Stories of Kindness from Around the World

An Old Way To Bring About New Smiles

--by enchantedchilde, posted Mar 8, 2010

I recently got a new version of an old camera that I used to adore... Polaroid instant film! This one is a Fuji, which takes credit card sized instant photos. I named my camera "J5", (after Johnny #5 the Robot, from the '80's films "Short Circuit", mainly because it looks like him :)  In J5's short career (this past month), he has blasted off about 80 photographs, and 60+ have been given away to complete strangers. Each photograph is unique, simple, imperfect and beautiful, as those captured within the photos had a story to tell. So far, one story stands out above them all.

Last Wednesday, I was in the play area of the Harrisburg Mall. I sat next to a woman who was there with her son. She was very classy, seemed to have it all together. I would have assumed that she had a sweet, upper-middle class life. As it turned out, her husband left her after 22 years, her entire family disowned her, even though it wasn't what she wanted. She had lived in New England and was forced to take a job in Pennsylvania, her ex-husband got custody of the kids, etc. Wow. Can you even imagine? She was soft-spoken and kind, very sad, and apparently the son was here visiting her. She just found a job in New Englad, so she is moving back, thankfully, to be closer to him.

Could you even imagine what it must be like to one day have no one there to help you? As I walked away, I turned, and saw her lovingly cuddle her boy. I get choked up just thinking about it. I went back and asked him if I could take his picture, and if it was ok with Mom. I took the photo and handed her the film and wished her all the best as she tearfully watched it develop.

You never quite know what someone's going through, and we're all going through stuff, aren't we? Someone is having a tougher time than you, and a smile goes a long way.

I got this camera for fun, and never intended for it to be for more than my own personal fun, for my own friends and family. It immediately became something magical, and has become a very cool tool to spread a little joy. I LOVE it! Thanks for reading! Off to order some more film :)

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Readers Comments

sethi wrote: Thank you for sharing and being who youwere.
JaiKarKaur wrote: I am so impressed with this idea. I plan to get a camera. I do volunteer work at a food bank and in my job work with seniors. I think there are many people in my day who would love a photo right now. This reminds me of how many pictures have been taken on our digital camera (here at work) but were never downloaded due to some computer glitch. The seniors often ask for a copy of those lost pictures. When our computer expert comes he will solve the problem and the pictures will be available. But when you are 97 you might not have time to wait. Thank you!
MakeSomeoneSmile wrote: Fine work Sarah, your story made me smile! Keep up the great work! You are creating great memories not only for you but also for those whose lives you touch! :)
irishgirl wrote: I absolutely love this Sarah! What a great gift to give, not only a picture, but a picture of something beautiful seen through the eyes of someone else. Moments like that don't often get noticed by those living in them. Cheers to you for being a bringer of beauty!
enchantedchilde wrote: Aw, thank you so much :) I'm new here and deeply appreciate your kind words :) maybe I can take your pictures someday! :) love and blessings to you guys :)
FairyBubbles wrote: Hi, that is wonderful - what a fantastic idea - I so love the thought of it.
JuneBug wrote: Your post is so awesome !!! You certainly found some treasure to share with others ! :)
Marit wrote: What a lovely idea!
Christine wrote: How lovely. It doesn't take much to transform someone's day. Thank you for the reminder and you and j5 keep on snapping!
momov3 wrote: Beautiful story- and a beautiful idea! I believe that mom will treasure that photo- you did more than take a picture- you gave a mom a gift of hope! And me, a smile and a warm feeling. Thanks!

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