The Origins of “I Want You to Be Happy” Day: Mark Your Calendars

One of the original members of the Winter Garden senior writing group I facilitate was Harriet Grimes. Harriet had written a column for the small local paper for many, many years before her retirement. She surprised us all during one meeting declaring that on the upcoming March 3rd date, we should be celebrating “I Want You to be Happy” Day. She explained to us that she had initiated the day in 1990 because of an incident that had happened with her grandchild.

March 3rd

According to an article written in The Journal Times by Jeff Wilford in August of 2000, Harriet sent in a request to Chase’s Calendar of Events to declare March 3rd each year as “I Want You to be Happy” Day.

The article explains how it all started: “It started with her grandson, Jason, then 4. He fell out of a tree and broke his arm on March 3, 1990. Grimes took him to the hospital. As they left the hospital, a nurse gave Jason a brightly colored sticker for being brave.

Back at home, Jason’s 5-week-old brother, Justin, started to cry. Jason went over to him, gave him the sticker and kissed him.

“That just went all over me, because he was just a little 4-year-old thinking about someone else,” Grimes says. “I just felt like that unselfish, expecting nothing in return act of love by a little 4-year-old, the world would be a better place if the adults learned from the little ones before the little ones learned from the adults.”

Grimes describes the holiday as a day to show love, care and concern for other people, even if things aren’t so hot for you.”

The Ink and Quill Writing Group had ever since made sure to acknowledge and celebrate this special day. The point of this day is to bring joy to someone, especially if that someone is in distress or hurting. This year our group is writing poems about the day. Here is my special poem that I have dedicated to Harriet.

I Want You to be Happy Day March 3rd                                        

By Marie Staight

Dedicated To Harriet Grimes


It’s such a sweet thing to say,

On ‘I Want You To Be Happy Day.’

There is so many a way

To celebrate and make others gay.


A kindness given to others,

For sisters, brothers, fathers, and mothers,

Don’t forget friends and strangers, too

Paying forward a thing or two.


Buy a stranger lunch,

Or perhaps flowers in a bunch

For someone you love

Or think the world of.


Leave a sticky note

With a happy quote

Tell a joke for a laugh

For others to smile on your behalf.


Brighten someone’s life

Relieving them their strife

By greeting them with a snazzy,

“I want you to be happy!”


So mark your calendars and put on your thinking caps! What are you going to do on March third to brighten someone’s day and make them happy?

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