How Smilocracy Began...
By Smilocracy Founder, Matt Goodman
This unbelievable smile-inspired story actually began in a personal time of darkness for me. I was going through many painful struggles at the time. I was recently divorced, homeless, sleeping on a friend's couch, and about to give up on my entrepreneurial dream, Smilocracy, which had come to me years earlier in a magical vision.
To say I needed help was an understatement. I needed a miracle.
Little did I know that the miracle would come in the form of an 80-year-old hippie with a ridiculously infectious smile.
The Happy Hippie
I had heard stories about Lois from my aunt. They were curious to say the least: She didn't wear bras, she "collected" boys like baseball cards, she twice tried out for the St. Louis football cardinals cheerleading squad, and for several years she lived in a VW van with her 3 kids.
My aunt knew we'd "do damage together", and waited almost a year before finally introducing us. Finally in April of 2015 I was invited over to Lois' famous house with the pink door for Passover. It was an offer I was desperately waiting for!
The House with the Pink Door
To say Lois and I had an instant connection would be an understatement. The second I walked into her house, I felt the gravitational pull of something extraordinary.
The house was unlike anything I had ever stepped foot in.
From Lois' mountainous hat collection to her collage wallpaper of boy crushes, every square inch was covered with random oddities she had "collected" from her unique life. I describe it as Pee Wee' Herman's Playhouse meets Grandma's house. It was a five course meal for the eyes.
Then there were the Passover guests. They were as eclectic and colorful as the scenery.
There was a former nun, a gay couple, and several pillars of the African American community. It was unlike any Passover dinner I had ever attended, and I've been to quite a few crazy ones. The conversation was engaging, funny, lively, and contested.
Finally, there was Lois. She was simply put out of this world.
Life on Groids
She cooked, she cleaned, she served, she entertained, she danced, she made outrageous sex jokes. She was like a Grandma on steroids, "Groids", as I call it. I could hardly believe she was 80. She was awe-inspiring to watch.
I knew after this first dinner that I had found a kindred spirit in Lois.
I even had a vision: Lois' home would one day be the home of Smilocracy, and she would be its joyful FIRST ambassador.
Lois gets diagnosed with cancer
Fate, however, has an interesting way of working. It was just one week after that glorious dinner that both our worlds got flipped upside down.
I called up Lois one day to check in, and she told me the upsetting news: She had breast cancer.
I was shocked. My glorious vision of making the world smile with this extraordinary woman suddenly vanished. I now envisioned the somber road ahead: radiation treatment, hospital stays, and who knows what else. I knew I had to change my thinking. After all, I was the founder of Smilocracy!
Once I got over the crushing blow, I sprung my platform, Smilocracy into action.
I had researched the powers of smiles for years, and knew they had tremendous healing powers. I also knew Lois wasn't just going to lie down and die. This was a perfect opportunity to test our smiles in action and see how Lois responded to them.
Inspired by her ridiculously positive attitude, I came up with the concept, Breast Cancer 'Aliveness' Month, and asked if I could move into her house with a box of smile stickers.
Much to my surprise, Lois' initial response was NOT what I anticipated...
"No Way Jose!"
However, I remained undeterred and persisted. And after several weeks of lobbying and laying on the charm thick, she finally relented.
I moved in, and the "House with the Pink Door" became official Smilocracy Headquarters.
Home Sweet Home
I discover courage starts with a SMILE
Now to disclaim: Lois and I weren't a match made in Smile Heaven right away. There were your typical challenges to overcome like giving each other space, the divvying up of chores, and both of our strong wills to always be "Right". But we found a way to make it work. I cooked, Lois cleaned. Lois cut the grass, I took out the trash. Sometimes. And I learned pretty quickly that I was always "Wrong."
But it was the morning cancer treatments that really strengthened our bond.
Every morning the two of us would wake up at 5:30 am, and plan our smile-filled day. Lois would make me a cup of coffee, and then I would 'chauffeur' her to radiation treatment in her famous "pimped-out-pink" Volvo with the box of Smile Stickers in the back.
I saw an amazing side to Lois those mornings. I was awe-struck by her courage, attitude and positive spirit. She genuinely seemed happy to be going through cancer treatment.
Nurses, doctors, the receptionist, when we got to the hospital, EVERYONE got a smile sticker and a HUG from Lois.
To me, Lois was "treating" her doctors and nurses with her positive spirit and smiles as much as they were treating her for cancer. And I still think her treatment worked better!
She must have given out over a hundred stickers each morning... It was a sight to behold.
World's Happiest Patient
I felt the world needed to witness what I was witnessing each and every morning.
I made it my mission to share Lois' story in words, pictures, and video as loudly, compellingly and dutifully as possible.
I purchased some more smile stickers, started a Facebook page, and made a pact with Lois that together we would make the world smile.
Starting a Movement
It's now been over three years since our quest began, and the two of us have spread over 70,000 smile stickers across the country.
And Lois' cancer, well, it's completely in remission!!!
We feel we have only scratched the surface of the power of our smile stickers.
The results have redeemed our faith in ourselves and humanity...
"We all smile in the same language"
Join our Movement!
That's why we want YOU to join our mission to spread our stickers all around the world.
If they can help heal cancer like they did for Lois, imagine what they could do if more people harnessed their scientifically proven powers.
Imagine if a whole city, state or country got behind the power of smiles. Millions of people spreading them everywhere they go. This is what we are aiming for with our movement!
Please watch a compilation of our work below. It's a highlight reel of all the smiles we've given out over the last three years.
Mother Teresa famously said, "Peace begins with a smile." We think we're getting closer.... ENJOY THE VIDEO!
It hasn't always been sunshiney smiles for Smilocracy founder, Matt Goodman. Matt's life has been full of ups and downs including going to rehab for addiction, almost joining the mafia in Chicago and being a block away from the Boston Marathon bombing when the bomb went off. Yes, his own life could be a movie.
Fortunately in 2012, Matt had a eureka moment that changed his life for good. Inspired by his former wife, Elizabeth, he got the idea for Smilocracy, and began working on the social network that became the basis for the Smilocracy Platform and his upcoming children's book The Boy Who Made the World Smile.
Matt sees the smile as the ultimate teaching tool for children to learn more about positive social media habits both on and offline. Currently he and the Smilocracy team are working on many projects including the Smilocracy social networking app and Million Smile Hustle Campaign for St. Louis
To learn more about Matt, just reach out to him. He loves talking smiles with anyone ANYTIME!