--by JZ, posted Jan 26, 2008
In the middle of lunch, we get a phone call. "Sir, I've got a special package for you." "Special package? Um, ok, I'll come down to get it."
"This is for you," the slim, twenty-something guy says with a mischevious smile. "Who is it from?" "It's from an anonymous friend." Actually, in all my excitement I couldn't tell if he said "friend" or "friends" but it didn't matter. With radiant joy for having kind friends, I took a peek inside the box. "Thank you." The kid rushes off as if his 007 mission is accomplished.
Inside the box -- guess what? T-shirts. Lots of them, I think about 25-30 of them. Each t-shirt had the same kind of "smile" written on it, the way each smile card has, and a happy face.
It was awesome. So awesome that my mind started racing about who could've pulled off the incredible tag.
With a big brown box in hand, I waited for the elevator to come down.
Just then, a man on a wheelchair blasts in from the other door. A heavy set, Filipino guy with a bandana on his head; he seemed a little aggressive as if he was in the middle of a bad day. As I looked down toward his wheelchair, while still cradling the large box of t-shirts, he asks, "Hey, how are you doing?" The elevator shows up. Both of us jump in, along with a third person, and continue the conversation.
"Good," I replied, still wondering about the t-shirt culprit. "Creating some trouble?" the man in the wheelchair asks. It was an awkward greeting, but I just played it off-- "Nah, just trying to bring some smiles in the world." There was a moment of awkward silence and then I pulled out a t-shirt from the box -- "See this? Someone just dropped it off anonymously. It says 'smile.' See?" He couldn't help but smile. :)
Ding. Second floor. As my wheelchair friend is about to leave, I spontaneously ask: "Hey, can I give you one?" For a second, he is a little flustered. A gift from someone he had known for exactly two floors? "Sure, but that's not my size," he says while recalling the sample medium sized t-shirt I just saw.
"Well, you know what, I think there might be other sizes in here too," I mumble while holding the elevator door with one hand and rummaging through the blue cotton tees with my other hand. "Yeah, ok, there's medium. Ummmmm, oh yeah, there's a large too. Oh, and I see extra-large I think."
"So do you work a lot with kids?" he asks. "Well, not professionally. But I myself feel like a kid most of the time, so I can relate," I say with a smile while still hunting down a large-size for my new friend.
"No, you know what? Can you give me the medium? I know just the right person who I can give this to." "Oh, really, you mean paying-it-forward? Rock on." I hand him a medium shirt.
By this time, the man on the wheelchair is smiling big. He wasn't wearing his shirt, but he was surely wearing the "smile".
And I suppose that is exactly the point. Wear smiles.
I rush into our apartment and tell my wife, "Wait till you see this." Just like that, our lunch conversation becomes a "who done it?" investigation with heartfelt joy. We start throwing out names, we decode (ok, Google :)) the label on the box, we look up our caller-id history to trace some usual suspects. After twenty minutes of looking for clues and coming up with our hot-list, we arrive at the second question with a child-like glee: "oh-mi-god, what are we going to do with these tees? We gotta think of something really cool."
Wear smiles. That's what I think of when I see that box of blue smile t-shirts, when I remember my wheelchair friend in the elevator and when I think of the kindness warriors that went through the trouble to make our day in such an incredible way.
Thank you, to whoever you are!
Keep smiling always is what i say to my friends
Amazing story :)
Thank you for this story!!(: Megs