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6-Year-Old Boy Keeps Smiling Even After Tragedy

Despite devastating losses, 6-year-old Jaden Hayes wants to make people smile.

Two years ago, the Georgia first-grader lost his father; two weeks ago, his mother passed away unexpectedly in her sleep.

While those tragic events would get anybody down, Jaden is taking another approach—he wants to cheer up those around him.

"After attending a funeral and a viewing, and seeing all these grownups walking around and nobody was smiling, he just got tired of people with sad, frowny faces," Barbara DiCola, his mother's sister, told Today. "He really wanted to make people smile, and so [he] asked me how we could make people do that."

First, DiCola told him to smile back, but she also warned him that the approach doesn't always work on everyone.

"So he says, 'Well, what if you give them a toy?'" she recalled to the site.

The two then hit the streets of Savannah, Ga., all in an effort to make people smile. And Jaden's cousin Tasha Compton documented his efforts, dubbed "The Smile Experiment," on Instagram.

Jaden approached about 275 people on his two outings with his aunt and cousin, according to Today. From the Instagram posts, most people seemed game, with some even offering hugs.

DiCola told Today that while two people declined the offer of a toy and a smile, many people were "moved to tears."

"I don't know how his little brain is processing it, but I think this all is helping in his healing process," DiCola said, admitting that Jaden's positive attitude has helped her, her mother and the rest of their grieving family.

"We are all amazed at the strength he has, and it filters through," DiCola told the site. "We all smile a lot more than we would be at this point. You can't help it. You see him smile, and you can't help it. You gotta smile."

Image via Instagram/mstashers

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