A SMILE card is a gift from someone who received it before you. Since it’s an anonymous gift, you cannot pay anyone back; but you can ‘pay-it-forward’ to allow future recipients to experience the same generosity.
I got my first smile card almost a year back and it took me nearly 6 months to pass it on. One of the biggest reasons for it taking so long was that I was shy. I was thinking people might not take it in the right spirit if I paid for their coffee or meal. I never thought twice before offering a kind gesture to a poor person, but to someone whom I knew can afford his/ her coffee or meal, I just felt odd. And so I was in shortage of ideas about passing the smile card to a ‘privileged’ person.
I finally found someone who had been thinking of buying a game since a long time but never got around it. Believe me it was such a pleasure (and also relief) to pass the SMILE card along. And little did I know that I had my second on its way already! 🙂
It’s amazing to get an anonymous gift and it takes some time to understand the idea the first time but then you feel great to be part of this ripple of kindness.
After the second smile card, came my first SMILE deck. During my last visit to Ahmedabad, Mihika gifted me the deck. The smile deck is like any other deck of cards – 4 suits with 13 cards each and 2 Jokers – with a twist that each card has a unique kindness idea. These decks were created by a group of volunteers, people just like you and me.
My SMILE deck has become a game now. I started with the Joker card as soon as I opened the deck – telling a joke to the person who gifted it to me. For a week I thought about how to use it. And then I decided to pick one card at random every day and do what it says. I have to confess that I haven’t been able to stay one-a-day with them as I had initially thought but the game is on till the deck gets over and it has been fun and rewarding. Here are some that I have picked till now and what I did 🙂
8 of diamonds:
Visit a place of worship other than your own.
I don’t usually visit any place of worship, so for once I thought it doesn’t matter even if I go to a temple, but I decided to go to a place where I haven’t been before so went to a Gurudwara. It was nice, had not been to that particular Gurudwara ever before. I sat there for some time in silence and came back.
Next time you are in an auto-rickshaw, buy a cold drink for the driver.
This was easy; I bought a bottle of cold drinking water and a chocolate for his kid. And got a huge smile in return 🙂
9 of clubs:
Give a tulsi plant to someone you know
I did a slight change in this one. My neighbor had asked me for a cutting of money-plant some time back (Don’t know it’s biological name). So instead of tulsi, I gifted her that.
J of Hearts:
Feed a beggar and spend 15 min with him
We normally go and five our leftover food to beggars; but for this one I cooked a meal especially for them and it was great fun!
Q of spades:
Find a plant that has wilted and nurse it back to health
This one was difficult. I decided I will have to find a plant in my colony itself so that I can water it every day. I filled up water bottles and went around the locality to find a wilted plant and to my despair (or happiness!) there wasn’t one wilted plant! 🙂 So I came back, filled up more bottles and watered all the plants in a lane. And did this for a week every day.
8 of clubs:
Tag your house help by doing the dishes today
I couldn’t do this the day I picked this card because she had already completed her work, so I did this the following day and gave her the day off!
In between, I have done other acts like giving discount coupons to people behind me in the supermarket queue and saw the smile of how we sometimes find money in the pockets of an old denim :); I always carry candies for the kids of my vegetable vendor or that I always carry my bags for shopping. One day I’m planning to sit with my vegetable vendor with lots of cloth bags and give one to everyone who comes there without a bag. But I still need to ask him if I can do it.
Till now I’ve just done 7 (including the Joker card). I can’t wait how it will go with the remaining 🙂
Check out Help Others for more kindness ideas and stories on how people have used their smile cards and smile decks 🙂