Behind the Smiles


Doesn’t the word just bring a smile to your face?

In 2009, founder Sundi Jo Graham, met a man named Jack in the Springfield, MO airport. They were headed on a mission trip to Moldova for 9 days.

SJ and Jack

Jack was 83 years young and full of life. He had more energy than 29 year-old Sundi Jo and frankly, “his energy got on her nerves.” He smiled at everyone, talked loud, and chewed with his mouth open. This was only in the first five minutes of meeting.

When Jack got excited, he would shout out, “Happylujah!” It caught people’s attention. Sundi Jo soon noticed it made people smile. It wasn’t long before Jack’s personality made Sundi Jo smile as well.

Being in a foreign country where most spoke in Russian, Jack frequently shouted the phrase to everyone he met. Both adults and kids were quickly shouting it, too.

Then the light bulb came on for Sundi Jo.

“These should be on a t-shirt Jack,” Sundi Jo said.

“You should do that,” he enthusiastically replied.

Fast forward to 2014. The first t-shirt came off the press exactly one year from the day Sundi Jo’s plane landed back in Missouri. A coincidence? We think not. It’s a God thing.

“Happylujah isn’t just a t-shirt,” said Sundi Jo. “It’s a movement to bring smiles to faces. To show people joy is still possible. We take life way too seriously and Jack is a good reminder of why we shouldn’t. at 84 years old he still has more energy than me. We all need his enthusiasm.