Today is World Kindness Day, which given the current state of the world, seems especially important. To celebrate, Mazzy and I made a special trip to Washington Square Park, armed with a huge bunch of blue balloons, to give people a smile in partnership with Crest. I can’t even put into words the look on Mazzy’s face when she saw the balloons in the distance walking toward us.
“Are those for us, Mom???”
“Yep. We’re going to give them out.”
“Are we going to charge people money for them?”
“Then why are we doing it?”
“Because it will make people smile and that feels good for everyone.”
Before we gave them out, Mazzy and I had to take a few pictures trying to hang onto the bunch. Obviously. Even having that huge bunch of blue balloons made people gather around, smile and take pictures, and we hadn’t even said we were giving them away.
“Are you ready to give them out?” I asked Mazzy.
“Yes!” She was excited. “Let’s go over to the bubbles!”
We walked over to the bubble guy, who is a Washington Square Park regular. He’s there on most days, making huge bubbles while kids run around and pop them. He’s another person who regularly makes people smile. Mazzy suggested going over there because there were kids congregated and she assumes, as I did, that those were the people who would want the balloons.
We handed them out to a few kids and pretty quickly, parents and children gathered around to get one too. Then a funny thing happened— adults with absolutely no children asked if they could have a balloon as well. There were NYU students and couples and tourists, all asking if they could have one of our balloons.
We gave them out with a smile and they smiled back.
Mazzy had been helping out and then took a moment to look around the park. In addition to the bubble guy, she pointed out a juggler, a three piece band playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” a break dancer on a piece of cardboard, a artist drawing an owl with colored chalk and a guy writing poems for strangers on the spot.
“Why are there so many people doing fun things, Mom?”
Now, we’ve been in that park a billion times before and it’s always filled with street performers and artists, but somehow handing out the balloons made Mazzy appreciate them in a new way and recognize how many people were participating in making the park a happier place.
Then she began to notice our big blue balloons, which were now spreading their way across the park, popping up on the other side of the fountain, behind trees, through the arch and up 5th Avenue.
“Look, Mom! Everyone’s got our balloons!”
Crest had printed two hashtags on the balloons: #choosesmiles and #choosekind. I watched as two twenty-something year-old guys took turns taking pictures with their balloon, grinning big cheesy grins straight towards camera, making sure that #choosesmiles was front and center. Another couple asked a stranger to take a picture of them while they smiled straight to camera with their balloons too.
I mean, if you’re going to be a brand with a “call to action,” smiling has got to be the best one I have heard.
“Look how we gave them a reason to smile, Mazzy.”
Mazzy smiled back at me. It felt good to her, I could tell. I smiled back. We had done our job and done it well.
To further celebrate smiles and kindness, Crest is sending me to the red carpet premiere of Wonder in LA! Wonder is a movie based on the New York Times best-seller of the same name, which follows the inspiring story of a boy with facial differences as he tries to make friends in a new school, ultimately teaching his family and classmates what it really means to be kind.
Try not to cry when you watch the trailer below.
If you’d like to see me attempt to interview Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson on the red carpet, make sure to follow my Instagram Story on @mommyshorts! Crest will also be sharing lots of behind-the-scenes content from the red carpet on their Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. It’s my first premiere and I’m REALLY excited about this movie, so I’m betting I’ll be smiling the whole time.