Smiles are everywhere. They really are, you just have to look for them. I am dedicating this blog to finding those smiles out in the world and posting them on here. If you have smiles to share, email me at smilesareeverywhere@gmail.com and remember that if you want credited, include your name.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Spreading the Happy during the holidays

I've been reading about "layaway angels" today and I have to say, I am sincerly touched by these stories. I'm still wiping away the tears and fixing my smudged makeup. Here is an article for you to read and enjoy about these layaway angels.

He asked to pay something on his bill because he knew he wouldn't be able to afford it all before Christmas. Then a mysterious woman stepped up to the counter.
"She told him, 'No, I'm paying for it,'" recalled Edna Deppe, assistant manager at the store in Indianapolis. "He just stood there and looked at her and then looked at me and asked if it was a joke. I told him it wasn't, and that she was going to pay for him. And he just busted out in tears."
At Kmart stores across the country, Santa seems to be getting some help: Anonymous donors are paying off strangers' layaway accounts, buying the Christmas gifts other families couldn't afford, especially toys and children's clothes set aside by impoverished parents.
Before she left the store Tuesday evening, the Indianapolis woman in her mid-40s had paid the layaway orders for as many as 50 people. On the way out, she handed out $50 bills and paid for two carts of toys for a woman in line at the cash register.
"She was doing it in the memory of her husband who had just died, and she said she wasn't going to be able to spend it and wanted to make people happy with it," Deppe said. The woman did not identify herself and only asked people to "remember Ben," an apparent reference to her husband.
Deppe, who said she's worked in retail for 40 years, had never seen anything like it.
"It was like an angel fell out of the sky and appeared in our store," she said.
Most of the donors have done their giving secretly.
Dona Bremser, an Omaha nurse, was at work when a Kmart employee called to tell her that someone had paid off the $70 balance of her layaway account, which held nearly $200 in toys for her 4-year-old son.
"I was speechless," Bremser said. "It made me believe in Christmas again."
Dozens of other customers have received similar calls in Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Montana.
The benefactors generally ask to help families who are squirreling away items for young children. They often pay a portion of the balance, usually all but a few dollars or cents so the layaway order stays in the store's system.
The phenomenon seems to have begun in Michigan before spreading, Kmart executives said.
"It is honestly being driven by people wanting to do a good deed at this time of the year," said Salima Yala, Kmart's division vice president for layaway.
The good Samaritans seem to be visiting mainly Kmart stores, though a Wal-Mart spokesman said a few of his stores in Joplin, Mo., and Chicago have also seen some layaway accounts paid off.
Kmart representatives say they did nothing to instigate the secret Santas or spread word of the generosity. But it's happening as the company struggles to compete with chains such as Wal-Mart and Target.
Kmart may be the focus of layaway generosity, Yala said, because it is one of the few large discount stores that has offered layaway year-round for about four decades. Under the program, customers can make purchases but let the store hold onto their merchandise as they pay it off slowly over several weeks.
The sad memories of layaways lost prompted at least one good Samaritan to pay off the accounts of five people at an Omaha Kmart, said Karl Graff, the store's assistant manager.
"She told me that when she was younger, her mom used to set up things on layaway at Kmart, but they rarely were able to pay them off because they just didn't have the money for it," Graff said.
He called a woman who had been helped, "and she broke down in tears on the phone with me. She wasn't sure she was going to be able to pay off their layaway and was afraid their kids weren't going to have anything for Christmas."
"You know, 50 bucks may not sound like a lot, but I tell you what, at the right time, it may as well be a million dollars for some people," Graff said.
Graff's store alone has seen about a dozen layaway accounts paid off in the last 10 days, with the donors paying $50 to $250 on each account.
"To be honest, in retail, it's easy to get cynical about the holidays, because you're kind of grinding it out when everybody else is having family time," Graff said. "It's really encouraging to see this side of Christmas again."
Lori Stearnes of Omaha also benefited from the generosity of a stranger who paid all but $58 of her $250 layaway bill for toys for her four youngest grandchildren.
Stearnes said she and her husband live paycheck to paycheck, but she plans to use the money she was saving for the toys to help pay for someone else's layaway.
In Missoula, Mont., a man spent more than $1,200 to pay down the balances of six customers whose layaway orders were about to be returned to a Kmart store's inventory because of late payments.
Store employees reached one beneficiary on her cellphone at Seattle Children's Hospital, where her son was being treated for an undisclosed illness.
"She was yelling at the nurses, 'We're going to have Christmas after all!'" store manager Josine Murrin said.
A Kmart in Plainfield Township, Mich., called Roberta Carter last week to let her know a man had paid all but 40 cents of her $60 layaway.
Carter, a mother of eight from Grand Rapids, Mich., said she cried upon hearing the news. She and her family have been struggling as she seeks a full-time job.
"My kids will have clothes for Christmas," she said.
Angie Torres, a stay-at-home mother of four children under the age of 8, was in the Indianapolis Kmart on Tuesday to make a payment on her layaway bill when she learned the woman next to her was paying off her account.
"I started to cry. I couldn't believe it," said Torres, who doubted she would have been able to pay off the balance. "I was in disbelief. I hugged her and gave her a kiss."

Layaway angles have made their way to my state and hometown as well. There are stories on the radio and news about these wonderful people.

Office of Smileys

I will be out until January 3, so I leave all of you with soooo many smiley faces to last you until I return. Wendy from British Columbia, Canada sent me this picture. I have never seen so many smiley faces in one place!! Thanks so much Wendy!
To everyone~ Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year!! Keep smiling :-)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Vacuum Handle Frown

Today is Occasional Frown Day. Since I have opted not to do Frownie Fridays anymore, I do occasional frowns now. Here is a vacuum handle from my mother-in-laws house. Screw holes for the eyes and the big open part for the frown. To top it off, it looks like its eating flowers!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Red Smile

Here is the underside of a lid to a red tote bin. This is the tote that I put my Christmas decorations in...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Coffee Spill Smile

In honor of my best friend's last day of work, I am posting a coffee spill smile that she found and sent me yesterday. Don't they eyes look almost perfectly round?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gift Bag String Smile

Christmas is almost here!! I found this smile while packing a gift in a bag the other day!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Plug In Smile

Does your plug in smile too? This one looks a little confused and scared instead of happy....but I'm showing it off anyway.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dragonfly Smile

Here's a picture of a smiling dragonfly sent to me from Wendy in Canada. You can go here if you want to check it out for yourself. There's another picture too. Did you know dragonflies smiled all the time? I sure didn't. Thanks Wendy!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Spreading the happy

Wendy from Canada sent me this article and I thought it would be wonderful to share seeing as how this blog is all about smiles and this guy makes so many people smile.

He’s been dubbed “the happiest food service employee alive” and described as a cross between Ronald McDonald and Jesus. He even has a Facebook fan page dedicated to him.

Lance Marcotte-Callas, nicknamed “Happy Lance,” is a local star for spreading his own brand of cheer from the McDonald’s’ drive-through window.

“It’s nice to be recognized when you put your heart and soul into your work,” said Lance, in an upbeat, smooth voice that could belong to a dee-jay.

Lance described how a group of local students created the Facebook page, which is moderated by a parent.

“They created it because they love me and I’m really thankful. It’s just great.”

Happiness, said Lance, is contagious and it’s a feeling he truly loves to pass on to customers, who often leave his drive-through window with a smile.

“I’m representing loving caring vibes. I care about how I make the customer feel. I can make a difference in someone’s whole day just by being me,” enthused the server, who would one day like to be a radio announcer. When not working 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. shifts at McDonald’s, Lance enjoys “staying busy:” hanging out with friends, going hiking and four-by-fouring.

Lance is quick to credit the other McDonald’s employees as well as management for keeping him so happy.

“It’s all team work. It’s a team that’s on a family level. I couldn’t do it without them backing me up.”

Lance, however, can strike a serious note.

“It can be stressful in the drive-through, with all the people.” Seeing how happiness is contagious, though, keeps him going, along with the fan support. As for just how he stays so happy, Lance shared his secret.

“I gained it over time. I just kept building on it and improving it. My body just kind of kicks into that state. I’m looooooovin’ it,” said the self-described “energizer bunny” who has worked at McDonald’s for more than a year.

“Lance is laughing and smiling all the time,” said Frank Popien, owner of McDonald’s for the past 13 years. Though Popien has had some exceptional employees during this time, “I honestly can’t say I’ve had another Lance.”

“Lance plays by his own set of rules. He can be off-the-wall and very funny. He can be over the top but in a good way.”

Usually, said Popien, the voice of the server at any drive-through can be quite monotone. Not so with Lance.

“It’s very different. He’s off the Richter Scale,” chuckled Popien, who noted that Lance was more reserved when first hired.

“He wasn’t as outgoing. When he got more comfortable, his personality came out. He’s a breath of fresh air in the drive-through. It’s really quite funny to listen to him.”

At last count, more than 840 people are fans of Happy Lance on Facebook.

Rescue Chair Smile

This picture was actually the first picture I ever took for my smile blog, but I am just now using it. Here is a rescue chair hanging on the wall in the stair well at my work. Wheels for eyes and the blue bar for the smile.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Spool Smile

Found this guy on http://icanhascheezburger.com/ and I thought it was too cute to pass up. I remember growing up we use to have these same huge spools sitting outside that we used for tables.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Smile from a Sign

Ok, so there is technically no smile in this picture, but the word is there.....Wendy from Canada sent me this picture of a sign with a great message and I just couldn't pass it up. Keep the pictures coming Wendy! You're doing great!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Coffee Cup Lid Smile

This wonderful smile was found on my best friend CJ's coffee cup when we stopped for breakfast during our Black Friday fun last week.