Stories of Kindness from Around the World

The Power Of a Mere Smile

--by savraj, posted Jul 17, 2017
It is with mixed emotions I went to the young offender center every few months to give vaccinations. On the one hand I feel lucky to be able to provide a service that may have a positive health impact for the residents. But, on the other hand, I feel a sense of sadness and disappointment as I see the inmates being escorted by guards to the nursing unit.

My last visit was very memorable. For some reason, there was a levity in the air. More than ever before, I felt a lightness as I spoke with each person. We shared stories and smiles and fears. Even the toughest inmates seemed to be surrounded by light. I saw them as not only youth, being punished for crimes, but also as children who have the potential to change for the better. Most of them wanted to talk longer! They were reaching out to us! It felt right.

When we thought we were done, there was a surprise. There was one more inmate. He was confined to a different unit in a solitary cell. We were asked if we were okay going down there. We said that we were. Two guards escorted us down and when we entered the area, instant tears welled up in my eyes. The area was sad and barren. These guards didn't smile. We entered the cell and had to make do with what was there and went ahead with the vaccines after obtaining consent.

We were done but I didn't want to leave. I gave the 17 year old a gentle touch and smile as I explained what to do regarding the side effects. At first, there was no response, so I just looked down at his bare feet and then to my supplies. I thought that I had better pack up. Suddenly, he looked up at me and smiled before he said "Thanks" and then he gave me a thumbs up. I smiled back and said, "You're welcome. Take care of yourself."

It was wonderful to receive a kind response from someone who was in such a harsh place. As we walked back to the main entrance, we didn't speak. Prayers were in my heart for everyone there. Where there can be a smile, there is hope. I prayed that all the smiles I saw today would stay with these youth and that these smiles would bring about an inner healing that would change the course of their lives. Sometimes smiles can be very powerful.
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Readers Comments

kjoyw wrote: Oh, such a beautiful post! Just a couple of the kindest of gestures from you brought out so much gratitude from him. You certainly improved his life that day. Just imagine what might happen if he were treated with such kindness everyday? Tears hear, too, btw.
michelelpurce wrote: What a beautiful story and thanks for sharing. Smiles I think change so many things. And that young man. He felt it from you and was returning your gesture of kindness. How happy your heart must have been for that. :)
Mish wrote: Moved to tears by this, dear beautiful friend. May all those behind bars find The Light within.
splain wrote: You made that young person in that solitary cell much better. You treated him like a person who is noticed. Lovely kindness on your part and he did respond.
mindyjourney wrote: A beautiful share and post, my dear savraj, on the healing you share with your presence and smile :). Thank you.
leoladyc728 wrote: your light and love touches their souls

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