as a person. That’s the magical thing about kindness, it doesn’t cost anything and it changes the world one person at a time.”

A best friend went the extra mile to make his friend’s proposal extra special

One friend has taken third-wheeling in his stride by going the extra mile to make his best friend’s proposal extra special.

Charbel Abillama trusted his best friend Wael Monsour to help him with his creative plan for the proposal, which was captured by bystanders and went viral on social media.

Why? Because Monsour went above and beyond to make the moment one to remember. The video, which currently has 14.2 million views, shows Monsour crouching in a corner near to where Abillama had set up his proposal, showering the couple with petals as they got engaged. It’s a heartwarming reminder of the power of friendship which has taken the internet by storm.

“The idea of having Wael throw the petals was legit all him, I wish I can describe the type of character he is. He totally free-styled it and told me five mins before the proposal ‘I’m going to hide in this corner and throw petals all over her,’” Abillama told Buzzfeed News. 

And Monsour isn’t going to let his moment in the spotlight past him by. He’s officially branded himself “Petal Thrower” on social media, and is looking for his next petal-throwing opportunity. 

“Planning to propose?” he tweeted. “DM me to be there throwing petals.” 

Dick Van Dyke sang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in a restaurant and the internet went crazy

It is what it says on the tin – a video which shows the treasure that is Dick Van Dyke singing ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ in a restaurant has gone viral, and people are loving it.

The clip, which shows bystanders in the restaurant bobbing along to the tune and filming the event, has been viewed over 190,000 times so far. And although the video was originally filmed in 2016, it’s still cheering up people across the internet three years later: Dick Van Dyke was trending on Twitter on Sunday morning. 

It’s been 51 years since the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was released, but it seems the film still has the power to cheer us all up and get us singing along – Sunday afternoon film, anyone?

A five-year-old girl and her mum have gone viral after recreating iconic red carpet outfits using household items

We’ve all dreamt of trying on the out-there red-carpet fashion sported by some of our favourite celebrities, but Stafani Chaglar has actually lived it. Well, kind of. The five-year-old, from Antalya, Turkey, has gained popularity on Instagram for recreating some of the best red-carpet looks – with a twist.

Chaglar and her mum Alevtina remake the famous outfits using items they find around the house, including plastic bags, toilet roll and cardboard.

So far, the pair have recreated looks worn by Rihanna, Meghan Markle and Beyonce, but the possibilities are endless; after the Golden Globes this year, the pair recreated Lady Gaga’s flowing Valentino dress using blue paper.

It’s absolutely adorable, and we love it.

A teenage victim of people smuggling has written a thank you letter to England after being given a new life 

Teenager writes letter
"I never believed I would be loved. There is now a big rainbow in my life instead of darkness," the teenager wrote.

A 17-year-old boy has written a thank you letter to England after he survived being squashed in a suitcase by people smugglers.

Phong, who was originally from Vietnam, was discovered stowed in the back of a car in Dover last year, and spent six days in hospital as a result of his ordeal, which left him in a life-threatening condition.

The teenager is now being fostered by a family in Ashford, Kent, and has thanked the “kind people” who took care of him when he first woke up in the hospital and gave him “biscuits, orange and water”.

“Dear England, I’m writing a letter to tell you what a difference you have made to my life,” the letter begins. “You have saved my life. You have given me a family and a home.

“Thank you for finding me, making me better in hospital. Thank you for giving me a family.

“I never believed I would be loved. There is now a big rainbow in my life instead of darkness.”

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.

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