Smiley Faces Found in Unlikely Places

"Spontaneous Smileys" are things that just happen to look like they're grinning.
"Spontaneous Smileys" are things that just happen to look like they're grinning.

In her work running a day care, Ruth Kaiser is surrounded by smiling faces - and not just on the children.

She calls them "Spontaneous Smileys" - things that just happen to look like they're grinning.

"They're just everywhere," she said.

She began photographing them a couple of years ago and her collection grows almost daily.

Spontaneous Smiley's Website
Operation Smile

She is never without her camera because a smiley can turn up in the most unlikely of places.

Two bolts and a crack in a wooden beam, looked at just the right way, become another Spontaneous Smiley.

In Ruth's happy world, her shoes smile back and even a trash can returns a grin.

So in February she launched a websitewhere anyone can contribute their smiling discoveries.

She's using the smiles to raise money for a group that repairs facial deformities in children.Her works are on sale in small gallery. And in a recent ad American Expresshas discovered smiley's.

"You stumble on one, and then you have a moment of 'aha,'" Kaiser said.

But Ruth does have one frustration. For years she's looked at the Golden Gate Bridge and seen a big grin there but never been able to find the eyes. So maybe we can put a smile on her face with this: two "CBS eyes" over the bridge.

  • John Blackstone
    John Blackstone

    From his base in San Francisco, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone covers breaking stories throughout the West. That often means he is on the scene of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and rumbling volcanoes. He also reports on the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and on social and economic trends that frequently begin in the West.