Banana Smiles

Paige - Bedford, New York
Entered on April 30, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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Everyone in this world is different, whether by personality, looks, smarts or strength. Although we are sometimes separated by our differences, we all have something in common. This little similarity can make someone’s day, or make a new friend. I believe in smiling. Smiling isn’t only a tool you can use in front of the camera, but it can give happiness to souls around you. A smile is a care package for a broken heart. It is like putting a teaspoon of sugar into a bitter cup of tea; it is such a little thing, but it can change so much. One little flash of those pearly whites can do a lot more than you think! Together we can help fix the many wrongs of the world, smile by smile.

The first time I truly started to believe in smiling was when I went on the Midnight Run. I was pulled apart from the group to go and find people on the streets that were in need of our help. It was then that I discovered that all of those cardboard boxes lined up on the city streets held people. Once I found that these poor people were living in boxes, I was determined to get as many people as I could to come to the place where we set up. I felt like I was Hercules rescuing a tiny cat from a tree: I could help these people so easily, that I should make it my priority to do everything in my power to give help to them.

I told the people that the Midnight Run was visiting and that we could help anyone who needed clothing, food, or blankets. A set of eyes glared back at me from the longest brown box. I then remembered that sometimes accepting charity could feel scary to a person living on the streets. My hands were empty, so I had nothing to offer at the moment to encourage that set of eyes to venture into the world and accept help. I instantly thought of what I usually need for encouragement, a smile. I spread my face into a large grin and was soon greeted by a man who took the place of the small set of eyes. That man smiled back at me and followed me to where we were set up. When we arrived he was welcomed by a new sea of smiles. His shyness disappeared and he soon became the loudest voice on the street. This was an experience that I will never forget, because just from a smile you can change a tiny little bit of a person’s life. It can create a gateway of fresh confidence leading to new experiences. That day, I made someone who normally felt invisible, hiding inside a brown box, discover that he really did have an identity. Although his life was difficult, he realized that there were people out there who wanted to help him. All of this happened, because of a smile.

I know it is scientifically proven that a smile can make a friend. Whenever a new person comes to our school, I try to smile at them, and if they smile too then I will walk over to them. In second grade, I walked into my brand new classroom on the first day of school. I was a little nervous because I was already really late because our bus was late to school. I had missed the name game, and didn’t know any of the faces that surrounded me. My teacher shuffled me to my seat, and I hid my head and started coloring in my name card. When I looked up a girl was smiling at me. I faced the girl and smiled back. That one little smile turned into an invitation for lunch, and every day after that I sat and ate lunch with her. That blonde-haired second grader soon became one of my best friends. Think about it, without that smile that day, I wouldn’t have sat next to that girl every day at lunch, and my whole life would be different.

I have once heard that smiling is the universal signal for hello. I believe that smiling means hello, but has many other meanings too. It is a way of comforting, or even a way to show sadness. It can show someone your love, or tell a person that you are going to explode into laughter. But most of all, it is a way to spread happiness all around you, and that is why I believe in smiling. It is a tool that we use in every day life, even if we don’t notice it. Smiling comes in all different forms; there are big smiles, small smiles, edible orange smiles and banana smiles. There are all of these different types of smiles for every different person, but no matter how different they are, a smile is a smile. This I believe.