“You know Smile cards are magic.” While shopping at my local grocery store last week, a retired gentleman approached me, telling me I look “pale” and chuckled. It took me a split second to realize he was cracking a joke about a new mop bucket I had in my cart, a white “pail.” Ha!
We had a good laugh as he proceeded to tell me he likes to hand out little “smile” cards to strangers, hoping to bring a smile and good cheer to their everyday. He shows me yellow cards with big smiley faces on one side, and a quote on the other.
“You won’t believe the number of people who break down in tears when I tell them I want to give them a smile card,” he said, “particularly teachers and nurses. They of all people seem to really appreciate it. Oh and people caring for members of their family who are sick, they carry such a burden - this really lifts their spirits.”
He tells me he does this as an ode to his parents, “they were the best people I ever knew.” His Dad, a shy and humble man, served in WWII in Guadalcanal. His Dad was devoted to his wife and his kids. He misses them. His whole family grew up in the Irish neighborhood of Syracuse, NY, called Tipperary Hill, famous for its green-over-red traffic light, a neighborhood I know well. He tells me his full name. Jim says a small street is even named for his family. Goodness, I know the street!
Jim then hands me a dozen of these “smile” cards and tells me he only gives them to people who will pass these on to more people. I said I would. Gladly.
I then wondered aloud if I could reach more people to share his message of spreading good cheer through my company’s online platform. “May I take your picture with these cards and share with everyone online,” I ask. “Sure,” Jim says, “And to be honest, I’ve been doing this for so long, I would like for someone else to take this over. Please let everyone know!”
Jim poses with the small batch of cards and then hands them back to me. “It was nice meeting you,” he says, “take care!” And with a wave, off he went.
When I got back home I read the quote printed on the cards, credited to an Ashleigh Brilliant:
“Somewhere a smile is looking for a face. I hope it finds yours.”
Thank you, Jim. I’m smiling as I write this 🙂
I hope this brings a smile to each and every one of you. And if you are so inclined, Jim would really appreciate it if you could pass out some smiles, too.
A Jolly-Jelly-Maker at Hunter & Hilsberg