A bright yellow sign may be part of your commute if you drive on East Brighton Avenue in Syracuse.
Behind the cheerful greeting is 62-year-old Matt Francis, better known as the “smiley face guy.”
The Oswego County native lives down the road in Brighton Towers. He started sitting outside of the Sunoco gas station in the spring, hoping to spread as many smiles as he could.
“The whole thing is, we’re in a dark time,” said Francis. “Why not go out and wave, and greet a neighbor and wish them a nice day.”
He tries to catch people as they go to work, and travel home.
“I’ve had so many thank you’s,” said Francis. “I shared so many tears with people going through horrible times.”
Matt says this has become his full-time job, ending each day with a pocket full of gratitude. He only asks that others pass on the kindness.
“See what you can do to put a smile on somebody’s face,” said Francis. “At times, I’m not always smiling, but it don’t take long when I come out.”
It’s a universal language that illuminates everyone’s day. Even with winter coming -- rain or shine, hot or cold, Francis will be there.
“If I can get one smile, it’s a success,” said Francis. “But the thing is, I get blessed with many, many honks and a horn. Many waves, more waves than the ocean.”