STORIES ABOUT THE PEOPLE I MET AND THE QUOTES THAT CONNECTED US
GoingForSmiles Story #2
I’m a New Yorker, born and raised, AND I work in finance. Yes, I do like my personal space, but I’m also self-reflective and empathetic. 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. To help me prove that little gestures can have a butterfly-effect impact, I hope to gather 5,000 shared-smile stories. Some of the stories will come from my own personal experiences of talking with strangers (my mother is thrilled) and directly handing people a smiles card. Other stories will come from people along the chain-of-smiles who either found or received one of these cards, and then hopefully passed it along to keep the chain going. Either way, these stories represent the people who share this world with us. These stories just might represent you.
STORY #2: You Are Loved
Christmas Day in Canada! You might be picturing a winter-wonderland, but the snow actually didn’t arrive until two days later. After we all unwrapped our gifts (some of my most cherished gifts included this book from 1982, two t-shirts with GoingForSmiles logo on it, and an apron with sunflowers… sensing a theme?), my boyfriend’s brother suggested that we take a walk around town and enjoy the unseasonably mild Christmas Day.
It was surprising to find the boardwalk buzzing with groups of people, but they probably had the same idea we did. As we parked the car, my boyfriend noticed a group of two girls and their moms, who were all wearing Santa hats. We observed as the blonde girl sandwiched a thin strip of paper between a car’s windshield glass and the wiper. “2-for-1 pizza coupon??” asked my boyfriend, jokingly. Curious about what it actually was, he walked over to the car and called back to me,
“That paper says, ‘YOU ARE LOVED.’ Can you catch up to them?!”
The quartet had already crossed the street by then and were about 100 feet away! I ran after them like a creepy stalker but announced by approach by calling out, “ladies in Santa hats!!” One by one they turned around. Fortunately, we were in Canada, so suspicion wasn’t their default reaction.
“I noticed the paper you left on the car!!
Still no suspicion crossed their face…. Not even when I started reaching into my purse…
“This is one of my own smile cards… So, I love seeing other people’s inspiring acts of kindness!”
They skipped suspicion altogether (definitely not in NYC anymore) and started smiling. Maybe it helped that I was handing them a card that read,
“There is so much power in a genuine smile.”
“Thank you,” responded one of the moms. “It was Gwen’s (real names have been changed) idea!”
As the story goes, Gwen’s family had their Christmas on the 24th because part of her family was going to be flying out on the 25th. She wanted to do something nice for people and came up with the idea to bring food to the less fortunate, along with an uplifting note. Since affirmation from friends and family can make acts of kindness even more rewarding, Gwen not only enlisted help from her mom, but also from her aunt, her friend Patti, and Patti’s mom. They all worked together to make turkey sandwiches and gingerbread cookies, all wrapped together with a side of chocolates. Gwen’s aunt hand-wrote “You Are Loved” on dozens of strips of upcycled dictionary pages. They played Santa and handed out the homemade food and warm message of love to homeless people in town and at the shelter.
As Patti’s mom wrote in her Facebook post, “The gratitude expressed by those receiving the treats was truly heart-warming and reminds us to be grateful for everything we have. It certainly helps put things in perspective, especially on a day of excess like today.”
It was nice to see that she included a note about our chance-encounter as well!
“We even exchanged messages with a couple from New York handing out their own Xmas cheer. Take time to reflect on how fortunate we are… and to share the love of our family and friends ♥️🎄♥️🎄. Merry Christmas everyone”
We all agreed that doing something for others is valuable all year round, but this is an act of kindness that they plan on turning into an annual tradition!
I hope you enjoyed Gwen, Patti and their moms 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 email@example.com . I hope you always find a reason to smile!