We at the Disney Insider take great joy in curating fan stories. We love knowing how Disney has touched people’s lives over the years and what family memories are wrapped up with a little bit of magic. Recently, we learned of a story from a Disney fan who also happens to be a Disney Cast Member. It really tugged on our heartstrings and we decided it was too good not to share as this week’s fan story. It reminded us, among other things, that Cast Members are fans too:
When I was a kid, my mother found joy in the smallest things. She would light up like a lantern in a darkened room and let out the cutest giggle, showing me a little treasure she found on the sidewalk. “I found a penny!” she’d say, practically hugging the coin. By the time I had an allowance, I grew fond of throwing pennies out in public places without her knowledge – call it an investment in her smile. I felt compelled to give back some of the happiness that my mom had freely given to me and others. The thought of secretly being charitable gives me the same euphoria that my mother found in a scuffed penny.
Over the years, my children and I have been fortunate enough to experience the magic, wonder and laughter that only Disney Parks can offer. My kids embraced the idea of anony-mouse-ly giving when they saw the joy that it sparked in others. The first time my 10-year-old son Jack gave something away, he was pretty nervous. We were getting off of a ride and saw a little girl crying with her mother by her side. Was she having a bad day? Had she fallen? Was she frightened? We didn’t know, but Jack wanted to help. He looked at me inquisitively, and I smiled back, reaching into my backpack. I handed him something that we’d bought in a shop on the way in. We had talked about “gifting” one person during our visit, and Jack had found her.
“Go on, I’ll be here, Jackie,” I reassured him as he cautiously walked to the girl. I heard him ask, “Are you okay? Do you like Toy Story?” The little girl nodded. Jack gave our purchase — a Little Green Man 3D Vinylmation pin — to the girl’s mother. As we walked away, I playfully pushed Jack and grinned as he turned around and told the happily stunned mother, “Hope she likes it! Bye!”
This was the start of our family’s quest to share our smiles with other park guests through what we playfully call Random Acts of Disney. A “Random Act” doesn’t have to cost money; it just needs to be kind. A smile, holding the door, a friendly and sincere compliment. Things that we would do each other are now things we do for complete strangers.
Kindness is not something that needs to have a value attached to it. Kindness is something that adds value to someone else’s life. I look forward to the joy that future Random Acts will bring to my children and those they share this with along the way. We have a goal to be that little sprinkle of pixie dust that turns someone’s gloomy time around with a pair of FastPasses for a popular ride. Or a pin we bought at in a Disneyland shop. Or even a simple penny accidentally left on a bench.
We hope you enjoyed that special edition Fan Story as much as we did. If you’ve ever committed or witnessed a random act of Disney, be sure to Submit a Story.