8 Beautiful And Unlikely Friendships

1. When Laila Alawa is harassed on Twitter, this Trump voter comes to her rescue

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It's an unlikely friendship.

Laila Alawa is a 25-year-old Muslim woman living in D.C. Troy Pflum is a 49-year-old Lutheran man living in Wisconsin.

She's a moderate who voted for Hillary. He's a Republican who voted for Trump.

But Pflum, a truck driver and jewelry salesman, has become an important Twitter ally to Alawa.

Alawa is the founder of The Tempest, a media platform that gives voice to millennial women of all ethnic backgrounds. Alawa, who has more than 22,000 followers on Twitter, is Syrian. She was born in Denmark, lived in Japan for several years, then immigrated to the United States as a child. Her religion, her appearance, and her outspoken nature have made her the recipient of a lot of Twitter vitriol, including death threats.

Pflum, who has just under 2,000 followers, acknowledged that "Twitter has a problem" with trolls.

Pflum isn't alone in this belief. The platform is often criticized for its slow, sometimes nonexistent, response to online threats and harassment.

CNNTech has previously covered the barrage of hate tweets hurled at Alawa. "I hope you die slowly in a pool of pigs blood," and "Can I use that towel on your head to wipe my a**" were just a couple. Pflum, who has three teenage girls, often sweeps in to help Alawa fend off her trolls. "If someone starts attacking her, I'll go right back on the attack. I'm actually more sarcastic than I am mean -- that actually ticks them off even more."


2. An incredible, unlikely friendship

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Emily Farmer and McEwan “Mac” Voorhees don’t have much in common.

Voorhees turns 100 on Thursday, Oct. 27. Farmer just turned 25.

Farmer is a magician at the piano. Voorhees prefers his beloved harmonica.

Voorhees saves his days at Heritage Place Senior Living in Bountiful, Utah. Farmer freely spends hers jogging right past it on her daily workouts or sprinting to work as a supervisor at Deseret Book in City Creek Center.

Despite their differences, these two share a special friendship that offers lessons in how to live a joyful, service-filled life.

And it all began with an unexpected pitstop.

One morning on a long run through Bountiful, Farmer noticed Heritage Place and felt inspired to stop and ask if they’d like her to play their piano sometime. The staff said yes, of course, and Farmer saw no reason to wait. Still in her running clothes, she sat at the piano and began to play.

Voorhees, already in the room, introduced himself with a playful question. “So, when does the show start?”

Farmer laughed and their unique relationship was born. “We were instant friends,” Farmer told me during a recent Skype interview. Voorhees, sitting next to her, smiled at me through the camera, “We sure were.”

Since that first meeting nearly 18 months ago, Farmer has returned to visit Voorhees and play for the other residents at least once a week. While she plays, Voorhees sings along and often accompanies her on his harmonica.

“I’ve never seen such a lively young lady,” Voorhees said. “And how she can play that piano! It’s not just me anymore — she’s got people gathered all around when she visits.”

Farmer returned the praise faster than she can play a 16th note. “But he has those nimble fingers. He gets off his walker and dances and plays that harmonica. He’s so good!”

When we discussed his favorite tunes — “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” and “You Are My Sunshine” — Voorhees revealed they were among the songs he sang to his late wife, Helen.

“I knew none of these songs before meeting Mac,” Farmer said. “And now I just love listening to him sing them.”

In addition to their jam sessions, they sometimes dance, talk about their faith and go for walks. Farmer has even taken her pal golfing at Lakeside in West Bountiful.

Whenever they’re together, Voorhees is quick to offer his single friend dating advice. Farmer will often talk about someone she’s met and report on the good dates, bad dates and everything in between.

Once when Farmer boldly told Voorhees he couldn’t pass away until she’d met her spouse and brought him by for introductions, her friend blurted, “You’re not shopping very good. You better hurry up!"

Voorhees, who has three children, nine grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren, truly treats Farmer like family. “I am so blessed. Emily has given me a new lease on life. I try to help her cheer people up because we all fight the sorrow. But when you’re almost 100 years old, what else can you do but be happy?”

Farmer is happy, too, and she credits her energetic friend for always brightening her mood. “He’s taught me just how important service is. When you’re confused, stressed or down, it lifts us. I think the best friendships are forged through service.”

Farmer is equally grateful for Voorhees’ children. “They take amazing care of him and they’ve become like family to me, too. People always think he’s my grandpa. I’m OK with that.”

Recognizing her dear friend won’t be alive for another 100 years, Farmer records what she calls his “Mac-isms” in a special journal. Among her favorites?

“The secret to staying alive to 100 is just keep eating, breathing and moving so they don't cover me up with dirt.”

When Farmer asked how he wanted to celebrate his big birthday, he didn’t hesitate to request a dance party with his fellow residents.

No doubt it’ll be a party to remember. But neither Emily nor Mac will ever forget that their unlikely friendship started with an unexpected pitstop.

Good for them. And, just maybe, good for us, too.


3. Unlikely Friendship: How an 83-year old and 9-year old became "Lunch Buddies"

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They are the most "unlikely" lunch buddies.

One is 83, the other 9.

The "Lunch Buddy" program between the Eagles Elementary School and with Touchmark Senior Living, has created a bond you have to see to believe.

On today's menu?

Hot dogs, salad bar and baked beans.

While in line 9-year old Jaime skips over to the salad bar and opts for something else, but it doesn't matter what's on the menu, because Tuesday's lunch is always a little extra special, because he's gets to see his friend... Don .

Their friendship may look a bit unusual, given the 74 year age difference.

"When you're on old guy with a cane. You never know how a kid's going to react," said Don Hogenson, Lunch Buddy.

Their bond started because of the school's "lunch buddy" program with Touchmark Senior Living.

It's another adult interaction, a person in their life to have to bond with.

Parents can sign their child up if they think it would be beneficial to have some one-on-one time.

"I couldn't have a better lunch buddy than him," said Hogenson.

So, every Tuesday, Don enjoys some tasty cuisine with Jaime.

What do a 3rd grader and a retired aerospace executive have to talk about?

A lot more than you'd realize; today's topics ranged from school to life lessons to careers.

It's been a really neat relationship to watch being built.

Even though they see each other about 20 minutes together once a week.

'I look forward to this every Tuesday," said Hogenson.

This is one friendship that shows, age really is just a number.

Their friendship has grown outside of the lunch room, too.

Don bought Jaime a birthday present and invited his family over for dinner a few weeks ago.


4. Kind-hearted lad who asked his 89-year-old neighbour to spend her final days with him reveals in heartbreaking post that she has died

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Ever since Chris moved into an apartment across the hall from Norma Cook, the two were inseparable.

Tragically, Norma passed away this week and Chris shared the sad news with a touching social media post.

He wrote: “It’s with a heavy heart that I share the news that earlier this morning the world lost a truly inspiring, beautiful woman.

“Norma is now resting peacefully in the eternal and while she may no longer physically be with us, her spirit will continue to fill the hearts of so many people.

“Perhaps Norma’s lasting legacy is that her story helped the world to see the true meaning of love.

“Norma reminded me that we all are created to love and all desire to be loved.

“This year Norma has helped the world see the true meaning of Valentine’s Day.

“To love another is not about living struggle free or never experiencing hurt or loss, but to fully and deeply open our hearts to one another without fear.

“Each of us is lovable even with all of our differences. Love has no boundaries.

“May you rest in peace my sweet sweet lady, Norma.”


5. Unlikely Friendship Formed Between White Cop And Black Teen After Encounter

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It had all the makings of bad situation. Late at night, in an industrial section of Benicia, California, officer Kirk Keffer says he spotted a shadowy figure in a dark hoodie.

“And it kinda caught me off guard because I normally don’t see anybody out there. And there’s no sidewalks. And he’s kind of walking on the side of the street,” Keffer said. “It wasn’t right.”

Or was it? Jourdan Duncan says he was minding his own business.

“And I noticed it was a police car. And I was like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to move. I don’t want him to think I have any weapons,’” Jourdan said.

Jourdan explained to the officer that he was just walking home from work. There was no crime. The kid didn’t need help. By all rights, officer Keffer could have, and many officers would have, just left him alone. But Keffer isn’t that kind of cop. He gave Jourdan a ride. And more importantly, he gave him a listen.

Keffer said Jourdan’s drive and work effort are what struck him.

“And to me that speaks volumes,” he said. As Keffer took Jourdan from where he works on the line at Pro-Form Laboratories, he started to really appreciate the young man sitting next to him. Because this wasn’t just a trip around the block.

This was a seven-mile trek, a two-and-a-half hour walk, to Jourdan’s house, a whole town away in Vallejo, California.

“He said, ‘And you’re walking?!’  And I said, ‘Yeah, I’m walking,’” Jourdan said.

“Not many 18-year-olds you meet have that kind of mindset,” Keffer said. “They don’t even want to walk down to the store, let alone walk seven miles just to get to work.”

Jourdan says he started walking to work after his car broke down last May. He says people have offered him rides, but he wants to make it on his own. And when Keffer heard that, he had heard enough. He immediately made plans to visit Jourdan again.

“He said, ‘Hey, Jourdan, you remember me right?’ And I was like … ‘How could I not,’” Jourdan said.


6. 8-Year-Old Gives Lego Money To Classmate Struggling With Cancer

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A second-grade student at Community Christian School in Bradenton knows the meaning of putting others first. For months, 8-year-old Jeffrey Holz has been saving up for the Lego set he’s always wanted.

But with a $100 price tag, it wasn’t easy.

“Birthday money, Christmas money,” listed Jeffrey. “Earning money from cleaning, earning money working at the cafe at church.”

By the middle of January, Jeffrey was just $12 short of his goal. Then he learned about a senior at his school who’s been fighting cancer, and decided he had a new plan for his hard-earned cash.

“He said that cancer was more important than a Lego set,” said his mother, Meredith. “And that he felt like he really wanted to give all of his money. So he asked me if I would go the bank to get his money out, and said I had to get it for that next day.”

Richard Gallop, 17, was diagnosed with cancer back in September. As an athlete with his sights set on college next year, staying positive has been challenging. 

On Wednesday, Richard and Jeffrey met face-to-face for the first time.

“I was ecstatic, but confused at the same time,” said Richard. “Because that’s a big, big thing to do.”

And with a high-five and a few smiles, the boys became fast friends.


7. Unlikely friendship between 93-year-old and local teenagers

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Pupils from a local school have spent time with a Hailsham care home resident after they formed a special friendship last year.

Doug Tamsett, aged 93, a resident at Bowes House care home on Battle Road, received a visit from pupils from Hailsham Community College, and enjoyed the afternoon chatting over tea.

The special relationship started last year, when it became a tradition for the students to give Doug a wave on their way home from school as they passed him each day. In December, the pupils surprised Doug with a special visit and a Christmas present.


8. Goat and UPS Driver Form Unlikely Friendship: 'She Is Always Around for a Great Laugh'

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Special delivery!

Pearl, a rescued goat living at a Tennessee barn, and a local UPS delivery man has formed an unlikely friendship.

Every morning, when the driver pulls up, the 18-year-old goat struts up to the van, and says hello.

According to Stephanie of The Gentle Barn, Pearl often waits outside the truck as the UPS man is delivering packages, and sometimes even hops in the van and makes herself comfortable.

In return, the deliveryman often brings her peanut butter treats.

"Pearl roams our 12-acre property freely throughout the week and is always getting into some kind of trouble," Stephanie told InsideEdition.com.

When the goat isn’t sniffing around the UPS man, Stephanie explained Pearl loves sneaking into the kitchen and grabbing collard greens.

“She is always around for a great laugh,” she said.

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