Out of habit, Shailee Shah always keeps packets of biscuits and toffees with her whenever she goes out of the home. And whenever this Gurgaon resident meets these street children, she distributes this toffees and biscuits among them.
One fine summer day, three years back, on her way, the car stopped at the traffic signal. As usual, Shailee tried to offer a packet of biscuit to a boy who was selling pens in the signal area. But to her surprise, the boy refused to take the biscuit packet. Instead asked her if he can get that bottle of water in the car. “Without a second thought, I gave him the water bottle. As he gulped those cold water from the bottle, I could feel the joy on his face. As he started going back, seeing him, some more of his friends started coming towards the car to get some water. Unfortunately, the signal turned Green and I could not serve his friends with water. But the idea of helping them with water sunk in.“, says Shailee.
After this incident, Shailee started carrying extra water bottles with her to share it with the needy, irrespective of their age and profession. But she realized that it was getting tough to get empty bottles to distribute water at a very regular frequency.
“We have spent 14 years in Japan and faced difficulties in understanding their culture and food. So when we were back in India, we thought of helping foreigners understanding our food and culture. So Shailee started giving cooking classes to Japanese ladies around. We realized that these ladies only drink bottled mineral water. So we asked them not to throw those bottles and instead give it to us. When we told them the reason, they were more than happy to help us in this effort. Then we started asking empty bottles from our near-by salons, restaurants, and also from our friends and colleagues in the office. And to our surprise, everyone was so happy doing this. Even though we have never counted, but till date, we have distributed approximately 6000+ cold water bottles, if nothing less“, says Mayur, Shailee’s husband who is a banker by profession.
This act of kindness, filling empty water bottles and distributing them among the needy, is now religiously done by all four members in Shailee’s family, including her children. Seeing the impact, many of their friends also do the same in their possible capacities in their nearby areas. And this act has now spread to Mumbai and Bengaluru too.
“Earlier this year, while listening to Mr.Narendra Modi’s “Mann Ki Baat” on air, we realized the importance of taking this grass-roots level initiative to more cities. Thus, we started this facebook page “Smile Collectors” to spread the idea far and wide, if possible. This is just A.B.C.D. – Any Body Can Do. We believe, all you need is an intent to do something good.“, adds Mayur during our conversation.
In the meantime, an angel and a generous donor from Ahmedabad has now couriered them some hundred caps to be distributed along with the water bottles for people to stay safe in this scorching heat. “This is a healthy addition to our quest in expanding the smiles on the streets“, cheerfully says Mayur.
It’s summertime. Wherever you may be, you too can help people who keep your city moving and bring a smile to their face. Just recycle PET bottles to give cold hygiene water, and collect their precious smiles in return.
Here is what you can do:
- Collect empty pet bottles from home, office, your favorite restaurant, SPA or any other good source.
- Clean them and fill them with RO water. Cool them overnight.
- Next day morning, when you are leaving your home, keep them in the car or on your bike and give it to people who are working on the street to make our life better.
- Do not miss the smile on their face, when you meet a stranger, greet them and give them a bottle of cold hygiene water.
Shailee and her family is doing it for the last three years now and have been happy to collect so many smiles on this journey. What are you waiting for?
Show your love and support. Join Smile Collectors on facebook.