Let’s face it if you are not from Worcester you may not know about World Smile Day. Yes it is a “holiday” that takes place every 1st Friday of October since 1999. The concept is pretty straightforward with the moto being “Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile”. In today’s fast paced, stressed out world it is a great way of getting back the simple human values that emphasize service to others.
So why is Worcester the center of World Smile Day? Back in 1963 Harvey Ball from Worcester designed a smiley face for a commercial campaign for an insurance company. The smiley face symbol took on a life of its own. Sadly for Mr. Ball he did not copyright the symbol until it was too late. Before he passed away in 2001 he and his son Charlie Ball batted around the idea of a World Smile Day. Harvey Ball thought the symbol had been over-commercialized and didn’t fit the spirit of his original design. So in 1999 they made it official. They started the World Smile Foundation.
There is a great clip on the official World Smile Day website that shows the story of the smiley face from an American history perspective. It is narrated by Dick Clark. The symbol has actually been adopted around the world.
Worcester has it’s own specific ways of celebrating the day. This year they will have Smile Ambassadors that deliver Smile Certificates. I did this post today so that you would have time to sign up to “Smile Someone” in the Worcester area by Friday which is official World Smile Day.