Since its creation over 50 years ago, Harvey Ball’s smiley face has become an international symbol of happiness. The yellow circle, with its iconic black eyes and smile, has made cameos in movies, graphic novels, and more. But over the years, Ball felt the smiley face was becoming overused, and people were losing sight of its original purpose to spread cheer. And so, World Smile Day was born.

First celebrated in 1999, always the first Friday of October, the day is to be used to smile and make small acts of kindness around the world. Despite passing away in 2001, Harvey Ball’s legacy lives on each year.

Here are some ways to celebrate World Smile Day this year:

  • Call a loved one
  • Send a letter instead of a text
  • Leave cookies for the USPS
  • Pay for the person behind you in the drive-through line
  • Compliment a stranger
  • Plant a tree
  • Pick up trash you see
  • Turn your camera on in Zoom meetings
  • Donate to a GoFundMe
  • Donate blood
  • Hold the door open for someone
  • Water the neighbor’s garden
  • Leave a bigger tip
  • Be kind and smile!

World Smile Day only lasts 24 hours, but challenge yourself to complete one small act of kindness each day. In the words of the late Harvey Ball, “Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile.” You never know the effect your smile could have on another person – even a stranger.

Smile all day today!