The One Smile Movement

Today I am introducing The One Smile Movement.

It’s November, the beginning of a time for giving in the US.
Yet, we often find ourselves asking.

Asking for gifts.
Asking for help.
Asking for food.
Asking for awareness.
Asking for equality.
Asking for change.

While some of these things are real and should have been accomplished years ago, I think it’s time we try switching our tactics. Maybe giving is the best way to get.

Through giving, we get fulfillment, joy, and satisfaction. We create moments and awareness. We celebrate memories and enjoy time. Best of all, we get a smile.

Why the one smile movement?

What happens when you give your time to help someone.
Most of the time they smile.

What happens when you hold the door for someone who can’t get it?
They smile.

What happens when you share your umbrella with a stranger trying to get into the store?
They smile.

When you help others, even if it’s the smallest of actions, you get a smile.

What do you have to do to join the movement? 

Give your time to help those in need.

It doesn’t have to involve money or even going out of your way. It could be as simple as holding the door for a mother & child or as extravagant as hosting a thanksgiving charity dinner for equality organizations.


The goal here is to spend a little time connecting with others, helping those around you, and making someone smile. It’s not about awareness or even appreciation. It’s not a competition either. It’s all about helping in any way you can, even if it’s just two minutes of your time.

Think on it.

If you give you two minutes of your time to one person every day for a week, that’s 7 more people that smiled than before. If only one of those people begins doing the same, then the number multiplies, 14 new smiling people a every week.

If every single person took two minutes from their day to help others, the world would get over 14 billion minutes of help a day. With that much time given freely to help who knows what could happen.

Ready to join The One Smile Movement?


To help you get started, I’ve created a list of ideas in no particular order.

  1. Share an umbrella with a stranger when it’s raining.
  2. Hold the door for someone who’s hands are full.
  3. Carry someone’s groceries to their front door.
  4. Give your leftovers to a homeless person *
  5. Buy a meal for a homeless person
  6. Host a Thanksgiving dinner at $5 a head and donate all money to charity.
  7. Pay someone’s bus fair
  8. Tie an unused jacket around a light pole with “not lost, use if cold” pinned to it.
  9. Babysit a friend’s kid so they can go out for the night (for free).
  10. Pick up trash around a trash can.
  11. Give directions to someone who’s lost.
  12. Make some sandwiches, get a box of chips, get some water, and hand out meals.**
  13. Complement someone on their clothing.
  14. Smile at the people you pass.
  15. Turn in the keys you found to the front desk.
  16. Volunteer for an organization who’s beliefs you support.
  17. Hug someone.
  18. Pay for the person’s coffee behind you.
  19. Top of someone’s parking meter.
  20. Help someone across the street.
  21. Give a gift you don’t like to someone who will.
  22. Ask your Facebook friends who needs help for the day.
  23. Help change a flat tire.
  24. Do a chore for your parents (without them asking.)
  25. Create a care package.
  26. Teach someone a skill.
  27. Listen to someone who needs an ear.
  28. Spend time with someone who’d lonely.

*We did this in New Orleans. The man asked if we had any money for food and we said we didn’t have any cash but we had an uneaten half of a sandwich. He took it and some chips we had and thanked us. I would advise a similar approach, don’t go giving away food with bites taken out.
** Be careful about food laws in your city. Atlanta allows this, but you can’t put up signs. Walking around and asking if they need lunch is okay though (at least we didn’t’ get caught). 

A Note on Social Media:

Social media is a way to get attention, we all do it. Posting something good we did to get the likes of friends, to feel good ourselves. That’s not what this movement is about.
Luckily, there is another side to social media that we all sometimes forget about.

Social media can be a place of change. Think the Ice Bucket Challenge. It can be a place where movements happen and people help. I ask for you to post your works of help and ask others to join you. Challenge them to go a week, two weeks, or even twenty-one days helping someone each day. Post your smiles and the smiles of those your help.

Use the hashtag #onesmilemovement
If you need help explaining what you are doing, share this post.
If not, summarize it yourself.

As time goes on, I’ll add a gallery of One Smile Givers to this page.


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