Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (left) and the Dallas Amputee Network's Tommy Donahue.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (left) and the Dallas Amputee Network's Tommy Donahue.

Courtesy of Tommy Donahue, via Facebook.

This week, many Facebook users logged into their accounts and were greeted with a custom video and a message telling them to wish their friends a "Happy Friends Day." Problem is, most people had no idea what Friends Day was.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg first posted about #FriendsDay on Feb. 4, 2015. Feb. 4 is Facebook's birthday, but Zuckerberg said, "Today isn't about celebrating us. It's about friendship."

A lot of people seemed to miss the memo, because the social media company didn't really do much outside of that feelgood note. 

This year, though, has been different.

Facebook invited 19 people to its headquarters in Silicon Valley to talk about communities on the social network. Groups are far from a new concept to the service, but Zuckerberg and his team are looking to make them better. 

"I think this is a time in our world where there's more division than there has been in awhile," he told the guests. "And I think that means that connecting with friends and bringing groups together is probably more important now than it ever has been, or has been in a very long time."

Where did Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg eat on his trip to Dallas?

In that small group were Tommy Donahue and Craig Till from the Dallas Amputee Network. They managed to snag an invite because the Facebook staff decided to stop for lunch in Waxahachie.

Zuckerberg was in the Dallas area to testify in a court case involving the Facebook-owned virtual reality company Oculus. While here, he kicked off his yearlong goal of traveling the country and working with various charity groups, and he was interested in driving out to West to learn more about the tragic explosion that rocked the city in 2013.

On the way, he and his staff stopped at The Doves Nest, where Till works. Till didn't wait on Zuckerberg's table, but he waited on some of the Facebook marketing and communications staff nearby. 

"I don't really get starstruck easy," Till says. "I just try to treat people like they would want to be treated, so I just did my normal thing."

Before the staff left, though, they struck up a conversation with Till about the city and what he did aside from his job. Till mentioned that he plays soccer on the U.S. National Amputee Soccer Team and travels for that -- something made possible through the Dallas Amputee Network and Legapalooza, a charity event Donahue started that raises money for the network.

One of the Facebook staffers was inspired by Till's story, left a business card and extended an offer to visit the company one day if Till was ever in town. So Till followed up with a voicemail.

A few days later he found himself on a conference call with people from Facebook as well as Donahue. That following Monday, the two of them were on a plane bound for California.

While there, Donahue got to share the story of Legapalooza with Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. 

"I can't even tell you how exciting that was," he says over the phone. "Part of it was Mark asking us how he could do things better to help our groups." 

The Facebook CEO asked questions about how his company could make groups safer and more accessible, among other things.

Tommy Donahue and Craig Till

Tommy Donahue and Craig Till

Jennifer Leahy/Facebook

"Everybody there loves their job," Till said of the vibe at Facebook's headquarters. "Everybody was in a pleasant mood. There were no down people."

While Facebook invited Till and Donahue to their headquarters to learn from them, the two men also learned from the people at Facebook. 

"I learned that it doesn't matter how much you make, it matters what you make," Till says. "It seems like [at Facebook] that's what it's all about. Yeah, they make a platform and a product and are writing code, but I like that they get the personal side."

Meeting with the other chosen attendees at Friends Day was also inspiring. 

"Meeting other people that do such wonderful things motivates you to keep doing things to help others and help the world," Donahue says. "There's so much negativity on Facebook. Just trying to spread a little positivity is so important right now to me."

Donahue says he's had a lot of contact with Sandberg's staff since the Friends Day event, which makes him optimistic that the company isn't done contributing to this community.

And of course, there was something to learn from the way the trip happened in the first place. 

"Always keep positive and put yourself out there," Till says. "You never know who you're going to meet. Never underestimate the impact you can have on somebody's life, because you never know who you're talking to ... As cynical as this world is, there are still some good people out there."

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