Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Wear Smiles

--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!

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Readers Comments

SpiritualWoman wrote: :);)SMILE fromme to all of you. This is great. Gosh there are just some wonderful ideas out here. Thanks so much for sharing, caring and teaching us all. God bless.
sanjay wrote: It is really great and to feel happy to make a unhappy and a sad person smile. The wheel chair guy hat off to him.
Keep smiling always is what i say to my friends
lOVEBUG wrote: If Mother Teresa said it, it must be true.I believe Peace does begin with a smile.
Clueless wrote: A smile is contagious! so smile smiLe SMILE!!
Amazing story :)
megs wrote: Great story!! Oh, smiles are the best of accessories!! That's why I go to the dentist often, because I feel that the world deserves a great smile!!(:
Thank you for this story!!(: Megs
katlampi wrote: Hahah my initial reaction would have been to google it also! I'm glad you were able to make that gentleman's day. It's really interesting to see the types of reactions you get from acts of kindness like this one. Thank you for sharing it with us, JZ!
dippie1 wrote: I love to smile and they really are great to give away too.
Thanks x
perseverance wrote: Smile is the best ornament for any one
mitu915 wrote: that wheelchair guy is awesome! lol! great story! :)
cassiemeadows wrote: this is such a great story! it was so touching for someone to send those to you, and such a blessing. have a good day, take care.

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