Big-hearted idea to cheer up ailing neighbor catches on in Canton
Joy is spreading rapidly these days on South Sheldon Road in Canton – one smiley face at a time.
Inspired by an urge to cheer up a neighbor who was suffering through a serious health crisis in early 2021, Christina Roach-Jacobs evaporated a big piece of COVID-19 pandemic gloom when she and her sons painted an eye-catching smiley face on a four-foot-by-four-foot wooden pallet and placed it in her front yard, directly across the street from the neighbor in need of a pick-me-up.
“She had been so sick and in the hospital for so many months, I wanted to do something to make her happy,” said Roach-Jacobs. “When it was done, I called her husband and asked if she could stand by their front window where she could see our yard. We actually got a speaker and played the ‘Happy’ song when she came to the window.”
Roach-Jacobs said her ailing neighbor’s reaction was priceless.
“It was late January or early February, so it was cold and there was snow on the ground, but she came outside and started dancing,” Roach recounted, smiling.
Neighbors were so enamored with Roach-Jacobs’s idea that they requested smiley faces for their yards, too, and before she knew it, the lifelong do-gooder had created 16 of the joy-spreading items.
“It all started early in 2021, so everyone was isolated due to the pandemic,” Roach-Jacobs said. “After making the initial round of pallets, it went dormant for a while, but it has kind of sparked up again after someone posted photos of the smiley faces on a Facebook page.”
Roach-Jacobs’s joy-spreading efforts haven’t been limited to painting pallets. During the heart of the COVID-19 shutdown she used a bus she owns to distribute care packages to people hit hard by the virus. She also delivered essential goods to victims of the 2020 Midland flood.
Turning frowns upside down
“I work a lot with children,” said Roach-Jacobs, the owner of a daycare business. “I’ll put a frown on my face and ask them, ‘Do you like this?’ And then I’ll smile and ask, ‘Or do you like this?’ Everybody loves smiles, which is what I’m all about.”
Roach-Jacobs said she’d love to see her smiley-faced pallets spread throughout Canton.
“The more, the merrier,” she said. “The world can never have too much joy.”
Pandemic or no pandemic, Roach-Jacobs is making it happen, one smiley face at a time.