It wasn’t ever. He smiled once, or ALMOST smiled. For sure he was not frowning, not looking–as he usually did–unhappy.

So strange. He had a beautiful, loving wife. He had a lovely and charming daughter who spoke a number of languages and wanted to work with her father when she finished grad school in Australia. He had a fine, smart, friendly son who had a lot of his mother’s smiles and a lot of his father’s courage and intelligence. He had a very successful business and many friends both personal and in business. He had every reason to be happy, to be comfortable, to smile.

But he rarely did. Although when a smile broke out on his face people everywhere said what a beautiful couple he and his wife were–how happy and good and nice they looked together. People thought his life was perfect, and though they knew that there was much pressure in his business, they thought he was capable and could deal with the pressure and be even more successful as time went on. They weren’t wrong.

Altho his life was NOT perfect, it was very good. He really WAS happy. He loved his beautiful, kind, happy wife. He was proud of and loved both his children. He enjoyed his business and his success. So what was wrong? Why didn’t he smile?

He didn’t know why. He thought his smile might be broken. He wasn’t sure that it could be fixed, but he was a strong and brave man, so one day he asked his friends, “Do you know where I might get my smile repaired?” Nobody knew. He grew sad, and walked the streets of his city holding his head in his hands and shaking it back and forth, forth and back. Sad. He was sad.

Suddenly, one day he was walking on the Street of Broken Mirrors and saw a sign reflected in a piece of mirror on the ground. The sign showed a big mouth with a huge smile, and under the mouth were the words, “Doctor Happy, Repairer of Smiles.” The man went in to see this Doctor Happy, and when seated on the doctor’s table, he told the doctor about how he thought his smile was broken beyond repair.

The doctor examined the man. He gave him a pretty thorough examination, but then the doctor took a huge tube with a light bulb on the end out of a drawer. The man asked what the doctor was going to do with the tube with the light, and the doctor said that he needed to look in one more place for the man’s smile, and the man needed to bend over and hold his feet while the doctor pushed the huge tube into the man’s backside. The man was very frightened.

The man asked the doctor if it was absolutely necessary to put that big tube and light bulb into him. The doctor thought for a couple of minutes. The doctor looked through two huge medical journals. He lit a candle. He held a glass globe over the candle. He lit sticks of incense. He shook cards out onto a table, mixed them up and chose two. He turned the cards over, looked at the man, and said, “No, it was not absolutely necessary!”

The man smiled.

The man went to pay the doctor, but the doctor refused his money. He asked the doctor “So, how shall I pay you?” The doctor replied, “Pay it forward. Give people a smile if you see they need one. You will never run out of smiles.”

And he never has. He gives smiles to all he meets. When a friend is sad, he gives him a smile. When a stranger looks sad, the man gives him a smile and a kind word. It seems he has plenty of kind words to accompany his smiles. People see him and smile back, because he looks so happy. His wife loves him more than ever before, because he looks so happy. His children feel better and are doing even better in school, because he looks so happy. And do you know what? He now realizes that he is so happy, and he is reading this and guess what–he is smiling!


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