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world smile day 2021

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World Smile Day has been celebrated since the year 1999, however, its inspiration comes from the year 1963, when graphic designer Harvey Ball created the smiley face. Because the iconic smiley face has been so widely commercialized over the years, World Smile Day was created to celebrate the original nature of the image. It’s a day when people are to do small acts of kindness to make others smile. Hopefully, we all look for ways to do this every day, but it never hurts to have a holiday for a little extra motivation.


In a world where everybody is so busy and when we spend every moment possible scrolling on our phones rather than looking at the humans around us, it’s important to remember to connect IRL.  This is especially true following a pandemic, when quarantines and travel bans made it particularly difficult to be there the way we wanted to for loved ones. But acts of kindness can be done for strangers, neighbors, acquaintances, and more. In fact, doesn’t it make your day when someone you don’t know at all does something kind for you? It probably instills your faith in humanity a bit more. Be that for somebody else. Here are small acts of kindness to commit on World Smile Day.

world smile day 2021

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Leave a good review/take the survey

You’re asked to leave a review or take a survey for a lot. After you call your bank, your insurance company, your credit card company, your Internet company…you name it. When you dine at a restaurant or stay at a hotel, sometimes you’re asked to leave a review. This might seem like a nuisance to you, but businesses and careers are built on good reviews. If you were happy with the service provided by a business or person, fill out that survey. Leave that review. Give them high remarks. It means everything to them and probably only takes you a few minutes.

world smile day 2021

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If you have something nice to say, say it

How often do you think something nice about somebody but keep it to yourself? On World Smile Day, say it out loud. If you like your barista’s haircut, say something. If you think the cashier at the grocery store has a nice smile, say something. If you like someone’s outfit, say something. If you just think an employee at the pharmacy has a great attitude, say something. If your employee has been doing a great job, let them know, out of the blue. Love a neighbor’s new garden? Say something. Think of how happy it makes you when somebody pays you a compliment, now go spread that joy.

world smile day 2021

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Help with those bags/that door/crosswalk

If you see someone who could use a literal hand, offer yours. Maybe you see someone in a wheelchair struggling to get through the crosswalk quickly. Offer to push them. Maybe you see an elderly individual crossing the street with trepidation. Offer to take their arm. Do you see somebody struggling to carry groceries to their car? Help out. How about a mom trying to hold a door to a building open while holding a kid’s hand and pushing another in a stroller. Get that door for her. Do you see someone struggling to get onto the bus? Offer assistance. If you are able-bodied and somebody could use help, offer it.

world smile day 2021

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Show patience when you could show irritation

It’s common to be irritated. Maybe you’re in line at the grocery store behind a single parent with screaming kids. You could roll your eyes and cross your arms, or you could give the parent a smile. When she says, “I’m so sorry” you could say, “That’s okay.” You could even try to tell the kid a joke so they stop screaming and help the parent out. When elderly pedestrians are moving very slowly in front of you, rather than shove past them, annoyed, you can just slow down, take a beat, and realize that one day you’ll be that age and you’ll hope people show you patience.

world smile day 2021

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Drop off flowers/gift cards where they’re needed

You probably know of some individuals who are going through it right now and could use something to brighten their day. It could be someone who just lost a loved one. Maybe it’s parents to a newborn who are overwhelmed. It could be somebody going through a divorce. Maybe it’s somebody who lost their job. Drop off something within your means to brighten their day. It could be flowers. It could be an Uber Eats gift card for the new parents or an encouraging note to your unemployed friend. Maybe it’s flowers to someone who just lost a loved one.

world smile day 2021

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Be a courteous driver

Road rage happens to the best of us. You can be totally Zen post meditation one moment and slamming on your horn in traffic the next. But think about the energy you want to put out onto the road. When you honk, tailgate, or do a rude gesture, you just pass road rage along to that driver, who passes it along to somebody else. Let the buck stop with you. If you see somebody struggling to merge into your lane, let them go. If you see a hesitant driver afraid to make a left turn, don’t honk. Just wait. They deserve to feel safe. If somebody is driving slowly, don’t tail gate. Go around – peacefully.

world smile day 2021

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Bring treats to nurses

Nurses and doctors work incredibly hard and they also take on the emotional turmoil that not everybody is willing to take on. Emergency room and urgent care nurses see some traumatic things every day. They put themselves through that so that they can save lives. But they pay an emotional price, and they’re exhausted. So bring them some cookies or donuts. Have pizza delivered to a nurse’s station. Bring them some flowers. If anybody needs a little brightening of their day, it’s hospital staff who see things most of us would never intentionally witness. And they do it, so you don’t have to.

world smile day 2021

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Clean up a mess

This is an act of kindness to your neighborhood, to the community, and to Mother Earth. Has there been a pile of trash from a knocked over bin at the end of your street all week? Put on some sanitary gloves, grab a trash bag, and go clean it up. Pick up plastic bottles on the side of the road and recycle them. Schedule a bulky item pickup with your city’s sanitation department for something that’s been abandoned on the sidewalk, blocking pedestrians and killing the grass it sits on. Instead of shake your head at a mess and say, “Somebody should do something about that,” be that somebody. You might inspire onlookers to do the same.

world smile day 2021

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Support street vendors

You see those individuals working so hard, standing in the hot sun on the street divider selling flower bouquets. They need your money more than your major grocery chain where you usually buy flowers. How about those vendors with fruit carts on the side of the road? Get your oranges from them instead of a major store. What about those entrepreneurial kids who have a lemonade stand on the side of the road? Pull over. Buy several lemonades. Make their day. What about the person offering to clean your windshield in the road for donations? Take them up on it. These are individuals who are standing out there in the uncomfortable weather, not asking for a handout, but willing to work. Be their customer.

world smile day 2021

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Prepare items for the unhoused

Pack some thoughtful items for the unhoused members of your community so you’re prepared to hand these out throughout the day. You might get some cans of dog food for homeless individuals with pets. You can get a big case of water bottles and hand these out. Some packaged, nutritious snacks like trail mix and apples go a long way. Get some mini bottles of sunscreen and hand sanitizer – items the unhoused rarely get access to. Clean socks and underwear are always greatly appreciated. Maybe pick up some visors from the dollar store so they have something to protect their eyes and face when they stand in the road and ask for money.

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