In 2006, Missouri artist Mark Borella started handing out smiles made from little lumps of clay to friends going through rough times.
"I would tell them, 'It's a seed of happiness, I hope it grows," Borella told filmmaker Evan Mueller.
He had no idea at the time that his "seeds" — and smiles — would be planted around the world, from Africa to Australia. Seeds of Happiness took off on Facebook. By 2010, he was making 10,000 clay smiles a week.
"Since then Mark has given out thousands of smiles to folks, a handful at a time. In turn, they share them and the story with their friends in need of a smile. Those people then share with more friends and keep the story going. Seeds of Happiness are all over the planet by now," Borella's Seeds of Happiness retail shop, launched 18 months ago, explains on its website.
"I am one of the very few people in the universe whose job not only brings me tremendous amounts of happiness and satisfaction, but my work literally allows me to bring happiness to others, throughout the world, on a daily basis. Watching the company grow from that initial batch of seeds, as well as seeing the impact we've been able to make in the lives of others, has been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined," Borella told HooplaHa.
"It's crazy and it's fun. It brings me to tears sometime," Borella told Kirkwood Patch. "It's very humbling too... These mean a lot to people."