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Florida firefighter falls off bridge into river while rescuing woman from fiery crash

An off-duty firefighter in Florida fell off a bridge and into the St. John’s River while rescuing a woman from a fiery crash. 

Orange County Fire Rescue Lt. John McNally said he’s lucky he survived plummeting nearly 40 feet down into the river. 

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He said he was heading to work about 6:40 a.m. Friday when he saw the crash. 

“I saw one vehicle scrape a concrete barrier and then burst into flames,” he told WFTV

According to a report, Zachary Daniels, 30, crashed into Rhonda Nagy, 54, causing her vehicle to catch fire.

McNally said he pulled on his gear and he and Daniels rushed to help Nagy. 

He said her door was jammed against the bridge. He put one foot over the barrier hoping to pull her to safety, but he fell over the bridge.

“About halfway down, I realized I was falling and I just braced myself to hit the pavement,” he said. “I was so relieved to hit the water.”

He and Daniels, who also fell in, swam to safety, WFTV reported.

“He (Daniels) deserves more credit than I do because I’m trained for this,” McNally said. 

McNally said he was surprised and grateful that everyone survived. “Miraculously, no injuries. I can just equate it to pure luck,” he said. “It’s unbelievable. It’s astonishing.” 

Florida Highway Patrol troopers said the crash remains under investigation and charges are pending.

Disney brings ‘Toy Story’ magic to South Florida boy

Sometimes Disney magic is delivered right to your door, bringing you smiles, tears and lots of joy. 

>> Read more trending news

This happened to a South Florida family on March 14 when they spotted a special box at their house.

But first, let’s rewind to last weekend, when a simple mistake was made.

On the previous Saturday, the Ramsaran family of Riviera Beach went out to explore the Disney Boardwalk Resort in Orlando. This was their last day after spending an entire week having fun at the theme parks.

However, around noon, the family stopped at the character carnival store. 

Wes, 4, simply wanted to have fun -- a bit more.

He walked in with his favorite new toy, one he was so excited to bring home: Slinky, the “Toy Story” dog. 

But he wanted to play with pirates for a minute, so he left Slinky with his father, Shane.

Wes laughed and played. Meanwhile, somewhere on a bench, a forgotten Slinky lay. 

After leaving the resort, Mom realized something was wrong:

The Slinky was missing.

“Oh, no! He’s lost forever,” Wes told his parents.

There was crying, arguing, and a lot of calls to Disney. 

All the little boy wanted was for Woody and Buzz Lightyear, back home, to meet their new dog Slinky.

“Don’t worry, Slinky will make his way home,” his mother, Kelly, told him. 

Of course, she didn’t know.

The family drove away from Orlando to Riviera Beach that afternoon, with Wes in the backseat, in a somber mood. 

They were almost home when the phone rang. Disney officials said Slinky had been rescued and he was coming home to the gang.

He’d be there seven to 10 business days, Disney told them. The family waited. 

When the special box arrived on Wednesday, Wes and his parents rushed to open it. Yes, Slinky made it! The Disney staff made sure to properly pack the springy plastic toy pup so that he would get to Wes safe and sound.

But, wait a minute. There was something else to be found.

Inside the package, there was Slinky – but, he wasn’t alone. 

He brought a few friends with him, and now they were home.

To top off the magic, Disney took the reunion to the next level.

They sent the family seven pictures of Slinky and his friends having fun at the resort.

Said Wes’ mom: “It feels good to know that there are still good people in the world.”

Kelly Ramsaran posted their experience and a message from Disney on a post on her Facebook page. 

Photo sent to wrong family helps child with cancer

Maybe it was fate that caused a text to be sent to the wrong family. Maybe it was a coincidence. Whatever it was, a mistakenly sent photo has helped the family of a little boy with leukemia and could help others with cancer.

>> Read more trending news 

A girl named Sydney was trying on a gown and sent a photo of herself in it to Tony Wood by mistake. Wood’s a dad of six and instead of either ignoring the message or sending a bland “wrong number,” he and five of his children sent the girl a thumbs up, telling her to go with the gown, WZTV reported.

The photos and messages went viral and got the attention of hundreds of thousands of people.

Two people were missing: Wood’s wife and their son Kaizler.

Kaizler has leukemia, and Wood’s wife was at the hospital with him, WZTV reported.

Once strangers found out why the family was missing two members, they jumped into action and started donating to the Woods’ GoFundMe page set up to help pay for Kaizler’s treatments, WZTV reported.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

The goal had been set at $10,000, but thanks to the viral story, they surpassed it and have raised more than $52,000.

The Wood family is now using its newfound viral fame, and the kindness of others, to help another family in the area in a similar situation.

The Woods put the word out about Finn Shafran, who has a rare cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. He has had his bladder removed and still has an 85 percent chance of relapse without chemotherapy. The Shafran family is raising money for his treatments with a goal set of $25,000. As of Friday afternoon, it was less than $1,500 short of that goal. 

MUST HEAR: Dr. Elvis, the singing surgeon, tells everyone ‘It’ll be alright’ in viral video

Their calling may be to save lives and put people back together again, but two Mayo Clinic surgeons could have answered another calling.

You have to hear Dr. Elvis Francois, yes Dr. Elvis, sing. In a viral video that has more than a million views, Francois, with Dr. William Robinson on the piano, performs “Alright” by Mike Yung, WCCO reported.

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Their selection couldn't be more appropriate for visitors to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Francois posted on Facebook, “As health care providers we often meet people at their greatest time of need. And sometimes the best gift you can give is a simple reminder that everything will be alright.”

Pokemon Go players raising funds to repair defaced statue of Jesus

After a statue of Jesus at a New York chapel was defaced, several residents banded together to raise money to fix it. They got help from an unusual source: Pokemon Go players.

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The statue, located outside the Shrine of Our Lady of the Island in the eastern Long Island city of Manorville, was defaced Saturday night, Newsday reported. Parishioners and area residents began raising money to fix the life-size statue, whose face was smashed. They want to have it fixed in time for the Stations of the Cross that traditionally commemorate Good Friday on March 30.

David Ringhiser, 37, of Mastic, said he usually plays Pokemon Go at the shrine, which he said has several PokeStops — which are locations where players collect game items, Newsday reported. He created an online fundraiser Wednesday night to help fix the statue and shared it in Facebook groups for local Pokemon Go players, Newsday reported.

“A lot of us play Pokemon Go there to load up on items. I think they are great to let us drive around or walk around there with no issues,” Ringhiser wrote.

More than $1,000 has been collected, mostly from people who play the game, Ringhiser said.

The Rev. Pete D’Abele, an administrator at Shrine of Our Lady, said he hasn’t noticed the players, who walk the grounds with their eyes trained on their phones or drive slowly through the parking lot. So he was surprised when Ringhiser stopped by at the church Thursday morning.

“It’s good,” D’Abele told Newsday. “I guess he wanted to pay it forward.”

Ringhiser said he hopes to raise $5,000 for the repair.

“It’s a beautiful place and right now they have a garbage bag covering the statue. They shouldn’t have something like that there,” Ringhiser told Newsday. “We’re just trying to help.”

Plow drivers can't believe man's age after they help him shovel driveway

It had been a long day for two plow drivers in Lawrence Wednesday, but at the end of their shift they found a man attempting to shovel his driveway and decided to help

“You look over the sea of snow and it looked like it was up to his hips,” Martin Gutierrez said.

>> Read more trending news 

Gutierrez and Austin Sciacca of Dream Team Contracting had been plowing for 21 straight hours, but when they saw the man trying to shovel his 60-foot driveway by hand they stopped to lend a hand.

After finishing the driveway, the two men felt they had to ask how old he was. Maurice, the homeowner, told them his birthday was May 13, 1917.

In two months, Maurice will turn 101.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

“We come from a very close-knit family and the elders in the family are what we take care of the most because they started everything, so we definitely want to give our part back,” Sciacca said.

The contractors say they hope this act of kindness will inspire other people to do the same thing – help the elderly.

Stranger’s Facebook message reunites family with dog stolen six months ago

Left unattended for only 30 minutes, Feather was stolen right out of the Martin’s fenced backyard six months ago.

The family tried desperately to find their beloved Siberian husky. 

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They had nearly given up hope until recently, when Briana Martin got a Facebook message from a nearby mechanic shop -- Feather was at his parent’s house nearly 90 miles away, according to WQAD.

"I was very shocked,” Martin told WQAD. “I just kind of stared at my phone for a second and said what? Once I got my bearings, I said OK, what's their name, what's their address, where can I find them?"

Martin gave the information to East Moline police, who contacted officers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Feather was recovered and returned to the Martins within hours, according to WQAD. The man suspected of stealing Feather did not comment. 

"I wish I could know what's going on with her in the past six months, where she's been, what she's done, how she liked her first snow,” Martin told WQAD.

The Martins plan to press criminal charges. 

"You are looking at grand theft in some cases,” Martin said. “Animals are not cheap, and you could go to jail. Be willing to pay that price if you want to take an animal.”

VIDEO: Officer proposes to girlfriend during school visit

A Duluth police officer surprised his girlfriend and students alike when he pulled off a very public proposal.

The Duluth Police Department said Officer Matthew Jay attended the "Community Helpers Week" event at The Weinstein School at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta in Dunwoody.

>> Read more trending news 

"He was graciously invited by his girlfriend that works there to show off, yet, she didn't know what was about to happen next," the department posted in the video's description on YouTube.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

As students and the couple are about to take a photo in front of the officer's patrol car, he scoots over to his girlfriend, Aliza Sandler, on one knee with a ring box.

Her reaction is one of pure surprise

Jay asked Sandler to marry him. Sandler was so surprised that she nearly (accidentally) knocked over a nearby student before saying yes. 

Watch the touching moment below or click here.

Photo of Joe Biden chatting with homeless man goes viral

A photograph of former Vice President Joe Biden speaking with a homeless man outside a Washington-area theater has gone viral, the Huffington Post reported.

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Caleb Baca photographed Biden speaking to the man after he taking his granddaughter to the movies, and Washington businessman Paul Eqale shared the image on Facebook.

“Character is about what you do when no one is watching,” Equale wrote on Facebook.

“I’m not exactly sure what he gave the homeless man, but he appeared to write something down on a piece of paper …, which he then proceeded to give the homeless man outside,” Baca told WTTG.

65-year-old woman has had pet tortoise 56 years

Jeanna Smith, of Minnesota, first brought George the gopher tortoise home when she was only 10 years old. Now, at 65, she’s celebrating 56 years of friendship with him.

>> Read more trending news

“George is probably my oldest friend,” Smith told KARE TV’s Boyd Huppert “He’s just really been a wonderful pet.”

Smith was gifted the young tortoise by the Milwaukee County Zoo at her 10th birthday party in 1962. 

When she was younger, he’d ride in her bicycle basket or tag along on family vacations to Lake Michigan, and they even dressed up in matching bee costumes for Halloween.

“He doesn’t sit on your lap and can’t take him on walk, but he’s a great pet,” Kirby Smith, Jenna Smith’s husband, told KARE TV. The two met in college at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls, and together, they owned five Labradors. George has outlived them all.

But George has certainly given the Smiths a scare or two in the past, most notably when he escaped after burrowing under a fence in 1988.

According to KARE TV, kids in the neighborhood and a TV news crew showed up to help with the search.

“I would say George is thriving,” Smith said about her beloved lettuce-and-strawberry-loving pet.

Gopher tortoises can typically live up to 80 years in the wild, but in captivity, their lifespan could stretch past 100 years, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The animals are currently protected by federal law under the Endangered Species Act in the Alabama counties west of the Mobile and Tombigbee rivers and in Mississippi and Louisiana. 

Last year, the Department of Natural Resources purchased more than 3,000 acres in Georgia’s Wheeler County to create the Alligator Creek Wildlife Management Area, a protected habitat for the gopher tortoise.

“The creation of the wildlife management area is part of a larger Nature Conservancy and DNR goal to protect 100,000 acres of tortoise habitat to keep the species off the endangered list,” the AJC previously reported.

To learn more about gopher tortoises, visit

Gabrielle Union, Dwyane Wade donate $200,000 to ‘March For Our Lives’

Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union may not be able to join students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High and other schools for their “March For Our Lives” walk next week in Washington, D.C., but the celebrity couple is making sure others will have that chance.

Wade and Union have donated $200,000 to help students from Wade’s hometown of Chicago join the gun control rally scheduled for March 24.

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Wade, who has been diligent in his support for the students and school where 14 students and three adults were killed by a gunman on Feb. 14, sent a message Saturday on Twitter asking his fellow NBA players to join in donating to help send students to Washington. “Every dollar counts! Who else is in?” he wrote.

Oklahoma City’s Carmelo Anthony posted that he and Wade are “on the same page… Standing with the students of MSD – both of us come from hometowns where the violence NEEDS to stop. March 24th in DC.”

Anthony later announced he is supporting his native Baltimore community, tweeting that the NBA Foundation will match up to $25,000 for all NBA player donations.

Wade continued his support when he helped turn an empty warehouse into a tribute to honor the victims of the shooting. Adam Alhanti, a junior at Stoneman Douglas, praised the gesture on Sunday.

Wade has visited Stoneman Douglas and spent time with the parents of Joaquin Oliver after the parents of the 17-year-old, who was killed during the attack, revealed their son was buried wearing a Wade Heat jersey.

“They are well-prepared and well-aware of what they need to do and what they want to do and the change they want to see,” Wade said about his March 10 trip to school. It was the first full day of classes since the shooting.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

“It’s great. It’s great to hear,” Wade said. “It’s great to see that, because I come from a community in Chicago where our youth are getting killed daily and don’t have the same voice, don’t have the same light on them that Parkland has. These kids understand what they have, and they’re taking other kids with them.

“I’m excited about getting behind and supporting them.”

Wade’s mother, Jolinda, and his sister, Tragil, met and spoke with Joaquin’s parents, Manuel and Patricia, at their Coral Springs, Florida, home. Patricia, Manuel and their daughter, Andrea, were guests of Wade’s at the Heat’s game against the Detroit Pistons on March 3 in Miami.

Wade presented the family with a Heat Vice jersey and custom-made sneakers after the game.

Devoted dog has waited 4 months at hospital entrance for fatally stabbed owner

A loyal dog has waited four months at a hospital entrance -- the last place he saw his owner, who was fatally stabbed. 

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The 59-year-old man was stabbed during an altercation with another homeless person in October, according to O Globo.

The man’s dog, which does not have a name, followed the ambulance to Santa Casa de Novo Horizonte hospital, where he has patiently waited since. The dog sits on a rug at the hospital entrance and has never walked inside. Sometimes he walks off in search of food. Hospital workers have also given him food and water. 

“He's extremely tame, docile and quiet," Osvaldo Palota Sobrinho, a hospital administrator, told O Globo

Lawyer Cristine Sardella saw the dog and shared his story on social media two weeks ago, bringing attention to the dog from a nearby kennel, according to O Globo

The kennel took in the dog and was going to place it with a family, when it escaped and appeared at the hospital entrance, nearly two miles away.

The dog, which has been checked out by a veterinarian, continues to stare inside the hospital, giving the impression that he is waiting for his owner.

"It's sad to know that he will never see his owner again and will not understand what happened," Sardella said. "The only thing left is to wait at the last place where he saw him."

A worker at the hospital plans to adopt the dog, when the dog is ready, according to The Dodo.

Brothers pay tribute to Parkland victims in 1,000-mile journey

Two brothers are making a 1,000-mile journey from Parkland to the nation’s capitol to raise awareness about gun safety and they made a stop on the way in Jacksonville Saturday afternoon.

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Isaiah and Jeremiah Godby are paying tribute to the victims of the Parkland shooting massacre one step at a time.

The Sacramento brothers flew to South Florida two weeks ago and headed to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to see the site of the shooting that left 17 people dead on Valentines Day. 

"We had to be out there for the victims and families," Jeremiah Godby said.

Walking and running an average of 50 miles a day, the Godbys are 340 miles into their 1,000-mile journey to Washington, D.C. 

Their plan is to join thousands of others at the "March For Our Lives Rally" on March 24. The event calls for stronger gun regulations.

This isn’t the first time the brothers have run to raise awareness. They work together at a naturopathic clinic in Sacramento and have run to champion other causes such as alternative medical care. 

Virginia restaurant breaks down barriers with deaf server

Restaurant owners in Virginia have adjusted their menus to make it easier for customers to order from a server who has been deaf since birth.

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Sierra Campbell is a server at Orexi Greek and Mediterranean restaurant in Midlothian. WTVR reported.

Campbell, 22, was hired by restaurant owners Rasool and Angie Al Hasani in January.

They revamped the restaurant’s menus to include common sign language images and also learned how to sign, WTVR reported.

“We’d go to the tables together and I would talk to the person that was here and I would tell them this is how you can order,” Angie Al Hasani said. “You just point to what you want and if there is something you don’t want you just point to that ingredient and shake your head no.”

Customers are finding it easy to communicate with Campbell.

“It was extremely easy,” Maxwell Kanczuzewski told WTVR. “All I had to do was point on the menu and use the different modifiers to get what I needed, and service was no different than any other restaurant I’ve been in.”

Campbell attended the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind and then went to Gallaudet University, WTVR reported. She wants to attend Virginia Commonwealth University and is working two jobs to raise money to pay for tuition. She wants to study to be a social worker to help the deaf, WTVR reported.

“I feel good working here at this restaurant,” Campbell said through sign language. “I have a lot of regular customers, they come in and want to see me and that makes me feel good.”

Teen firefighter battling leukemia asks for T-shirts

A New York teenager training to be a firefighter is waging a battle against leukemia, and he is asking for help.

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Timothy Richardson, 16, is a junior at Maryvale High School in Buffalo, New York. While he goes through chemotherapy for the next month, he wants to wear a T-shirt from a different fire company on every visit, WGRZ reported. 

Richardson participates in the Hy-View Fire Company’s Explorer program. He was diagnosed with T-cell leukemia in early March, WGRZ reported.

"It's a battle and I'm going to have to go through it," Richardson told WGRZ. "I've got a lot of support of the brotherhood from the fire department and my family is all pitching in to help. So it really helps. It really does."

Fellow firefighters are responding, WGRZ reported.

"I put the feelers out, town of Hamburg, town of Amherst, West Seneca, anybody that I knew and the outpouring has just been phenomenal," Hy-View safety officer and Explorer adviser Joe Lent told WGRZ. "I didn't expect anything less. Timmy's going to have a lot of shirts to wear."

More information on Richardson's battle with leukemia can be found on the Timmy's Battle Facebook page.

Elementary school students sing support to counselor battling cancer

A child development specialist at an Oregon elementary school, who is battling breast cancer, was serenaded by a choir of students in a heartwarming show of support, the East Oregonian reported.

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Lisa Roberts began chemotherapy three weeks ago. Sherwood Heights Elementary School Principal Theresa Owens encouraged students to perform a special song for Roberts, so students spent part of each music class practicing Martina McBride’s song, “I’m Gonna Love You Through It.”

“I firmly believe singing builds community,” Owens told the East Oregonian.

Thursday, the Pendleton school’s 500 students filed into the gymnasium and waited as Roberts was summoned.

“They told me a student was having a meltdown,” Roberts told the East Oregonian.

Expecting to find a child in distress, Roberts instead found a gym full of children and members of her family.

“We love you and want you to know we’ve got your back,” Owens told Roberts as she was led to a seat.

Fourth and fifth graders sang the first verse of the song, with the younger students joining in for the chorus, the East Oregonian reported.

The children waved daffodils, which they presented to Roberts.

Roberts said the students have been very supportive as she went through her treatments. Four siblings pooled their money to buy her flowers, and one boy brought her his favorite toy car, the East Oregonian reported.

“Every day has had silver linings,” Roberts said. “The kids have been so sweet.”

Girl afraid to wear ‘Star Wars’ shirt gets support from Mark Hamill

Kids can be cruel. The mother of a little girl in Phoenix took to social media to share about the bullying her daughter was going through that was bringing the 7-year-old to tears.

N.J. Simmonds said that her daughter was in tears, afraid to wear her “Star Wars” shirt to school because her classmates would laugh at her, calling “Star Wars” boys’ stuff, AZ Central reported. She reached out on Twitter to show her daughters that there are female “Star Wars” fans all over the world.

She thought she’d get a few responses, but there are more than 50,000 retweets and nearly 112,000 likes since the Tuesday post, Romper reported.

>> Read more trending news 

But the most shocking response was from one of the biggest names in the “Star Wars” universe, Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill.

>>’Star Wars' icon Mark Hamill awarded Hollywood Walk of Fame star

Hamill gave the girl, who was not identified by name, a little technique to help when she’s being bullied about the notion of “boy stuff.”

But Hamill wasn’t the only “Star Wars” actor who reached out in support of the 7-year-old.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Ashley Eckstein, who voices the female Jedi - Ahsoka Tano - also posted a photo of herself wearing a “Star Wars” shirt. Eckstein also has a line of clothing that includes traditionally male-centric fandom of “Star Wars,” Marvel and Doctor Who, called Her Universe.

She also received support from female role models who work in a male-dominated world of NASA.

“Star Wars” has introduced a bevy of strong, female characters from the original trilogy’s Princess Leia to “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi’s” Rey and “Rogue One’s” Jyn Erso. Disney, the parent company that owns Lucasfilms, also produces “Star Wars Forces of Destiny,” which features the stories of Rey, Leia and “Star Wars Rebels’” Hera and Sabine.

Related video: 

Penguins show selfie skills in Antarctica

What do you think happens when members of the animal world find a camera?

They act like nearly any person, apparently, and pose for a selfie. 

>> Read more trending news 

In a video shared by the Australian Antarctic Division, two emperor penguins found a camera lying on the ice and shot a quick video of themselves investigating the device. 

The Washington Post reported that the camera was left on the ground by expedition member Eddie Gault. 

The group of adventurers told ABC News, “It didn’t take long for the naturally curious birds to seize the opportunity for a selfie.” 

Technically, the penguins didn’t snap the selfie video themselves, since Gault left the camera on the ice near the Auster Rookery, recording, The Post reported.

It doesn’t matter though to many who have liked and commented on the video.

WATCH: The Rock is upstaged by daughter on International Women's Day

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is not used to being upstaged, but the professional wrestler-turned-actor met his match on International Women’s Day.

>> Read more trending news

Johnson released an Instagram video of himself teaching his daughter Jasmine some key phrases, including “girl power.” She nails the phrases, her dad notes, “perfect.”

“To every woman out there ‘round the world -- all ages and races -- I proudly stand by your side to always honor, protect and respect. Especially, the loves of my life at home,” Johnson wrote. 

WATCH: Teen recreates ‘Mulan’ training montage shot-for-shot for homework, project goes viral

A teen in Hawaii is going viral thanks to her take on a school project.

Glenna Matauto was tasked to recreate a scene from her family movie for her broadcast media class, Hawaii News Now reported.

>> Read more trending news 

So she and some friends took on the segment “Be a Man” from Disney’s “Mulan” and recreated the training montage from the 1998 animated feature.

Matauto said in her Twitter post that filming the clip took “three days, five broken sticks and a shoe and volleyball stuck in a tree” for them to put together their 38-second video.

The video in the six days after posting had more than 8.6 million views and 581,000 likes.

Hawaii News Now said that Matauto hasn’t received her grade yet for the project but some on social media think she deserves an Oscar.

She also has plans on making another video and is taking requests on her Twitter account.

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