Good News Stories That Brought Us Joy in 2020

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Best of 2020
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We've got some very  Good News. It's hard to believe it, but 2020 -- a year no one could have predicted in their wildest dreams -- is finally coming to an end. 

The coronavirus pandemic has affected us all in some way, and while it may be far from over, there's hope that better and brighter days are on the horizon for 2021.

As we approach the new year, hopefully we can take some time to reflect on some of our own personal wins of 2020, no matter how big or small they may be. Perhaps it's as simple as a lesson you've learned in the face of adversity, a moment that made you stop and smile, or the silver lining in getting to know ourselves, neighbors and loved ones better throughout this unprecedented time. 

If you're like us and in need of some feel-good stories for inspiration, ET's rounded up some of our favorite Good News stories of the year. Ones that brought us joy, showed us how people were able to come together in tough times, and proved that 2020 wasn't all that bad. 


A MOMENT OF PRAISE FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS

Our first story tracks all the way back to March, when the coronavirus pandemic was still new in the U.S. and everyone was adjusting to their new lives at home. But for healthcare workers across the country, they continued to go into work every day to help fight COVID-19, and their efforts certainly didn't go unnoticed.

Residents in New York City made headlines when they started cheering and clapping every night at 7 p.m. for those working on the front lines of the coronavirus, as part of the "Clap Because We Care" initiative. It wasn't long before the trend caught on and continued across the globe -- in cities like Barcelona, Spain, London, England, and Naples, Italy -- bringing us collective hope in a time of need.


TONY HAWK'S EPIC SKATEBOARD EXCHANGE

Back in May, Cooper Morgan, a 6-year-old from Suwanee, Georgia, went viral after asking a FedEx driver named Mikail Farrar to deliver a package to his favorite skateboarder, Tony Hawk.

Farrar explained in a TikTok video at the time that he spotted Morgan flagging him down shortly after delivering a package to the young boy's home. Farrar recalled Morgan asking him if he knew Hawk, then gave the driver his skateboard, which had "Tony Hawk" written in black Sharpie marker. "Get this to Tony Hawk for me!" the excited boy exclaimed.

Flash forward to millions of video views later, Hawk quickly got word of Morgan's request. "Tell Cooper I got him!!!" the pro skateboarder commented on Farrar's video. "And I'll trade him for a new board."

Hawk then autographed one of his own skateboards, sent it directly to Morgan's home and spoke with the young fan over Zoom. "He is the best skater in the whole universe," Morgan gushed to ET. "I want a skate shop when I grow up!"


TEACHERS RAP TO GET THEIR STUDENTS PSYCHED FOR VIRTUAL LEARNING

When you think back to all the songs that had a moment in 2020, Jack Harlow's "WHATS POPPIN" is definitely one of them. 

That's why Callie Evans and Audri Williams, two teachers from Monroe High School in Albany, Georgia, decided to create their very own version of the track (along with a music video) as a way to help get their students pumped up for the new school year.

"What's poppin'? Brand new year and I'm locked in," Williams rapped. "Far as this teaching go I am unreachable, and I'm number one in your top 10. Mrs. Williams been poppin', 2020, new school year droppin'. No COVID-19, ain't worried about a thing, when it come to me, ain't no stoppin'."

Later speaking to ET, Williams admitted that she never predicted the video would go viral.

"The only outcome we wanted to get out of this was to really get the kids excited about going back to school virtually," she shared. "With everything going on with COVID-19, a lot of things being misplaced, families being lost, we just wanted to bring back some excitement into everyone's lives. Even the teachers' lives, because we were worried about how the school year would be too."

"To calm our nerves, we wanted to hype each other up," added Evans. "As well as the school, our children, the community. Just to get excited about virtual learning."


SENIOR CITIZENS RECREATE FAMOUS ALBUM COVERS

While in quarantine at Sydmar Lodge, a nursing home in the U.K., a group of senior citizens joined forces for an epic musical project that went viral. Activities coordinator Robert Speker, the man behind the idea, told ET that he carefully spent time choosing which album cover each participant should recreate. From David Bowie's Aladdin Sane to Blink-182's Enema of the State and The Clash's London Calling, the results were priceless.

"This is no ordinary care home, and I am so amazed by the response," Speker shared. "I selected the albums that were commonly known, like Michael Jackson's Bad, for example. And then, it was more so we wanted to find somebody with the same kind of personality, character, that could match up well to the famous artists."

"To be able to show them the final piece, and see their faces and their reactions, there's hysterical laughter at seeing themselves and their fellow residents in these different poses," he added. "And, they have heard all of those artists. They have lived full lives. Not many people can say they have lived through all of that."
 

VIRTUAL CAST REUNIONS

While shows like Tiger King and Love Is Blind certainly helped get us through the early days of quarantine, nothing seemed to bring TV and film fans more joy than the cast of their favorite series and classic movies virtually reuniting over Zoom. A number of celebrities, actors, directors, writers and producers all teamed up during quarantine to give us the perfect boost of nostalgia we needed.

One of the most memorable reunions, hands down, came from the cast of The Office. During an episode of John Krasinski's Some Good News web series, the actor welcomed a number of his former co-stars, including Steve Carell, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson and Mindy Kaling. Krasinski -- who even got ordained for the occasion! -- officiated a virtual wedding for two Office superfans during the reunion, with the cast all celebrating and dancing it out in their living rooms.

See more reunions from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Bring It On, Desperate Housewives, The Goonies, Lizzie McGuire, High School Musical and more here.
 

QUARANTINE FAMILY OLYMPICS

We've all been trying to find new ways to keep ourselves entertained while staying at home these past nine months: learning TikTok dances, baking bread, dying our hair pink, for example. But one family in Cornelius, North Carolina, got even more creative with their ideas, totally mastering a full-on "Quarantine Olympics" that inspired others across the globe to join in on the fun... real-life athletes included!

"We are a pretty fun family and like to play games most nights. One night, my mom tried to get us to play the same card game we had played the last two nights, so I decided it was time to switch it up," Alex Presley told ET of how the stay-at-home challenges, which range from Roomba balloon pop to toilet paper bowling to stair sledding, came to be. "So I made everyone do a straw race, where we try and beat the refrigerator. It went viral overnight [on TikTok] and we've been doing games ever since!"

Learn how to play the Presley family's sock slide challenge, blindfolded toilet paper dodgeball and more games here.


SOCIALLY DISTANCED GRADUATION CELEBRATIONS

High school seniors and college graduates may not have been able to have the ceremonies they always dreamed of this year, but families across the country still found unique ways to celebrate their achievements.

From yearbooks being made on Instagram, to drive-by parades and virtual commencements, we were definitely inspired by the Class of 2020's innovative ideas this summer.

"During this pandemic, especially for the Class of 2020, it's been rough on us, because we've missed out on a lot of things," Chance Kennedy, who created the viral #SeniorWalkChallenge, explained to ET. "I came up with the challenge as a way for seniors to be able to celebrate. It's basically for us to have a great time, to act like we're walking across that stage. Just dance your heart out, have a good time, all positive energy." 


COMMUNITIES COMING TOGETHER AGAINST RACISM

In addition to the coronavirus pandemic, many people across the country used their voices loud and proud in 2020 to continue the fight against racial injustice. The Black Lives Matter movement shook our nation, and while we've still got a long way to go to end racism, it was inspiring to read stories that helped restore some of our faith in humanity.

This unique year opened many people's eyes to certain societal issues for the first time, like James Martin, a 70-year-old white man from Nashville, Tennessee. His neighbor, a Black man named Carlos Whittaker, revealed on social media that in the four years he lived at his current residence, he and Martin had never spoken. Until now.

"[James] has a huge American flag draped on his front door and two white porcelain bunnies in his front yard. I've waved. I've smiled. I've shouted 'Morning!' Nothing. Not even an acknowledgement," Whittaker shared, of where their relationship previously stood. "But then yesterday, I see this man walk out his front door with a can of paint in one hand and a brush in the other. He proceeds to kneel down in front of one of the bunnies and opens up the can of paint. He dips the paintbrush in the can and begins to slowly and carefully paint the white bunny… black."

"For the next 12 hours I was trying to come up with 1,000 other reasons why he [might have] painted that bunny black, besides the reason my gut was telling me. So this morning when I saw him in his driveway, I walked across the street and asked him," Whittaker continued. "This is the hard work it's going to take, friends. Uncomfortable conversations. Admitting our own bias. Calling it out in our small circles of friends. So I need you all to call out the bias in your own hearts… Apologize to who you need to apologize to… and let's get this party started. Do the heart work."


For more stories that brought us joy this year, head to ET's Good News section here.

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