I Believe a Smile is Contagious

Molly - Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota
Entered on April 8, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I Believe A Smile Is Contagious

My family is involved in a program called Loaves and Fishes at my church. We serve meals to the homeless and others in need at a community center. My job is usually to walk around with a cart and serve drinks to people seated at the tables. One night I approached a man that frightened me. He was a very tall man with long hair and a long beard. I could tell the years had not been kind to him. When I gave him a glass of milk, he smiled at me, revealing one missing tooth, and suddenly, he didn’t seem so frightening. This made me smile and when I looked up, the whole table was smiling. A simple smile allowed me to see that smiling is as contagious as the flu. I believe a smile is contagious.

I have the choice to be a positive or a negative person. I have had plenty of times in my life where things got bad, and it felt like I was being pulled under more and more, gasping for air. In these situations I try to put a smile on my face and use them as a learning experience. I believe that using situations as learning experiences is a way to pull me out of that deep water and make myself happy.

I have a 10 year-old crazy brother. We went on vacation last month and I came back only to find my cell phone was missing. I turned the house upside down looking for it for three weeks. I was really disappointed when I couldn’t find it and decided I would have to buy a new one with the money I was going to receive from my upcoming birthday. When my mom picked me up from hockey one night, she told me she found my phone. I was overjoyed with happiness! She told me that my brother had found it 3 weeks ago and hid it “as a joke”. Of course I was ready to yell at him, but when I got home and confronted him, he let out a huge smile. I looked at him and started laughing instead, and that shows how far a smile can go to change a situation.

Babies can always make you smile. Last week in church we were sitting behind a family with a baby girl. She was draped off of her dad’s shoulder and when I looked up she smiled at me. I smiled back and laughed silently, because the pastor was giving his sermon. The same thing happens when I visit my baby cousins.

Next time I’m in public, I’ll try a little experiment, smile at everyone I meet and see how many people smile back. I predict that the results will prove that smiling is just as contagious as the common cold. I believe a smile is contagious.