Stranger Smile Success Stories

As people from around the world share their Stranger Smile Success Stories, I will repost them here (with permission, of course). I hope that in seeing how acts of kindness brightened the days of others we can all be inspired to bring light, kindness, and smiles into each other's lives. Some names may have been changed to protect identities.

Stranger Smile Success Story #1

I have "Young Onset Parkinson's" so I find many people that are kind.

The friend I meet on a train ride - (a story in my life)

About a week ago I was going to my Grandma's & Aunt's house for a dinner up in South Jordan so I needed a ride. Of course I had people offering but for some reason I really wanted to ride the "Front Runner" or commuter train to the dinner.

It is a busy time of year to ride the train since their were two big things going on up in Salt Lake, we have the Christmas Lights up at Temple Square and it was the Saturday of the "Festival of Trees" here in Utah that all of the money goes to the Primary Children's Hospital and you go and look at hundreds of Christmas Trees and Christmas Displays so needless to say the train was very full with no extra room.

I noticed a young lady that got on that had a cardboard sign and was obviously dressed to be outside, she also had all of her belongings with her in a box and a backpack, she was looking for a seat and I offered the one next to me but she said she was ok and sat across from me and doors with a chair between her and a gentleman but as she sat down you almost see him literally move closer to the wall even with an empty chair in between them and her face fell. So once again I called over to her to move close to me, I told her I would love to talk to her so she decided to move over next to me.

I learned that this new friend of mine "B" lived on the streets during the week and then on the weekend's if she had enough money she could pay her mom to come and stay. I also learned that she had a 5 yr old daughter that lived in Payson with her ex-husband and on the weekend she would go with B to the Grandma's house to stay and visit. I could tell there were some mental things going on and some drugs that she mentioned but I wanted her to know that she had good friend in me. I listened to her talk about her daughter and saw her eyes shine with pride about this daughter. I wanted her to know how amazing that must be so I really talked it up.

I than asked her what she would be giving her daughter for Christmas and she told me that she didn't have any money for gifts so she would probably just draw her a picture. I suggested to her that she also write her a letter and frame them so that she could have it on her dresser since she can now read being 5 years old. Than I reached in my pocket and took out the $5 bill that I had and handed it to her but told her that this five dollars was meant to buy four or five things at the dollar store for her little girl. She at first didn't want to take it but I told her even if she wanted she could tell her daughter the gifts were from a Christmas Angel but that I wanted to do this since I do not have a daughter and how amazing it would be do this with her. SO she did take it and was even talking about what she could get her.

During this visit my phone kept dinging from text messages from several aunts, my sister, and a dear friend wanting to make sure I was ok and that I told them when I got off the train that I made it. B asked me what that dinging was so I explained that due to my Parkinson’s I miss things and they wanted to make sure I arrived ok. Her response to this day still makes me smile "How amazing it must feel to be loved by so many people" I had been feeling down lately and this statement made me think of how blessed I was. Not only did I have a home and a room and so many other comfort things but I have so many people who love me. That is what Christmas is all about, it is about all of the people who you love and love you and what an amazing life we have.

I had asked a gentleman to help me get off on the right stop since I couldn't see the sign and couldn't hear the speaker due to how many people were on the train so he said he was getting off there also and would help me. So we arrived at our station and he said here we are so I stood up to leave and asked B if I could give her a hug but I could tell by her look that it was to much so I just put my one arm around her and said "B Merry Christmas, I hope you enjoy buying those gifts and wrapping them! Enjoy your time with your little girl, she loves you and Merry Christmas I am so lucky and glad you sat next to me."

When I got off the train the gentleman walked me off the platform and told me that he had never seen anything like that. I asked him what he was talking about and he said everyone in the train car was watching and listening to me talk to B and then telling their friends to watch and listen.  He said that it was amazing and that he would never forget it. 

I hope I never forget it that is why I am writing it down.

You can submit your Stranger Smile Success Stories by emailing Emily 

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