(CBS News) WASHINGTON -- Two weeks ago, Richard Deitsch, a writer for Sports Illustrated, was on the social media website Twitter and found a photo of brothers celebrating Yale University's championship in hockey.
Deitsch thought for a second and sent a tweet asking his 87,000 followers: How many of you have a photograph of the single best moment of your life?
Within minutes came a rush of best moments: Parents first moment with a newborn; the moment he asks and she says yes; the moment of homecoming from the danger of war.
Dozens, then hundreds of photos streamed in, in what Deitsch describes as a fountain of humanity.
"Never in my wildest dreams could I have expected hundreds of people sending me these incredibly intimate moments," said Deitsch.
"I was surprised. One, because it certainly felt like a gift, but two it felt like I was in possession of something sacred," said Deitsch.
Deitsch's favorite photographs capture what he calls success against the odds.
Athletes finally crossing the finish line; patients who have just beaten cancer; babies battling for life in intensive care.
John Skinta of Brooklyn sent a photo of his daughter Leila, who had been born with an elevated heart rate. The picture was the moment he learned she'd be fine.
"A moment I will never ever forget. It was the best feeling I've ever felt," said Skinta.
Leila is now 3 months old and thriving. And so to Skinta, that simple Twitter request for his best moment required an answer.
"I want others to know there is joy out there. That you could feel as happy as I feel at that moment," said Skinta.
Deitsch believes the outpouring of photos shows the kinder side of social media.
"There's humanity out there and there is friendship out there and there's a sense of people wanting to pass on something good," said Deitsch.
Most of the photos freeze in time the instant that life is good: Welcome to the family; Splash down in the pool; Look who was born when you were gone.
Taken as a whole, they are more than best moments. In these eyes and in these faces is the portrait of joy itself.