Awakin Calls » Summit Shah

Summit Shah: My Journey with Smile Cards

Aug 22, 2015: My Journey With Smile Cards

Read: Call Transcript (Also: How Kindness Can Change a Life)

Back in 2009, when Summit Shah was in college, he heard about Smile Cards. The idea behind Smile Cards was to do an act of kindness anonymously and invite the recipient to keep the goodness flowing by paying it forward. The idea deeply resonated with Summit but it wasn't until several years later that he turned his inspiration to action.

One of his friends, Julie, forwarded him a blog post about a mother celebrating her birthday by doing random acts of kindness. The following Tuesday night, they went around their hometown of Columbus (Ohio) visiting various ice cream shops leaving money to pay for the next customer who ordered their favorite flavor. They left a Smile Card alongside a note that said, "Happy Tuesday! Enjoy your evening treat. You've just been tagged with a random act of kindness. You're it! Now, keep the spirit going!"  All employees, let alone the recipient of those treats, were overflowing with huge smiles. The experience was so energizing, they kept up their Tuesday of kindness -- and kept a photo log of their acts.

Kindness makes us happierreduces stress, slows aging, and even helps us get ahead.  Just witnessing a kind act leaves us elated. Studies now show that kindness it determining factor for long lasting relationships.  

Sure enough, their acts of kindness together had ripples. Summit and Julie started dating and have noticed how kindness has started seeping into all aspects of their lives. Since finishing his MD and MPH from Ohio State University in 2010, Summit has continued to explore how medicine can be used to help others. With a heart for providing medical care to the under-served, Summit has volunteered on 5 mission trips to Honduras and Mexico, provided medical care at his local Columbus Free Clinic, hosted ALS charity event and mentored dozens of medical students. Even his home has become an expression of generosity, as he frequently hosts strangers via CouchSurfing.

Join us for an inspiring conversation about the power of kindness, stories of Smile Cards, and power of small acts that each one of us can take.

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