#TheSmileExperiment continues to touch hearts - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

#TheSmileExperiment continues to touch hearts

A warm smile is the universal language of kindness. One boy's kindness is making a lot of people smile.


6-year-old Jaden Hayes' mission started in Savannah, but since then his Smile Experiment has traveled around the globe.


It's been unbelievable the response Hayes has received. It was just three weeks ago, WTOC’s Mike Cihla received an email from the family explaining Jaden’s idea and asked to meet.

Jaden had just lost his mom unexpectedly, he was sick of seeing frowny faces and wanted to make people smile. He was handing out little toys in exchange for a smile in downtown Savannah, and that one act of kindness is showing all the goodness that a simple smile can bring.


Jaden said, "Well it makes me kind of really proud. And I like it when people smile."

Natasha Compton, said, “What I did was just started taking the pictures on Instagram, I wanted to make sure it was all documented for Jaden. He said it would be really cool to be on the news. I already followed you (Mike Cihla) on Instagram, so I thought, I'll just tag him. I just thought he would get on the local news and it would be a nice fun experience for him and put a smile on his face, I did not expect it to turn into this.”


Jaden's Smile Experiment has traveled far, featured on CBS News, People Magazine, London Daily Mail, and German TV. His Smile Experiment touching a lot of hearts along the way. 


Barbara DiCola said, “A news clip from China, which really amazed me, that being a communist country, China showed this amazing little story of my nephew making people smile.”


Complete strangers, calling wanting to help, emailing with how his story touched them with a lot of these moments, or sending letters and toys to help complete his mission. 



DiCola said, “Just a lot of inspirational stories a lot of sad stories, but almost everything is encouraging.”

But the family has run into one problem, because of Jaden's Smile Experiment.

“Jaden decided he did not want to go to school. He had a job to do that was to go make people smile, and he wasn't going to school. I had to tell him, the way for him to keep doing the smile experiment was first he had to get auntie to smile, by going to school,” said DiCola.

Since then the family has set up a Facebook page called “Jadens#TheSmileExperiment”, where people can post their picture with their smile.

Compton said, “Everybody will be able to log onto the page and see their smiles, and other people in the world that Jaden has made smile.”

The family has made up cards, that you will find with plastic ducks attached telling you what you can do, some Jaden wanted to autograph himself.


"Because when you smile it makes me happy. It makes me happier and happier,” said Jaden.

You may find on one of your journey's in Savannah is business cards that say the Smile Experiment, and they will be attached to a plastic toy. What you will do to keep the Smile Experiment going will be explained on the card. Take a picture with your smile and share it to the Facebook page.

Many people have wanted to give toys and money to Jaden's cause, they are not really soliciting donations but if you would like you can contact this email: JadensTheSmileExperiment@gmail.com or through the Facebook page and someone will contact you back.

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