SOUP AND A SMILE

The world as we know it was forever changed by a smile. This is how it happened.

There was a man who felt invisible. Like he didn’t matter, like no one cared. This feeling was only made worse by the fact that he took the el every day and not once had a single person looked his way.

So on a particularly depressing night he sat on the train, and stewed quietly to himself, and thought: this is the night I do It. And he was turning over the possible ways to do It and how others might respond when a man sitting across from him looked his way, smiled, and nodded. He got off at the next stop and that was that.

The man who wanted to do It went home, and instead of doing It, he decided that things couldn’t be all that bad if a man could smile and nod his way. So in the morning he abandoned thoughts of doing It and went to the soup kitchen, to help out more people who might feel invisible.

And before long, he was not just visible, he was recognized. He gave his own smile with every meal he handed over, and soon became known as the Soup-and-a-Smile Guy.

The good deeds built, until he was volunteering every day. Until he was going out on the street and smiling, going out and talking to people. He never did this before.

Soon the local news caught wind of this soup-and-a-smile do-gooder and ran a story, intending for it only to be a mild heart-warmer in between all the heaviness. But it took off. Volunteers crowded the soup kitchens, doing their own rendition and clamoring to meet the man who started it all.

The support was pouring in, and soon enough the man was able to quit his job and help others full time. He made no money apart from donations, but he didn’t need money. He was seen. He was helping.

He started the Soup And A Smile Foundation, which very quickly expanded beyond the homeless. Needy children around the world were sent full meals and a picture along with them of the smiling do-gooder.

Soon he was a legend in those parts of the world, revered beside deities though that was the last thing he wanted. He was on talk shows, radio stations, commercials, and those in need were always the priority.

He gave up his home, turned it into a refuge for at-risk teens. Only wore what he needed, gave up the rest of his possessions to those who could use them and became a happy wanderer.

Wherever he went, happiness followed. All it took was a smile from him, and he’d instantly made a new friend. He joined action groups, peaceful protests, walks to end all sorts of diseases, and all the while his group of followers grew.

Those in charge were afraid. He was too powerful. And what’s more, he advocated peace and minimalistic living and community. He was a threat.

They arrested him at a peaceful protest, tazed him and pepper-sprayed him too. And all the while he didn’t fight at all. All the while he kept smiling for his friends’ sake. It was all caught on camera, as you can imagine, and it spread. Got so there was nothing else on social media but his smile. He became a rallying cry. A hero.

Cities fell first. Not a drop of blood shed, just a horde of people who took over city halls in the name of a soup and a smile.

And it spread like that, one big wave of peaceful discontent, until police departments surrendered and governors put their hands up to provocateurs with no weapons.

They stormed his prison, overwhelmed the place by sheer numbers and refused to flinch when they were fired on. Just kept smiling, to return the favor to him.

He was freed that day, the same day the President resigned and Congress quit the capitol.

The people wanted him in charge, but he refused. It wasn’t for him to rule, or anyone else for that matter. It was for the people to govern themselves. To give to those who were in need, to help as many people as they could.

There was no more business. No war. No industry. No debt. Technological progress came to a halt, but the people were happy. They lived simple lives in harmony with each other and gave what they could.

No one knows where he is today, but that’s okay. Because a part of him will never be gone, will always be there to offer a soup and a smile.

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