SmileStory℠ Created & Owned by Chris Bohinski.

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President Obama Smiles!

March 3, 2019

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T 🙏

August 16, 2018

For my college studies, I ultimately picked the school that “felt right” when visiting there with my mom & dad. Once I began, I realized how involved my campus was with service & mission work for others. I have always enjoyed helping others, but I never envisioned doing 1,000+ service hours during my undergraduate studies. In line with the Jesuit ideals, I quickly was taught that service to others also means putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes to be able to relate to such people on a more personal level. During my Junior year’s fall break, I willingly traveled to Washington, DC to live within the homeless community. Equipped with quite literally only the clothes on my back (and the beard I tried to grow), I slept on park benches, ate at soup kitchens, and even panhandled along the National Mall. One morning while aimlessly traversing our nation’s capital, I happened upon a free “Fall Garden Tours” weekend event that Michelle Obama was hosting which allowed you to enter The White House grounds & view her gardens. After exiting, I noticed a group of people standing near a locked gate. Upon further investigation, I noticed these people looked quite important with their finely-pressed clothes and hats. What I didn’t know at that moment in time though was that just a few hours later was the new Martin Luther King Memorial dedication. So being the curious guy I am, I walked over to this group of about 10 people standing on the sidewalk. And who did I see among them? Jesse Jackson, Reverend Al Sharpton, and Aretha Franklin! Now remember, I was dirty and smelly and wearing clothes with holes in them. I stood there admiring these legends that were standing in front of me and when Aretha Franklin made eye contact with me, she smiled. Of course I still needed to play the part of being “homeless” and upon Aretha giving me the up-down, the only thing that came to mind was to ask her for an autograph on the program I was just given at the garden tour. She immediately obliged and wished me luck on having a good rest of my day. I’ll cherish this moment forever because The Queen of Soul did not meet Chris Bohinski, she met homeless Chris Bohinski and was nothing but kind & sincere & gracious. 🙏 Remembering Aretha Franklin today, the day of her passing, is my #SmileStory! And let's not forget about how later that same day I was questioned by the police after unknowingly "crashing" a Stevie Wonder & Sheryl Crow jam session. This homeless immersion trip was quite possibly the craziest experience of my life! 🎙