Often times we get wrapped up in the negative things going on in the world, but it's also important to remember the heartwarming stories 2017 brought into our lives and how they helped restore our faith in humanity.
From a lovable hippo named Fiona to a young girl's adoption and an unlikely friendship formed over a gaming app, these stories brought "happy tears" to our eyes and cheek-hurting smiles to our faces.
Who would've thought that a preemie hippo would steal the spotlight and our hearts, but that's exactly what Fiona at the Cincinnati Zoo did when she was born six weeks early in January. People across the world followed her journey as she received around-the-clock care to become the thriving hippopotamus she is today. We've cheered on her weight gain milestones, watched her photobomb a wedding proposal and when she did a backflip off her mom's back we knew she was just showing off.
Most heartwarming stories of 2017
Most heartwarming stories of 2017
This is Gavel. The German shepherd was fired from his job as a police K-9 in Australia for being too friendly. The good news is the Governor of Queensland had another job for him as the state's official Vice-Regal dog.
Kate McClure ran out of gas on the interstate in Philadelphia and a homeless veteran used his last $20 to help fill up her tank. McClure and her boyfriend created a GoFundMe account for Johnny Bobbitt Jr. with a goal of $10,000 as a way of saying thank you. The account skyrocketed past that goal and more than $400,000 was raised for Bobbitt. He has since used some of the money to buy a home and plans on donating a portion of it as well.
Fiona the hippo weaseled her way into our hearts -- and we'd like to think we are better off for it. She shocked zoo keepers at the Cincinnati Zoo when she arrived six weeks ahead of schedule. She spent time in the zoo's nursery where she received around-the-clock care and now she is thriving. She has a large following that supports every weight gain milestone she hits. Other memorable Fiona moments from 2017 include when she photobombed a wedding proposal, did a flip off of her mom's back and somehow made farting look cute.
(ZooBorns/Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
With the opening of an office door, in walked a young girl who would warm hearts across the world. Marion Kelly became an instant internet sensation when she crashed her dad's live TV interview on the BBC. The little girl with the adorable glasses even held her own press conference after she went viral, with the help of mom, dad and little brother, James.
(YELIM LEE/AFP/Getty Images)
A nun wielding a chainsaw was the heartwarming story we needed at a time when Hurricane Irma was causing so much heartbreak. The Miami-Dade Police Department posted pictures and a video of Sister Margaret Ann helping clear downed trees after Irma ravaged Florida in September and people on social media were quick to praise her selflessness and kindness.
At 6 years old Edith Fuller of Tulsa, Oklahoma became the youngest contestant to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. During her time in the competition she spelled the word "nyctinasty" correctly and we L-O-V-E-D it!
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot during a congressional baseball practice over the summer, received a standing ovation after throwing the ceremonial first pitch before the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals game in October.
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Taken today on the C Train. Thiiiiiis is what makes America great. Happy 4th of July, y'all. ❤️💙 https://t.co/2b7Q89E2EI
Kevin Durant called his mother, Wanda, the "real MVP "during his emotional NBA MVP speech in 2014 and in 2017 the two were able to celebrate his first NBA championship together in the middle of the Golden State Warriors home court.
(Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Sometimes photoshoots don't go as planned -- and that's totally okay. Indiana Conservation Officer Levi Knach and his K-9 partner Kenobi posed for their portrait in February and the progression from stoic to true puppy love was as heartwarming as it gets.
(Photo: Indiana State Parks/Facebook)
A bond randomly formed over the popular smartphone game Words With Friends proved that true friendship has no age limit. Spencer Sleyon, 22, and Rosalind "Roz" Guttman, 81, competed with each other on the scrabble-like app for more than a year. Over the 300+ games they played together a true friendship formed. Spencer traveled to Florida, where Roz lives in a retirement community, and the two got to finally meet in person.
Video from inside a Utah school shows the moment an11-year-old girl learned she'd been adopted. Tannah Butterfield embraced school office manager, Jackie Alexander, in a moment that truly defines what pure joy looks like.
Former President George W. Bush vs. a plastic rain poncho was the heartwarming battle of the year. Bush's struggle during President Trump's swearing-in ceremony appeared to not only amuse the public -- but himself as well.
Carson Wentz has a special connection with Eagles fans and had a particularly close bond with 9-year-old Lukas Kusters. Lukas was battling cancer and his last wish was to thank the Eagles quarterback. Wentz was able to fulfill that wish before Lukas passed away in June. Then in October, Wentz presented Lukas' older brother and the rest of his family with a game ball.
(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
A Baltimore school choir's performance of Andra Day's "Rise Up" left many people with goosebumps. The video posted on the choir director's Facebook page deeply moved countless people with many commenting on the positive message it sent and how it brought them to tears.
A simple act of kindness by an officer with the St. Louis County Police Department was uplifting from the start -- and only got better as we learned more. A man on his way to a job interview needed assistance tying his tie and Sgt. Marshall stepped in to help. The department later shared an update on their Facebook page letting people know that the man got the job!
(Photo via St. Louis County Police Dept./Facebook)
It's the question that warmed hearts and uplifted spirits.
Anu is a 7-year-old girl who goes to school in England. Video from BBC Midland showed her wearing her new prosthetic leg at school for the first time and the reaction from her schoolmates couldn't have been better. Anu shared hugs with her friends and they helped her test out her prosthetic by running around the playground while holding hands.
When thinking of heartwarming stories that leave us teary eyed, nothing comes close to a military homecoming. This picture from May captured U.S. Army Specialist Daniel Paredes surprising his wife Selena at Yankees Stadium after his return from Iraq.
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Hurricane Harvey ravaged Texas in August, but through all the tragedy there were touching signs of compassion. This photo shared by the Harris County Sheriff's Office showed Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Johnson rescuing two small children from heavy flooding. The photo became a symbol of hope, in the face of devastating times.
(Photo via Harris County Sheriff's Office/Twitter)
Derrick Campana, a real life "Dr. Doolittle," has dedicated his career to making prosthetics for animals at Animal Ortho Care in Sterling, Virginia. He made two front legs for this pony named Angel Marie after she was left too crippled to walk from an accident soon after she was born.
Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, California started a program that uses remote control cars to take young patients to the operating room. The cars were donated by the San Diego Regional Law Enforcement Teddy Bear Drive.
Liberal Member of Parliament Warren Entsch lifts up Labor MP Linda Burney as they celebrated Australia's parliament legalizing same-sex marriage in December.
(AAP/Lukas Coch/via REUTERS)
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In May, six words helped warm hearts and lift up spirits this year. Anu, a 7-year-old girl, who returned to school for the first time with her new prosthetic leg was asked by one of her classmates, "is that your new pink leg?" The question was posed in such a simple way, like she was asking her what she brought for lunch. That's all the students needed to know to accept Anu back with open arms and seconds later they were off and running around the playground.
And with the opening of an office door in March, in walked a young girl who would warm hearts across the world. Marion Kelly became an instant internet sensation when she crashed her dad's live TV interview on the BBC. The little girl with the adorable glasses even held her own press conference after she went viral, with the help of mom, dad and little brother, James. So let's walk out of 2017 like Marion walked into her dad's interview -- like superstars ready to embrace what 2018 has in store.
Click through the gallery above to see more heartwarming stories from this year, including a chainsaw-wielding nun, a homeless veteran's act of kindness and a police K-9 fired from his job for being too friendly.