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Monday, October 6, 2008

Million Dollar Smile

Each year this organization of men came to the Children's Home Society Orphanage.

All the boys and girls would get two dollars each. The men would take us in groups of five to downtown Jacksonville, Florida, to do some Christmas shopping.

I remember going with this one gentleman three years in a row. He would take us shopping, then he would ask us if we wanted to go to the movies. I remember watching him closely when we got to the theater. I watched him as he pulled out his wallet to pay for our tickets. He looked over at me and just smiled with his great big smile. During the movie he bought us all the popcorn and candy that we wanted. I remember thinking how wonderful it was that someone would spend their own money on someone like us.

We all laughed at the funny movie and had a really good time. The man would laugh really hard and then he would pat me on top of the head. Then he would laugh really hard again and reach over and rustle my hair. I would just look at him, and he would just keep smiling with his great big wonderful smile.

That trip to the movies was the first time in my life that I ever felt as if someone really cared about me. It was a wonderful feeling which I have never forgotten, even to this day, decades later. I don't know if that man felt sorry for me, but I do know this: If I ever win the big lottery, that man will find out that he carried a million-dollar smile.

This is why I believe it is so important that organizations and clubs, such as the Shriners and Jaycees, continue to reach out and help the children who are less fortunate. In my particular case, it was this one man's personal act of kindness that will be remembered for years to come. Just one little simple act of kindness.

It is these little-tiny acts that will insure that when some confused child goes off the deep end one day, he or she will forever remember that small glimmer of kindness that was shown to them by someone. That little speck of hope, that little dim light of goodness that will forever be stuck somewhere in the far reaches of their confused mind.

I thank you, kind Sir, for a memory which I now share with my children and grandchildren fifty years later.

Roger Dean Kiser, Sr.