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ABM Customer Spotlight: Operation Smiley Face

operation smiley face pinsWe are very, very proud and excited about featuring Operation Smiley Face as our latest ABM Customer Spotlight. When you hear the story behind this wonderful operation, and the incredible woman who is its driving force, you will understand why.

Operation Smiley Face was started by a women (whose name is not listed on her website other than as “Operation Smiley Face”) who is currently dealing with stage 4 Metastic Breast Cancer that had already spread to her lymph nodes and lungs when she was first diagnosed in August of 2009. This came on the heels of more than a decade of coping with her 1998 diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.

You might read that paragraph and think that she has little to smile and be positive about. And to you or I that might be the case, but this inspiring woman has chosen to focus on the positives despite the cavalcade of negatives facing her every day.

Incredibly, she has somehow found a way to not only keep herself smiling, but to make other people – including and especially strangers she has never met – smiling too.

Here is her mission, simply put in the About Me section of the Operatios Smiley Facs website:

It is my heart’s desire to do what I can to make the world a little kinder while I’m here. Spreading smiles is my way of doing that.

And how does she go about spreading these smiles? That is where this story gets interesting. The first post on Operation Smiley Face describes the author’s first successful smile mission:

While standing in line I noticed that the young lady behind me had one item. So I asked the nice cashier lady to please add the item onto my bill. The young woman gave me a sweet smile. Nothing over the top, just sweet and appreciative. I gave her a Smile Card from helpothers.org  and asked her to pass the kindness (and the card) on to someone else in the near future.

operation smiley face fabric buttonsTwo posts later, we are regaled by the genesis of the current Operation Smiley Face mission, which involves the creation of smiley fabric buttons, pins, and tokens that are given away by request as well as left for complete strangers.

I LOVE to cross stitch, and since starting this “mission to make people smile” I’ve been wondering about how I could incorporate it into the project. Finally, I got an idea! It was to design a Smiley Face pattern that I could cross stitch on fabric, and then press into 2 1/4″ pinback button using my button machines! There’s just something about a Smiley Face that makes you feel like smiling when you see it, and that’s what Operation Smiley Face is all about!

As a means of distributing her smiles, “lollipop drops” were executed with son (aka her “partner in kindness). This involved tying a smile card to a lollipop and “dropping” them throughout her neighborhood. These drops were so successful in the neighborhood and at places like the post office and Wal-Mart that people started donating supplies to our secret smile giver. She received smile stickers and lollipops, among other items, which helped her to further spread smiles through her community.

smiley-germany-osfShe also began leaving smiles for people to pick up at the gas station pump, on windshields, and any other people she could think of. In addition, she started sending the smiley face fabric buttons described above to people who requested them. In total, 595 buttons were given away in 2009. As of the day this was published, 100 had already been given away in 2010!

We encourage you to visit the Operation Smiley Face blog and read the entries. Each one houses a little nugget of inspiration and good cheer that will achieve its mission of making you smile. We are extremely proud to call Operation Smiley Face our customer and are overjoyed to know that our button machines are involved in such a terrific cause for such a terrific woman.

In addition to all of the buttons that she passes on for free, she sells a special group of them on her Etsy page. The proceeds help fund her giveaways. If you want to help out but don’t want to buy a button, you can also donate directly through PayPal. There is a button in the left sidebar on the Operation Smiley website.

And now that you’re done reading, why not go give someone a smile? There’s a good chance that it will not only brighten their day, but brighten yours too.

Brighid Brown – Director of Blogging and All Things Cool at ABM

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