Ty, the Rambling Artist
The art of making drawing smiles and making connections, anywhere in the world.
There are probably a few of you out there that are getting a little tired of me going on about the power of a good smile shared with strangers. I suspect there a plenty of you that think my “Saving the World One Smile at a Time” is a trite marketing ploy. Perhaps there are even those of you who think I’m a foolish man for dropping out of Corporate America to pursue such a senseless endeavor of drawing smiles and creating crowds of smiles and sharing simple old fashion laughter among strangers from foreign lands. With all things being considered, I’ll have to weigh the balances of reality and the common core of truth and say that perhaps in one perspective, those whom cast shadows of doubt and disbelief may have a point. Of course, I personally wouldn’t stand on a single inch of such opinions. To each their own, I suppose. It’s a free country…. for now.
If you happen to be one of those negative thinking types I suggest you move on if you are not open to new ideas. However, if you are open to new ideas and you have a glimmer of hope in your heart, then please enjoy this little tidbit I’m about to share with you.
I've mentioned this before, but there is truly something magical that happens within the borders of Walt Disney World. I’ll admit as much as I wanted to believe when I first joined this circus that I honestly thought it was a bunch of big corporation marketing manipulation of heartstrings dangling from humanity. As most of you know, I’ve morphed into not only a believer of this magical entity here at WDW, but I’ve learned to generate and create such magical moments here in the most magical place on earth. (Now that’s Giant Corporate manipulation of humanities heartstrings).
Enough of theoretical explanations. Here’s a true moment that I was very pleased to be a part of for an older couple from Michigan. They were Disney Vacation Club members. (A wonderful program as far as time shares go…) They were a sweet and humble pair who simply love Disney for what it really is - an escape. A place as Walt said, where “dreams do come true”. Walt was right. Dreams do come true here. The trick is that you have to be open to that fantastic stretch of reality to make such magic happen. This older couple from Michigan (60-somethings) were so capable of believing in such magic that they become DVC members years ago. If you are curious about a DVC (Disney Vacation Club) membership, I encourage you to visit with a DVC member, not a sales person, but an actual member of the program.
This couple from Michigan approached me at one of the many resort caricature stands on a pretty slow night and engaged me in a dialogue. “Excuse me" She said, “May I ask you a question?” "Of course" I said “and you just did.”
“No I mean .. funny, but can you draw someone from a photo?” "Of course" I said, "but I would have to see the photo just to make sure”. She then pulled her phone out and scrolled to a photo of a young man (18-19yrs old) and the young man was leaning his head sideways onto the shoulder of a very old man with one eye. I thought I was going to have to draw the old guy with one eye and not make him look like Popeye. He did look like Popeye.
She asked if I could draw her and her husband and the young man in the photo leaning his head on her shoulder. I said of course. The the magic started to develop in the room. She and her husband both looked at each other and got a little wet eyed, if you know what I mean. So much so that I asked “Why? Whats up?”
She then proceeded to tell me that in the last two weeks they’ve been here at Disney World that they have asked artist after artist in the parks and various resorts of the could do this drawing and they were turned down. They were given various reasons, the most common was that the young man's head was turned at an odd angle and they couldn’t draw him unless his head was upright. I seriously thought this to be a bogus response, but whatever. I agreed and asked her to sit down first, then I’d draw the young man on her shoulder and then the husband behind them. She was trying so hard to hold back tears I had to ask again “Whats the story here?”
Then they told me. They shared with me why this was such an important drawing for them, even if it was a silly caricature. Turns out that the young man was their son. He was a victim of a tragic accident and passed away earlier last year. He was suppose to be with them on this winter trip to Walt Disney World. They obviously were still grieving over his sudden departure from their lives. Now once I heard the story, I started to get weepy eyed. We continued our conversation while I worked on the drawing. I was told many stories of what a wonderful young man their son was. He attended an honors high School. He was very active in the student body. It appeared everyone there loved him. They created a scholarship for seniors at his former school in his name with a non profit organization that they formed after his death. He was a handsome young man with a huge heart and a brilliant mind. He liked everyone he met. He was a shining light for everyone at his school. I could go on, but I’m betting that you get the picture. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
I finished the caricature and upon revealing it to them, were were more tears and a few very strong hugs. Those are the best tip ever by the way, just saying.
So, there you go, another very simple moment of saving the world one smile at a time. Simply by being open to assist. Simply by being willing to accept a challenge from a couple of strangers. Simply by being willing to serve what little talent and skills I have to please a couple on vacation, attempting to escape their troubled world, I was able to make their world a better place. For this couple, a very sweet and humble hearted couple from a rural area of Michigan, I created a little Disney magical moment. Not to mention the onlookers whom were intuitive enough to catch on that something very special was happening right in front of them. They caught some of that magic as well. Hopefully, they’ll have a chance to pass the magic along to someone else. All it takes is creating a little smile with a couple of strangers. Hopefully, now that I’ve shared this story with you, you’ll have the confidence and the open heart to do the same. I dare all of you to share a smile with a stranger in the most simplest of interactions. Regardless of the situation, I’m sure if you get the chance, you’ll change the world for others too.
Please and thank you, have a great day.
From Ty Walls:
After four decades drawing smiles I often encounter remarkable people. I've learned to create little special moments for people from all around the world with my simple smile-drawing skills. But sometimes, life creates little magical moments for me. This blog is my attempt to share them with you.