Lessons from Smile Cards

Posted by Vidhu Agarwal on Jan 21, 2013

Gandhi once said, “It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”

Smile Cards look like a pack of business cards. Only difference being that each card reads “SMILE. You’ve just been tagged! Someone reached out to you with an anonymous act of kindness. Now it’s your chance to do the same. Do something nice for someone, leave this card behind, and keep the spirit going!”

I thought to myself, “What a beautiful way to infect people around me.” Luckily, my husband, Amber, had his SOIL alumni cricket tournament lined up the next morning. So, I quickly made my version of Smile Cards and headed out looking for a printing shop to get the cards printed on an urgent basis.

Amber’s boss was kind enough to share the number of a printing shop owner, Rahul (name changed). We tried reaching him by calling and messaging to get directions to his shop but received no reply. Finally, asking people around, we found our way to the shop. However, we were surprised to find Rahul turning his back on us and refusing to attend to us. Slightly insulted, we went to another shop two blocks away and got our cards printed.

While leaving, I suddenly realised that I was so ambitiously carrying out Project Smile Cards for the next morning that I had completely forgotten its core essence of being kind. So we hurried back and gave Rahul a smile card with a chocolate. He was dumbstruck. We simply smiled and left without a word.

A while later, we received a message from him saying, "Thank you for the chocolate." :) He also shared with us how he was having a really bad day. We wrote back saying, "No problem. We understand. Take care." :)

An important lesson I learnt from my experience was the huge difference between doing good in an organised project-like mechanical manner and in doing good the natural heartfelt kind of way.

The next morning, I was able to sabotage the cricket match, share the previous evening’s experience and distribute Smile Cards and candies to lots of smiling faces. 

Posted by Vidhu Agarwal on Jan 21, 2013 | permalink

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  • Cathy Cotton wrote ...

    Love this idea we started to do this on Literacy day!