Bonnie has dedicated her life to helping others fight against the tragic realities of living hungry. She is a loving, selfless, giving woman who has put action to her words. However, Bonnie was living with a painful secret that many people suffer from all around the world. This secret caused her daily depression and embarrassment, and increasingly so throughout the years.
“It was probably about 15 years ago that I really started to notice a difference in my smile,” Bonnie told The Dr.’s when she appeared on their television show.
Bonnie had a secret that left her embarrassed and depressed.
Bonnie hid her secret well. All of the positive work that she was known for was more than enough for anyone to overlook any single “negative” thing about her. As a part of her work to help the hungry, she would regularly attend charity events to raise money for her cause.
Photo opportunities were uncomfortable.
Photo taking at these events were a regular thing for Bonnie. She was good at what she did and was celebrated often for ensuring that more than 80,000 hungry people each month didn’t go without food. Consequently, that public exposure was a normal part of her mission.
Every photo taken was an opportunity to help more people, so she ignored her own discomfort and despondency for the benefit of the greater good. But Bonnie’s said in regard to the heavy burden she was caring, “It was all that I could think about.”
What was this secret?
What could possibly cause someone who was doing so much good for so many people such anguish? The reason Bonnie would not smile was because of her smile: her teeth, to be specific.
“I won’t smile in a picture,” Bonnie said as recently as one year ago. “I’ve learned to talk with my mouth closed. I cover my mouth.”
It eroded her self-confidence.
“It affects my self-confidence much more than I would like to give it credit for,” Bonnie explained.
Bonnie is no different in this way than many, many people and it affected both her personal and work life. In a world that could use more smiles rather than less, Bonnie was unable to feel good enough about herself because of her teeth.
The hardest thing for her to do was smile.
What was “wrong” with her teeth?
“The teeth were spaced out, they were crooked on the bottom and on the top, they were yellow, the enamel had come, off,” Bonnie explained with exasperation. She said in the video provided by The Dr.’s at the time, “The hardest thing for me to do right now is to smile.”
Her work is her number one priority.
Bonnie, being the selfless giver she is, was most concerned that her smile would somehow impede her ability to continue to reach her maximum impact in helping the hungry as president and CEO of Foodshare, a Ventura, California county food bank that provides for people without food.
“I always wonder if my smile is a barrier to us being able to give people help,” Bonnie said. “I wish I could do more to help people, I really do.”
Doctors to the rescue!
The Dr.’s TV show has a reputation for making good things happen for good people, and sure enough, they weren’t about to let Bonnie’s efforts be overshadowed by insecurities about a very fixable problem, so fix it they did!
Enter Dr. Joe and Dr. John Willardson, two brothers who practice cosmetic dentistry.
It took two surgeries.
Bonnie required two surgeries to complete the job, and the results were striking.
Upon completion of the surgeries, Bonnie’s husband commented, “It makes me feel good just watching her feel good.”
The smile that was always on the inside was revealed.
We’re happy for Bonnie and celebrate her new smile, the one she always had but kept hidden. Not everyone gets the opportunity to appear on a national television show and have cosmetic surgery, however, so whoever you are and wherever you are, let’s all heed the advice offered in a quote by Paramahansa Yogananda:
“Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts.”