100 days of coronavirus: the most heartwarming stories to be shared since pandemic started

It's been a testing 100 days, but there have been some incredible moments of humanity amid the challenges

These may be trying times, but there have been plenty of heartwarming moments shared on the internet since the outbreak of the coronavirus. Facebook / Twitter 
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It has been 100 days since the first cases of the coronavirus were reported in China. One hundred days of uncertainty and statistics have left us all feeling a little anxious and unsettled.

But, between the most challenging of moments, there have been plenty of heartwarming examples of humanity that have provided a smile just when we need it the most.

From families sharing new experiences in self-isolation to random acts of kindness, social media has been flooded with stories and videos showing tender moments of positivity.

Here are some of the best from the UAE and around the world.

1. An exchange of letters between neighbours in isolation

A 93-year-old grandfather stuck in isolation received a lovely present from his 5-year-old neighbour, who is also staying home.

"I just wanted to check to see if you're OK?" little Kirah said in a handwritten letter. "I have drawn you a rainbow to remind you that you are not alone."

Neighbour Ron, 93, wrote back, thanking Kirah for the kind note and giving the girl a little history lesson in return. "I was the first person to move into the crescent in 1955 and I have been here ever since," he wrote, adding: "I thought your drawing of the rainbow was amazing and I am going to place it in my window for people to see."

2. Centenarian beats Covid-19 in time to celebrate his birthday

US veteran Bill Lapschies recovered from the coronavirus just in time to celebrate his 104th birthday on Wednesday, April 1. The Second World War veteran also survived the Spanish flu. Family members met outside the Edward C Allworth Veterans' Home in Oregon with balloons and signs to share their birthday wishes, with everyone remaining at least six feet apart to comply with social-distancing guidelines.

3. Jimmy Kimmel and Jennifer Aniston surprise nurse

A Utah nurse was left without work and in isolation after she tested positive for the coronavirus. To thank Kimball Fairbanks for her work on the front lines of the fight against Covid-19, Jimmy Kimmel and Jennifer Aniston surprised her with a $10,000 (Dh36,7000) gift card to Postmates. Postmates also donated gift cards to all the other nurses on her hospital floor.

4. The most heartwarming commentary ever

This video has had 8.8 million views, and it deserves every single one of them as watching it brings us so much joy. British sports broadcaster Andrew Cotter found himself without much to commentate on given that live sports are on pause around the world, and so he decided to tackle the ‘sport’ of his dogs Olive and Mabel eating their dinner. Even actor Ryan Reynolds replied to Cotter’s tweet with admiration over the line, “tasting absolutely nothing”.

5. The care home that tried to lift residents' spirits

With residents at one Welsh care home separated from family amid ongoing social distancing measures, workers decided to take their mind off things with a board game. But this was no ordinary round of Monopoly – instead, care home staff engaged residents in a life-size version of Hungry Hippos, where the objective is to catch as many balls as possible within the animal's latch-operated mouth. Residents at Bryn Celyn Care Home in Maesteg were given baskets attached to poles, and pushed in their wheelchairs towards a pile of plastic balls.

6. The granddad and grandson who held a jam session on video chat

James Gallagher, 9, and his grandfather Paul Browne, 73, might not be able to be in the same room physically, but that hasn't stopped them hanging out. Caroline Gallagher, James's mother, shared a video on Twitter of the two holding an impromptu jam session via a video call, with Browne singing along to Queen's I Want to Break Free on the TV screen as his grandson strums a guitar.

7. New York City landlord waives rent for 200 tenants

Mario Salerno, who owns roughly 80 apartments in the Williamsburg and Greenpoint neighbourhoods in Brooklyn, has waived rent for the month of April, for his 200 tenants. He said the idea came to him after some of his tenants were worried after losing their jobs because of the pandemic.

He posted a notice on the front doors of all his buildings, announcing: "Due to the recent pandemic of coronavirus Covid-19 affecting all of us, please note I am waiving rent for the month of April."

8. The couple who didn't let self-isolation stop them from declaring their love

Thanks to quarantining measures, Bob Shellard couldn't visit his wife, Nancy, in her Connecticut, US, nursing home to celebrate their anniversary. So, according to NBC, he stood outside her window with a sign that read: "I've loved you 67 years and still do. Happy Anniversary." It's the first anniversary that the Shellards have spent apart, their daughter told the broadcaster.

9. The granddaughter who revealed her happy news through a window

In another tear-jerking visit to a care home, Carly Boyd had to tell her grandfather she was engaged through his window. The North Carolina, US, resident showed her granddad, who is currently under quarantine in the Premier Living and Rehab Centre, her ring through the pane.

"He got up to see it better and she put her hand up on the window and he put his hand on the window, and we all just fell apart," Gennie Parnell, who works at the care home, told The Today Show.

10. Finding love amid a pandemic

It is almost a dead cert that people won’t be going on any face-to-face first dates at the moment, but that hasn’t stopped a young couple in Brooklyn from finding love. Jeremy Cohen noticed a neighbour dancing on the roof across from his building and, long story short, sent his number over on a drone and sure enough she did call. Since then they have gone out on a date, with him in a zorb for safety.

11. The 'Love Actually' tribute to celebrate Mother's Day

Pamela Foulis surprised her mother, 83, on her driveway in Edinburgh, Scotland, with a series of messages and a bunch of flowers. "We all wish we could give you a hug and a kiss … but due to the virus, we will just give that a miss … Sorry we aren’t out eating, drinking and having fun …but hopefully by next year this will all be over and done," the cards read.

12. The grandfather who had to see his newborn grandson from a window

Emma Gallachoir shared a photo of her father meeting his new grandson for the first time from outside a window, as the family practised social distancing. "Baby Faolan is doing great and oblivious to his new fame," said Gallachoir, who is aunt to the newborn, in an update. "My dad is also doing well and is completely oblivious to his new fame. My brother lives about two minutes away from him so he went up to say hello. He knew he couldn’t come in. He is looking forward to holding the baby soon."

13. British woman helps pay it forward

Becky Wass just wanted to do her bit to help those in her hometown affected by the pandemic, but her novel idea has ended up inspiring others around the world to follow in her footsteps. The Falmouth lecturer created a printable PDF that can be downloaded and filled out, and is designed for those self-isolating to ask for help. The postcard allows those who are less confined to their home to fill in their contact details, and slip it through neighbouring postboxes. Those who need assistance in picking up groceries, running errands, or just want a friendly phone call to stem loneliness can then get in touch.

14. Woman comes to the aid of Singapore's elderly

When she noticed crowds of older men and women forced to queue outside pharmacies and stores for three to four hours in order to buy a protective face mask, Singapore resident Jennifer Le decided to take matters into her own hands. The Vietnamese national ordered tens of masks online, and gave them out for free at the city's Sengkang station. "It doesn't matter if you're Vietnamese, Singaporean or Thai," she told YouTube channel Our Grandfather Story. "We may be different in nationalities, but we're all just people."

15. The sausage dog that couldn't contain his happiness

Little Rolo, a 7-year-old dachshund from the UK, was so overjoyed to have his family working from home that he caused himself an injury. "My dog has been so happy that everyone is home for quarantine that his tail has stopped working, so we went to the vet and the vet said he had sprained his tail from excessively wagging it," owner Emma Smith posted on Twitter in March. Smith added that Rolo was on pain relief and is expected to make a full recovery. "He is super happy and there is now movement [of his tail] from side to side but he is struggling to lift it up in the air.”

16. A surprise birthday party in the virtual world

Alexia Christofi and her friends decided to throw a surprise birthday party for Christofi's nine-year-old daughter Sophia in the Animal Crossing video game. After having to call off her daughter's birthday party because of the coronavirus, they surprised her in the virtual world instead. "They brought gifts, let off party poppers, played music and played a few games of hide and seek. It was wonderful and she loved it and I am so lucky to have friends like them," tweeted Christofi.

17. Family's lockdown adaptation of 'Les Miserables' song

Any theatre fans will know that there is nothing more rousing than a rendition of One Day More from Les Miserables. Well, the Marsh family from Kent, England, a family of six very talented singers, took the stage show's best song and changed the words to fit the trials and tribulations of life in lockdown. "Our grandparents are miles away," they sing. "They can't work Skype, we're broken-hearted."

18. Golden retriever delivers groceries to neighbour-in-need

Classed as a vulnerable candidate for the coronavirus because of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Renee Hellman is quarantined to her home. That means the Colorado Spring, US, resident is unable to run her daily errands, such as picking up essential groceries. However, 7-year-old Sundance has proved he's a top pup by helping out his neighbour in need. The golden retriever's owner, Karen Evelth, trained her dog to make daily trips to Hellman's home. First, Sunny picks up a grocery list, and then returns later that day to deliver the items that Evelth has picked up at the supermarket.

19. Playing noughts and crosses the safe way

Playing noughts and crosses, or tic tac toe, the safe way. Facebook
Playing noughts and crosses, or tic tac toe, the safe way. Facebook

For many families, it is not possible for children (or parents) to see elderly, vulnerable relatives at the moment, so families have found creative ways to stay in touch. A little girl in Canberra, Australia, has been playing noughts and crosses through a window with an elderly relative, a fun and safe way to keep up social interaction. Watch the video in full here.

20. The men dressing up as Spider-Man

In a bid to put a smile on children’s faces, a man in Stockport, England, has been dressing up as superhero Spider-Man and taking to the streets to entertain kids, during his government-mandated daily exercise time. The concept has naturally grown and now there are a number of Spider-Men –people in the local area can even request a visit here.

21. The video conference potato

We have all had to become adept at video conferencing in the past few weeks, some with better success than others. One woman’s boss is an example of the latter, after having an accidental run-in with one of the filters on Microsoft Teams.

“My boss turned herself into a potato on our Microsoft teams meeting and can’t figure out how to turn the setting off, so she was just stuck like this the entire meeting,” a Washington DC woman tweeted, with a screen grab of the meeting. It has since gone viral with more than 942,000 likes.

22. The man who virtually climbed to Everest’s base camp from home

British man Rory Southworth, a keen climber and trail runner, called out to his fellow runners to see if anyone wanted to accompany him in virtually climbing to Everest’s base camp. Around 30 people joined him on his mission to ascend 5,364 metres up their stairs at home. It took them five days and they completed the task on Friday, April 3.

23. Arnie and his ponies

The Terminator actor and former governor of California has been playing smart and staying in, joined by his adorable animals, Whiskey and Lulu. He posted his first Twitter video with the pony and donkey on March 16, and they have been making appearances on social media almost daily since then.

"See that's what we do, we don't go out, we don't go to restaurants, we don't do anything like that any more here," he says. "We just eat with Whisky and with Lulu, we have a good time."

24. The family that hosted a fancy dinner party at home

A British dad put on a dinner party for his two children that even the fanciest diner would be delighted to attend.

“So because isolation and going nuts we threw a dinner party for the kids,” filmmaker and reporter Ben Moore said on Twitter.

Highlights include Moore describing the milk as a “March 2020 vintage” and offering his son the chance to try it before he pours and saying it was “nice to meet a man with a taste for fine milk”.

25. A sibling dance-off

Twitter user Natalie Weston had been separated from her brother for more than a week, so headed to the window of his house for a little Proud Mary dance-off set to the Tina Turner classic.

“A week of self-isolating had taken its toll on my brother so I decided to cheer him up. Glass may have been between us but we danced together, sat and had a chat next to each other,” Weston wrote on Twitter. “It really is the little things.”

26. The Rock shows off his softer side

Getting sick of singing happy birthday to yourself while you wash your hands? Why not try another method from Dwayne Johnson instead? The former-WWE-star-turned-actor shared a video of him rapping his verse from the song You're Welcome from the movie Moana as he washes his daughter Tia's hands. He says the song is the perfect length to make sure you're washing for the recommended amount of time.

27. Man buys all the flowers in a florist shop before it's forced to close

As Massachusetts issued a state-wide mandate on closing all non-essential businesses, one man called a local flower shop in Needham, US, and purchased all their blooms. He also anonymously delivered 10 large bouquets to people in town.

“His main concern was that they got the flowers but he also wanted to help local businesses knowing that stores were forced to close as of noon,” said shop owner Julie Ben-David.

She wrote on Facebook that aside from his “unbelievable act of kindness", she was impressed that he didn’t want any credit for the gesture.

28. Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy are deemed essential workers in New Zealand

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has sent out a personal message to children to rest assured as both the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny are classified as "essential workers". She was careful to state that because it's a difficult time, the Easter Bunny might not get everywhere this year and suggested an alternative.

"I have a bit of an idea that maybe in lieu of the Bunny being able to make it to you home, maybe you could create your own Easter hunt for all the children in your neighbourhood?

"So if you are one of those homes that's had a teddy in your front window, maybe draw an Easter egg and pop it into your front window and help children in your neighbourhood with their own Easter egg hunt – because the Easter Bunny might not get everywhere this year."

29. The streets of Italy come alive with the sound of music

With the nation placed in lockdown, isolated Italian residents have taken to singing from their windows, filling empty streets with tuneful melodies.

Events have been cancelled, schools closed, travel restricted and many businesses shut in the European country, one of the nations most affected by the spread of the coronavirus.

One recording in the Tuscan city of Siena has been viewed more than 3.7 million times on Twitter, while another rendition of Lewis Capaldi's chart-topper Someone You Loved even scored a retweet from the Scottish musician himself.

30. Animal lovers take drastic steps to save pets

When the Chinese city of Wuhan was locked down in January in a bid to further prevent the spread of the virus, many residents were placed in quarantine and others prevented from returning home after Lunar New Year celebrations.

Emergency rescue during the lockdown

We have helped more than 600 pets since last week. Most of them were left and locked in the apartment before the lockdown. It is very difficult to do that because we are not allowed to get into privat apartments without permission. At the time it is hard to prove that we are authorized. So we tried at least to feed them in well secured communities. And tried as much as we can to get into private apartment to take pets out.

Posted by Wuhan Small Animal Protection Association on Saturday, February 1, 2020

The move didn't just affect people, with some pets left home alone, prompting worried owners and kind strangers to take to social media to ensure left-behind animals were looked after.

The hashtag "save the pets left behind in Wuhan" became the third-most searched term on the Twitter-like Weibo platform, with users able to give good Samaritans access to their homes so they could feed their animals. Groups such as the Wuhan Small Animal Protection Association and Wuhan Pet Life have also been breaking down doors to rescue pets.

31. A Spanish piper serenades Dubai Marina

Dubai resident Carlos Presno has been serenading his residents in the Marina each night with his Spanish pipes. He initially joined in with the clap for front line workers which took place across the UAE, but thanks to the overwhelming reaction to his music, he has continued to play for people each evening at 8pm. Presno told The National: "I appreciate the people who go out and clap, I am playing for them. In my country, they can't do that. I'm not looking for any kind of support or anything I just want to make people smile."

32. Children around the world share rainbows

Children have been sharing colourful artwork as a sign of hope and appreciation for healthcare workers and those on the front line fighting the coronavirus.

The campaign originally started in Italy, with signs featuring the slogan "andra tutto bene", which translates to "everything is going to be OK".

Dubai's Darcey Isolina Zagalsky, 9, has put a rainbow on her window, to spread the message that 'everything is going to be OK'. Courtesy Chiara Sarzi Amade
Dubai's Darcey Isolina Zagalsky, 9, has put a rainbow on her window, to spread the message that 'everything is going to be OK'. Courtesy Chiara Sarzi Amade

The campaign has been widely shared on social media, and there are rainbows popping up in homes around the world, including plenty scattered in windows around the UAE.

33. UK street's daily social-distancing dancing

Each morning, neighbours living in the north-west of England take to their front gardens for a daily spot of social-distancing dancing. Occurring at around 11am each day, the dancing is led by local fitness instructor Janet Woodcock and lasts around 10 minutes.

In a video which has been shared on social media thousands of times, the street's residents can be seen enjoying their morning dance to the tune of Tom Jones's It's Not Unusual.