Feel Good

Both of His Parents Died. Now He is Helping Hundreds of Strangers Fight Sadness

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Talk about grass roots activism. This kid understands how it’s done. The six-year-old from Savannah, Georgia is on a mission to end sadness and make people smile. And it is working.

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What makes this even harder to believe is that Jaden Hayes has been through hell recently. His father died when he was just four years old. Then, less than two years later, Jaden’s mother died in her sleep. It was Jaden who found her–who tried to wake her before he realized what had happened.

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And now he knows a lesson most of us take much longer to learn: “Anybody can die.”

So he went to live with an aunt, and he must have come to terms with his own loss. He told her he was “sick and tired of seeing everyone sad all the time.” But rather than just say it, he’s decided to do something about it.

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Jaden now takes to the streets of Savannah, looking for people who seem sad. He takes with him a selection of toys that he can pass out. The simplicity of the gifts, and the genuine caring he demonstrates seems to produce the smiles he’s looking for.

Plastic dinosaurs, rubber duckies–the kind of imagination triggers from his youth–that’s what he’s passing out. Yet it is the philanthropic compassion, much harder to come by, that is touching stranger’s hearts.

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Those in Jaden’s life have noticed a big difference in him since he began helping others. “I’m still sad that my mom died,” he says–but you can see a wisdom in Jaden that money simply can’t buy. His wisdom begins with loss, and is forged in working through the grief.

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The people who he touches with his simple gestures, though–they seem to have that jolt that pulls them out of themselves, which we all need from time to time.

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So watch the video here, but be warned. If you’re wallowing in any kind of self pity, this kid may try to make you smile.