Going For Smiles Story #7
I started Going For Smiles (and Happiness367 before it, in 2016, which you can read about here) so that handwritten smile cards could give everyone a chance to be kind to one another. This story contributes to the goal of gathering 5,000 shared-smile stories so we can prove that little gestures can have a butterfly-effect impact.
At exactly 11:11pm I received a text from Jenn (real names have been changed),
“Hey! Apologies for texting you so late but I had to share my story. I just met a woman who was having a really crappy day and she felt like she was about to cry… but then I had a lightbulb moment! I gave her my smile card!!! She loved it and it made me so excited, too!”
Jenn and I met the night before at an event where Seb, the founder of Kindsum, a peer-to-peer platform for acts of kindness, presented the story of how the platform came to be. (Check out www.kindsum.com, or on Instagram search for either @Seb100things or @Kindsum). A few times, Seb engaged the audience in conversation, and on one of those occasions I raised my hand to tell a story about GoingForSmiles. I noticed the woman in the front row turn around with a very genuine smile as I was saying something like, “I started a smiles project so that everyone can have a way to do something kind by simply passing along handwritten smile cards…” When the event ended, and networking started, we introduced ourselves and sparked up conversation. Jenn was both fun to talk with AND a wealth of knowledge; she told me about Time Magazine’s Guide to Happiness series and other events in Manhattan that focus on fostering happiness and mindfulness.
There were more than 100 people at that event, and my boyfriend and I did chat with about a half-dozen people in total, but I’m the type who enjoys meeting one person and having one amazing conversation rather than multiple average conversation. Jenn represented that one amazing conversation. This feeling was solidified when I received the text from her the next night.
“That’s SO AWESOME!!! Go YOU for being supportive, sharing your smile and making a difference in that woman’s day!! You rock! … and no worries about the time, I’m one of those night owls.”
“I’m a night owl too!! And 100%, I loved it — I need more cards!!!”
Jenn and I saw each other again at another event earlier this week and she picked out not just one, but two more cards! She also recounted the story with some more detail and it was exhilarating to hear the energy in her voice as she spoke.
“I went out to dinner on Thursday and the restaurant had these candles that smelled AMAZING. Turned out that the woman who made them was also selling them there, so I went to her so that I could buy one… or more… before I left. Somehow, we started chatting with her about all sorts of things… and at one point she commented on how happy she was that I was getting a candle now because she had a really tough day. It took a second, but then it was like a candle flickered above my head and I realized I still had the smile card in my bag! My husband had thoughtfully taken my heavy bag with him though when he went to get the car, so I hurried out to him and quickly found the card. He was a bit confused why I was smiling so wide, but I told him I’ll be right back. The woman’s eyes lit up and she had a broad smile when I handed her the card. She even commented that it was the perfect timing because, before we started chatting, she felt like she was going to cry. I hadn’t noticed any of those emotions showing through her face, so it felt especially wonderful that I was able to unexpectedly hop into her life.”
As Jenn experienced and communicated to me, the experience of sharing smiles generates an awesome energy rush for both the recipient and the sharer. It’s a multiplicative experience and is one of the few things in nature that can grow without the original source losing anything.
Just like the flame of a candle that can light the flame of another candle without blowing itself out, so too does one smile generate another smile.
I hope you enjoyed Jenn’s story! You can expect many more, so please follow along to see what story we’ll share next!
Thank you to all the untold stories of kindness in the world. I hope our paths with cross one day! If you would like to share your story, please email firstname.lastname@example.org . I hope you always find a reason to smile!