Vietnam Veteran with No Teeth Gets $60,000 Smile for Free


When we think of people being good Samaritans and doing nice things for other people in need, we might think of someone rescuing a person from a car fire, or handing a homeless guy on the corner a $20 bill.

These much-needed shows of humanity are usually spur-of-the-moment and highlight a person’s true character.

But this story is a little different, because it involves some planning, some thought, some awesome people, and a gift more expensive than most of us have ever received. It all started with a man name Larry.

Larry Kleiman’s nickname was fitting. He was called “Smiley,” and the man had no teeth in his head.

Kleiman had completed two tours of duty in Vietnam, training dogs. He also worked as a fireman when he got home.

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When Michael Tischler heard Kleinman’s story, he thought he could help him. Dr. Kleinman founded Teeth Tomorrow, which gives people new smiles through dental implants.

“He smiled, he had no teeth. His name was Smiley, he was a fireman,” Tischler told Inside Edition.

“He worked with dogs in Vietnam. And everything about him was just the kind of person that you wanna help,” Tischler added.

Kleiman –now retired — works with a local K-9 unit and volunteers with firefighters, but that doesn’t make him very much money. The dental surgery would cost $60,000, which was far more than he could afford on his own.

“I wasn’t really going to do it because it was a lot of money and on a fixed income, a retirement, there was no way feasible of me doing it,” Kleiman said. “Until Dr. Tischler came back two days later and said come on in.

“He told me what we’re going to do is pay back. You did your time in the service, we’re going to pay you back,” he recalled.

“They’re giving up their lives for our freedom,” Tischler said. “And to have a gentleman like this that had two tours in Vietnam, which was a horrible war… We felt good helping him. And today feels really good.”

Now, “Smiley” has a smile to fit his name. Thanks to Dr. Tischler’s kindness and cutting-edge technology, Kleiman was able to gain some confidence and comfort from his new teeth.

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“Nobody’s ever done that for me,” Kleiman reflected. He’s spent his whole life helping others and finally got to accept a gift from someone else.

“I’m a firefighter, I was an EMT’er… I still fight fires. And I help people,” he said. Now, Kleiman’s can brighten other peoples’ days with his $60,000 smile.

It’s a small token of appreciation for someone who has helped in priceless ways, but it’s just what this man needed to improve his quality of life and give him some of his confidence back.

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