Thousands of people chipped in to help this dad find a new cup for his son with autism.

If there's one thing Marc Carter's son Ben loves, it's his blue sippy cup.

Ben is 14, and he has severe autism.

He's almost completely nonverbal, but that doesn't mean he can't communicate his dedication to this simple, blue cup.


It might not look like much, but Ben has been drinking from it almost exclusively for his entire life.

Marc says he replaced it, once, with an exact replica, but even that took great care. First he swapped in a new base, then a few weeks later, he added a new top. Ben was skeptical, but he eventually adjusted.

The National Autistic Society reports that it's quite common for people with autism to become attached to or obsessed with certain behaviors, interests, or even specific objects, like Ben's cup. The organization writes: "The interest can ... provide structure, order and predictability, and help people cope with the uncertainties of daily life."

So, to Marc and Ben, the cup is also a little more than just a cup.

Unfortunately, Marc recently found out that the manufacturer, Tommee Tippee, is no longer making this model of sippy cup. That's a huge problem for Ben.

Marc's not kidding around when he talks about how important this cup is to his son. He says Ben has been hospitalized twice from dehydration after refusing to drink out of anything but his sippy.

The cup, he says, literally keeps his son alive.

As a father, he knew he had to do something. The current cup Ben uses is three years old and falling apart at the seams. It would only be a matter of time until it was unusable, and what then?

So Marc put out a call on Twitter, hoping that someone, somewhere, might have an old cup like Ben's laying around.

Before long, his tweet was retweeted thousands of times. The hashtag #CupForBen was flooded with kind offers from strangers who wanted to mail Ben their old sippys.

Tommee Tippee, the manufacturer of the cup, even heard about the campaign and offered to look through their warehouses to see if they still had some left.

(According to Marc's latest update, they've found one.)

One user even mocked up a digital model of the cup in case Marc wanted to have it 3D-printed.

To call this heartwarming response overwhelming would be a massive understatement.

"I've got some coming, some as in enough to last us a few years," Marc wrote. "If that's all I get then that's great."

He says Ben's behavior is unlikely to change at this stage, and he'll likely rely on his blue sippy cup for the rest of his life.

Thanks to the unending kindness of some random Twitter users, Ben and Marc won't have to worry about running out. For a long while, at least.

Despite all the attention, Marc insists he's not a "hero dad." He's just doing the very best he can for his son.

"In all this it's so important to realize this isn't about me, it's not about a little blue cup, it's about autism," he told the blog Rainbows Are Beautiful Too.

"My heart goes out to all of the carers who have to struggle daily with things that seem so trivial to the rest of the society — I think you are all fab parents and I admire you all."

Pexels / Julia M Cameron
True

In the last 20 years, the internet has become almost as essential as water or air. Every day, many of us wake up and check it for the news, sports, work, and social media. We log on from our phones, our computers, even our watches. It's a luxury so often taken for granted. With the COVID-19 pandemic, as many now work from home and children are going to school online, home access is a more critical service than ever before.

On the flip side, some 3.6 billion people live without affordable access to the internet. This digital divide — which has only widened over the past 20 years — has worsened wealth inequality within countries, divided developed and developing economies and intensified the global gender gap. It has allowed new billionaires to rise, and contributed to keeping billions of others in poverty.

In the US, lack of internet access at home prevents nearly one in five teens from finishing their homework. One third of households with school-age children and income below $30,000 don't have internet in their homes, with Black and Hispanic households particularly affected.

The United Nations is working to highlight the costs of the digital divide and to rapidly close it. In September 2019, for example, the UN's International Telecommunication Union and UNICEF launched Giga, an initiative aimed at connecting every school and every child to the internet by 2030.

Closing digital inequity gaps also remains a top priority for the UN Secretary-General. His office recently released a new Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. The UN Foundation has been supporting both this work, and the High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation co-chaired by Melinda Gates and Jack Ma, which made a series of recommendations to ensure all people are connected, respected, and protected in the digital age. Civil society, technologists and communications companies, such as Verizon, played a critical role in informing those consultations. In addition, the UN Foundation houses the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), which advances digital inclusion through streamlining technology, unlocking markets and accelerating digitally enabled services as it works to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Keep Reading Show less

We Americans are an interesting bunch. We cherish our independence. We love our rugged individualism. Despite having pride in our system of government, we really don't like government telling us what to do.

Since rebellion is literally how we were founded, it's sort of baked into our national identity. But it doesn't always serve us well. Especially when we find ourselves in a global pandemic.

Individualism—at least the "I do what I want, when I want" idea—is the antithesis of what is needed to keep contagious disease under control. More than anything in my memory, the coronavirus pandemic has tested our nation's ability to put up a united front, and so far we are failing miserably.

I hear a lot of the same complaints from people who decry government mandates to wear a mask or governors' stay-at-home orders. We don't need a nanny state telling us what we can and can't do! This is tyranny! This is dictatorship! What ever happened to personal responsibility?

I actually have the same question. What did happen to personal responsibility?

Keep Reading Show less
True

This year, we've all experienced a little more stress and anxiety. This is especially true for youth facing homelessness, like Megan and Lionel. Enter Covenant House, an international organization that helps transform and save the lives of more than a million homeless, runaway, and trafficked young people.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is Delivering Smiles this holiday season by donating essential items and fulfilling AmazonSmile Charity Lists for organizations, like Covenant House, that have been impacted this year more than ever. Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a charity of your choice or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

Sometimes it seems like social media is too full of trolls and misinformation to justify its continued existence, but then something comes along that makes it all worth it.

Apparently, a song many of us have never heard of shot to the top of the charts in Italy in 1972 for the most intriguing reason. The song, written and performed by Adriano Celentano and is called "Prisencolinensinainciusol" which means...well, nothing. It's gibberish. In fact, the entire song is nonsense lyrics made to sound like English, and oddly, it does.

Occasionally, you can hear what sounds like a real word or phrase here and there—"eyes" and "color balls died" and "alright" a few times, for example—but it mostly just sounds like English without actually being English. It's like an auditory illusion and it does some super trippy things to your brain to listen to it.

Plus the video someone shared to go with it is fantastic. It's gone crazy viral because how could it not.

Keep Reading Show less
via Becker1999 / Flickr and Price and Sons

One of the major themes that arose out of World War II was how America's national character helped propel the Allies to victory over the Axis powers. Americans came together and sacrificed by either picking up a rifle and heading "over there" or on the homefront, they did whatever they could to help the war effort.

They bought bonds. They turned their businesses into factories. They rationed items such as meat, dairy, fruits, shortening, cars, firewood, and gasoline.

After living through nine months of COVID-19, one wonders whether today's Americans would be adult enough to make the sacrifices necessary to win such a war.

Keep Reading Show less