If you grew up in the 90's and went to Wal-Mart you might recall the little yellow smiley face stickers the people greeter would hand out to kids. Most of us this made the trip to the store fun and not getting a sticker was some of the worst times for many of us children. The yellow smiley face would bounce around in the television adds, and was printed on the floors—it was everywhere. Then as if over night, the face went away. Not many people knew why that had happened and it is still hard to find out why. But if your lucky you can hunt down the true story of the events leading to the recall of the yellow smiley face.
Around 1997 at the Bloomington Illinois Wal-Mart, they let go a door greeter who had been with Wal-Mart for over 10 years. The man was unusually young when they chose him for the part, but people loved him and his way of greeting. He would sing and dance and welcome people with a big smile on his face and some even say that that is where they got the idea for Smiley. That part is very much untrue, but he took to being called Smiley and even changed his legal name to it in 1995. That following year he started painting his face yellow to show up for work and people enjoyed that as well. It wasn't until April of 1997 that Smiley crafted a large foam ball and painted the smiley face on it, that people decided they couldn't handle the young man anymore.
Children stopped laughing at the weird man with the yellow face and then started crying. Smiley did all he could to try to make the kids smile, but every single one of them would just react the same way—fear. Putting so much time and work into making the head, he would be damned if he didn't make it work some way. So he started asking parents if their kids told him what scared them the most, and most people came back saying that their children didn't like how big the head was. So breaking down, he made the head smaller. Kids loved it and smiley loved it too that the children he so adored once again adored him.
May came and so did the heat and it made wearing the head a pain for Smiley. He just wasn't going to give it up, many days he found himself ready to pass out and needing to rush to his car to sit and let the AC cool him down. Not wanting the kids to see him without the head on. One day when he needed to run to his car he was having a hard time seeing due to the sweat running in his eyes. He bumped into something and then heard a loud thud sound. Not sure what happened he yanked the head off. There was a red sports car parked in front of him. The driver was getting out and running around to a small group of people just 10 feet in front of the car. Smiley walked over and forced his way through the people to see a young girl lied out on the pavement. Blood gushing from the fresh wound on her face. She had to have been dead. It wasn't just a little wound, no, the top part of her head was turn back, separating her lower jaw from the rest of her head. She looked as if she had some sort of crude smile on her face, stretching from ear to ear. Then something happened, the little girl's eyes snapped to meet Smiley's. Blood gurgled out of her mouth, sounding like a cat painful meow being filled with water. She did this three long time, and then a single tear dropped from her eye and she died. The father and mother both howled out in pain from the loss. The driver of the red sports car tackled Smiley and began beating him. Smiley was beaten so bad he was sent to the hospital unconscious.
For a week he stayed in his little hospital room. Finding out the parents didn't want to press charges because their little girl had loved Smiley from the time she was little. Often drawing picture of her and him dancing and playing. It just didn't seem right to punish a man who had brought so much joy to their little 8 year old's life—even if he was the cause of her death. Despite that the manager saw fit to let Smiley go. Children had been coming in after that day wanting to make sure they would never see him again and they after 5 days of the and over 40 children asking the manager didn't see anything else that could be done. Yet none of this bothered Smiley, he just kept thinking back to how the little girl looked like she was smiling the biggest smile of her life and even the sounds of her last breaths sounded like laughter. All of it burned into his mind.
After leaving the hospital and going home Smiley started trying to draw the little girl in her last moments. He had began to fear that one day he might forget how happy she looked. No matter what he just couldn’t capture that feeling of looking her in the eyes—watching her “laugh”. So after a few months of trying and keeping himself locked away, he thought that maybe he should get out in the world. Seeing other happy children might help him recapture that feeling from May. So out of impulse he grabbed his smiley head on his way out the door. It was December now and Smiley went to the only place he ever loved—Wal-mart. Inside the kids ran all about the store, getting ready for Christmas. Smiley had been waiting for Christmas sense he made the head, he was going to ware a Santa suit with the bright yellow ball on and sing for his children, but no now. No, that was taken away from him. As he walked the store, people stared at him. Some even running away. When the manger of the store found Smiley he was standing looking at sledgehammers in the tools.
“You can't have that on in here anymore Smiley you ruined it.”
Smiley just looked at the man unsure of what he was talking about and silently turned back to the sledgehammers. When the manager then tried to pull at Smiley's head, that when he realized he had walked into the store with the yellow thing on. It was already to late though, something snapped and Smiley grabbed one of the sledges and began bashing in the managers face. Looking down the managers eyes meet his, the “joy” was there that the little girl had had. Finishing off the manger he raced to the toys. There he stood at the end of the Barbie aisle, blood dripping from the hammer and specks of it on his yellow head. The first little girl to see him screamed as he silently ran up to her and smashed the top of her head in with the hammer. Brain matter, blood and skull fragments raining down on the plastic covers of the Barbie boxes. More children screamed parents screaming and running. A man charged him, quickly falling to the ground with the top of his head missing, brain spilling out on the floor. One by one, he smashed the in the heads of the children and their parents.
When the cops got there he was done killing and was now painting with their blood and bits. He was trying to recreate the little girl who he had first gotten killed, but it wasn't working. He paced back and forth even as the cops threatened him. With each pace he screamed—
“It's not right, the eyes are not right, the smiled is not right, nothing is right.”
By the time the cops got him into the car he was just sobbing repeating it all over and over. They counted the bodies and found that he had killed at least 30 people that day—but the mess was so bad it was really hard to tell. Some where along the way the cop car driving Smiley crashed and when they found it Smiley was no where to be seen and the driving officers' head was smashed in. When word of this got to the head people at Wal-Mart, they quickly pulled all ads with the smiley face and recalled all the stickers. Smiley is still on the most wanted list, but it's a separate list for people whose legal names are so obscure, most people think it's a joke. If you ever see the list his name Smiley is there with a yellow Wal-Mart Smiley sticker on the face of a random man.